Monday, 28 April 2014

The Chiplitfest...

Or the Chipping Norton Literary Festival to be precise. Now in full swing, so it was over to the wonderful little theatre there (once a Salvation Army Citadel) on Saturday for a day listening to 'literary' figures being interviewed about their books.

First off, Alan Jonhson on his memoir of his childhood, "This Boy". A wonderful interview; which demonstrated to me what we lost when he didn't challenge Brown after Blair left office. His book has received rapturous reviews and he revealed that Blair had emailed him after reading it to say "brilliant; you missed your vocation". A back handed compliment if there ever was one. It gives an often harrowing account of his difficult childhood in Notting Hill, growing up looked after by his older (by 3 years) sister and oft ill mother, who died when she was 42 leaving Alan and Linda still kids.

Then, after slotting in a visit to my favourite charity shop - the Helen and Douglas Hospice - and buying an antique fountain pen, it was Jonathan Aitken talking about his biography of Margaret Thatcher. A contrast to the Johnson interview as you can imagine. However a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of Thatcher that was revealing, though I can't say it did much to add lustre to her divisive career as PM.

And the final leg was Kate Adie on her book about "Fighting on the Home Front", which details the contribution women made to the war effort between 1914-18. She told some great stories about unsung heroines and argued that without the contribution women made in this war we would not have won. This was the first war to be fought by the nation that involved attacks on the home front and civilian casualties.

And while I'm on the subject of Oxfordshire, a plug for an ACEVO members' meeting taking place at the Oxford Hub - lunch on Friday 23rd May. We will be hearing from Ben Rick, who has established the Social and Sustainable Capital fund to encourage social finance for third sector organisations, and from me! Booking information will follow shortly.

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