8 June 2018

At the summer Poetry Plus event, members of the Sherborne Literary Society were splendidly entertained by The New Hardy Players who performed readings and songs, accompanied by an accordionist, from the poems of Dorset’s most celebrated poet and author.


The group is well-known throughout the county, and beyond, for promoting Thomas Hardy’s works in an evocative and realistic way with great enthusiasm.   This year, being the 90th anniversary of Hardy’s death, they are in more demand than ever, staging several outdoor performances of ‘The Trumpet Major’ by way of commemoration.  


See their excellent website for more details by following the links:  

An evening with Victoria Glendinning

4 May 2018

The person who had the least distance to travel to our Words with Wine event on 4th May was our speaker, Victoria Glendinning, who came to tell us about her brand new book - The Butcher’s Daughter, as yet not available in bookshops (except of course Winstone’s, who have a plentiful supply of signed copies). As our President, Rachel Billington, reminded us in her introduction, Victoria has a long pedigree of writing a whole range of different books but many of them are biographical and all feature fascinating individuals as their main protagonist. This latest book, Victoria went on to explain in her talk, features one nun, Agnes Peppin, caught up in Henry VIII’s Reformation who was thus ignominiously, together with all her fellow residents, kicked out of Shaftesbury Abbey before it was destroyed. All  those who had dedicated their lives to their God by entering enclosed communities found themselves with nowhere to live, no funds and very often no family on whom to lean for help. Agnes was the disgraced daughter of the Bruton butcher who could not return to her old home for refuge and thus set up her new life with a friend in Sherborne.


Although The Butcher’s Daughter is a novel it follows real events and features real places and real historical people. Perhaps most relevant to the Sherborne audience is that it all takes place in and around Sherborne,  in North and West Dorset and South Somerset. 


As is usual at our Words with Wine events this was very well attended and everyone could enjoy  a fascinating insight into this new book over a glass of wine and canapés, as well as the opportunity to chat with the author and to acquire a copy before its due publication date. Indeed this was the first time Victoria Glendinning had actually seen the finished book in its splendid cover.

A riveting talk by Crispin Black

20 Feb 2018

At the Sherborne Literary Society ‘Words with Wine’ event on 20th February over 60 members and non-members were treated to a riveting talk by Lt-Col Crispin Black MBE, author of 7-7 The London Bombs – What Went Wrong?, The Falklands Intercept, The Paris Trap and (forthcoming) The Venice Archive. Using no notes, Crispin spoke feelingly about his experiences in the Falklands War of 1981 when he escaped serious injury in the bombing of the Sir Galahad, while others around him were not so lucky. He subsequently pursued a career in intelligence, acting as a consultant to the Joint Intelligence Committee and Number Ten Downing Street, and a regular contributor to the BBC and national media. He was present in COBRA during the events of 9/11. Crispin devoted the final part of his eloquent talk to the creation of the leading character in his current spy/detective thriller, Daniel Jacot, and about the need to introduce the right amount of personal experience and first-hand geographical knowledge, interwoven with a realistic psychology of romantic attraction and contemporary attitudes. There was a flurry of questions, after which he signed copies of The Paris Trap. This was a fascinating evening enabling all those present to enter the mind of the author and enhance their own creative processes as they did so.


The title of our latest Words With Wine evening on 23 May was ‘Who Reads My Stuff?’ This was a disarming headline for a lively and absorbing talk by Dr Neil Faulkner FSA, the Editor of Military Monthly and author of a dozen books including Lawrence of Arabia’s War and A People’s History of the Russian Revolution. As he showed slides of his research into T E Lawrence, even some who may have thought they knew it all were challenged to revise some of their cherished beliefs. The last part of his talk was a gentle but firmly stated exposition of Marxist theory, firstly as illustrated by the life and influence of Trotsky, and then as applicable to the malaise of the modern Western world. There was some keen questioning, directed particularly at the latter part of the talk, to which Dr Faulkner provided courteous and authoritative answers, before signing copies of his books. Altogether an intriguing evening for the 45 members and guests present.


As a departure from the Society’s own presentation of an evening of poetry, on 9th June over 40 members enjoyed readings from the county’s renowned dialect poet, William Barnes.   Led by their Chairman, Brian Caddy, who presented a well-researched biography of the poet he, and seven members of the William Barnes Society from Dorchester, gave a spirited performance with their dialect soon captivating the audience.   The atmospheric finale was on a musical note, as an accordionist accompanied the best known of Barnes’ poems, ‘Linden Lea,’ in which the audience were encouraged to participate vocally.   We extend our thanks to the William Barnes Society for a memorable evening.

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Sherborne Literary Society
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