Look Back in Anger’s Jimmy Porter was the sort of man who got out of bed the wrong side every morning, but especially on Sundays.
John Osborne’s introduction to the mid-1950s theatre world of Angry Young Men and Kitchen Sinks, opens with disaffected Jimmy reading a Sunday newspaper while his wife Alison eyes a pile of ironing, and their friend Cliff lounges – glancing through another newspaper:
JIMMY: Why do I do this every Sunday? Even the book reviews seem to be the same as last week’s. Different books – same reviews. Have you finished that one yet?
CLIFF: Not yet.
JIMMY: I’ve just read three whole columns on the English novel. Half of it’s in French. Do the Sunday papers make you feel ignorant?
CLIFF: Not ‘arf.
That was then. This is now: never mind Sunday morning blues or feeling 1950s ignorant, let’s get some entertaining debate and fun ideas out of the newspapers on the morning of Sunday, September 29 with Marlborough LitFest’s What the Papers Say 10.30am in the Town Hall.
In its tenth year, this event is a first for Marlborough LitFest. It will be an informal way of taking sidelong – and entertaining – views at the ever-changing news agendas. Be there in good time as the LitFest Café (French word – sorry Jimmy!) will be open for coffee and refreshments.
The session will be chaired by journalist and linguist Rosie Goldsmith – she’ll be the lady in red. After 20 years making programmes for the BBC, she keeps astonishingly busy. She created and runs the European Literature Network, is an independent journalist and edits the magazine The Riveter – so called after her nickname ‘Rosie the riveter’. And with her husband, she runs an agency supporting all manner of cultural organisations.
Her aim, she told marlborough.news, is for this session to be full of riveting debate based on stories in that Sunday’s newspapers – from broadsheets to red tops. She sees herself as the session’s ‘circus mistress’ – guiding and controlling her morning panel: “I want the session to be fun, fast, furious and fabulous – really it’s just going to be great fun.”
Leading off the session will be panellist Chris Riddell – political cartoonist and author of children’s books. Rosie wants Riddell to ‘kick start’ the session and will insist he explains how he came to draw his cartoon in that morning’s Observer: “You can’t stop Chris drawing”.
The audience will be able to watch on a screen as Chris Riddell draws his way into a new satirical take on the day’s news. Or perhaps he’ll take a pop at the other panel members:
- Stephen May, who hails from Yorkshire, is an author and a good friend of Marlborough LitFest. He has published five novels. The latest is We Don’t Die of Love – a witty mix of a marriage in crisis and local gangsters.
- Sarah Rose Troughton – HM Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire – the first woman to hold this post – a cousin of the HM The Queen and a keen amateur artist.
- Harry Forbes – newly graduated from Oxford and a Marlborough Town Councillor.
Rosie Goldsmith is pleased with plans for the session: “We have a fantastic spread of generations – and two women and three men.” She wants the hour long session to be “…structured but at the same time freewheeling – opinionated and fun. We’ll be taking the morning’s news section by section – from national via international to local – and from news to gossip.”
She is an experienced chair of literary discussions and interviews. She is passionate about international literature and her European Literature Network aims to introduce more UK readers to foreign writers. We are, she says, “…a country which reads so little in translation”.
The Riveter is a free magazine devoted to European literature, aiming to make international writing popular and accessible, to encourage book buying, and to celebrate excellent translation and all forms of fine literature.
Rosie Goldsmith, who now lives in Potterne, launched The Riveter in 2017. With a wide range of publishers, authors, translators, critics and academics involved in its content, it has achieved great acclaim with its special issues on Polish, Russian, Norwegian and Baltic literature in English.
Each issue is funded by grants raised mainly from organisations in the countries whose literature is being profiled. The next issue (due in November) is a German themed one – marking the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Will, marlborough.news asked rather quietly, this What the Papers Say be all about Brexit: “It will”, she replied firmly, “be much more than Brexit. It’ll be Brexit and beyond.”
Marlborough LitFest What the Papers Say starts at 10.30 in the Town Hall on Sunday, 29 September. Tickets are £5.
Former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell has a busy Sunday: at 12 noon he will be back in the Town Hall talking about his latest book The Cloud Horse Chronicles: Guardians of Magic - which is published on September 19. Tickets £5 – suitable for 7-and-overs.
Tickets can be bought: Online – www.marlboroughlitfest.org (no booking fee, postage £1.75 if needed). Telephone: 0333 666 3366 Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm (through TicketSource £1.75 booking fee – plus postage if needed). In person: at The White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough, Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm, Sun 11am-4pm (cash/cheque only).