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The Alliance of Literary Societies - celebrating 40+ years


April, 2014

15 March - 8 June: John Clare
and The Shepherd's Calendar. At Northampton Museum, Guildhall Road, Northampton.  Wonderful exhibition, including works by Peter Newcombe illustrating Clare's acclaimed collection of poems.

1 April: the Trollope Society are holding a seminar on The Last Chronicle of Barset, in London.  For detail, contact martin.chown@cantab.net.

2 April: The Epsom & Ewell Literary Society is holding an illustrated lecture at the Epsom Playhouse, from 7.30 pm to about 9.30 pm. Ian Thompson on Bletchley Park - The Code Breakers.  He is a guide at Bletchley, home of the WW2 code breakers.  For more detail visit www.bletchleypark.org.uk and www.epsomlit.org.uk.

4 April: The Chichester Literary Society is holding a talk on 'Conversations from the Green Room', by Al Senter.  Details at www.chichesterliterarysociety.co.uk.

10 April: The Poet in the City Chaucer event: featuring Lavinia Greenlaw and Patience Agbabi at Southwark Cathedral.  Detail at www.poetinthecity.co.uk.

12 - 13 April: The George Borrow Society: Conference to be held at the Bull Hotel, Westgate, Peterborough. For more information contact annrostron@btinternet.com.

12 - 27 April:  The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Bookshop in Lichfield, Staffs are running trails and competitions for young visitors from 10.30am to 4.30pm.  Standard entry free of charge.

13 April: The Galloway Raiders, Crockett and the Kirk on the Hill, at 2.30 pm at Castle Douglas Parish Church Hall.  Free event and all welcome.  More detail at www.gallowayraiders.co.uk.

14 April: The Poet in the City P G Wodehouse event.  Poetry and Songs, at Kings Place, London.  Detail at www.poetinthecity.co.uk.

15 April: the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Bookshop in Lichfield, Staffs, are holding art workshops from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at a charge of £10 for the workshop including materials.

16 April: The Galloway Raiders are organising a walk, picnic and reading in Bennan Woods.  Meet at Laurieston Memorial at 11am.  Bring your own food and wear appropriate clothing.  At 6.30pm there will the launch of The Galloway Collection at Wigtown County Building.

17 April: The Galloway Raiders are meeting at Threave Estate at noon for a walk, picnic and reading.  Bring your own food.  At 6.30pm there will be Bringing Crockett Home at Castle Douglas Town Hall.

18 April: The Galloway Raiders are meeting at Clatteringshaws at noon for a walk, picnic and reading.  Bring your own food.  More detail at www.gallowayraiders.co.uk.

23 April: The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Bookshop in Lichfield, Staffs are holding a late night opening from 4.30pm to 7.30pm with book giveaway, readings, book sale, activities for all ages, and the chance to meet inspiring local authors - all to celebrate World Book Night.

26 April: The Powys Society is holding a meeting at the Brandon House Hotel in Brandon, Norfolk, to discuss the Norfolk chapters of Powys's novel A Glastonbury Romance.  Free event and all welcome. Starts at 10.30am. 

27 April: The Trollope Society is holding a walk in the footsteps of Anthony Trollope, in London.  For more detail contact martin.chown@cantab.net.

May, 2014

10 May - 22 June: At Peterborough museum in Priestgate, Peterborough. An exhibition of John Clare archives: 'The John Clare Collection'.  Opening times Tuesday-Sundy 10 am - 5 pm.  Saturday 10 May: 10am - 4pm.

1 May: Talk at Northampton museum: Peter Newcombe about painting, and Jon-Paul Carr about the John Clare Collection.

2 May: The Chichester Literary Society is holding a talk 'A Cowardly Evening' (Noel Coward in words and song), by John Clegg.  For detail go to

7 May: The Epsom & Ewell Literary Society is holding an illustrated lecture at the Epsom Playhouse, from 7.30 pm to about 9.30 pm. This follows on from the AGM at 7.10 pm.  Monica Weller Ruth Ellis - Her Secret Double Life.  This is the story of the last woman to be hanged in Britain.  For more detail visit www.epsomlit.org.uk.

10 May: The Anthony Powell Society are meeting at The Audley in Mount Street, London from 12.30 hrs to 15.30 hrs for refreshments and good company.  Non-members are most welcome.  Booking not required.  Further details from secretary@anthonypowell.org.

10 May: All day reading of John Clare's poems in many places associated with Clare in Northampton:  All Saints Church, Museum, Guildhall, Library, and more, starting at All Saints Church at 10 am and ending at 3.30 pm.  Featuring Pennyless, the folk group.

10 May: A concert of Robert Louis Stevenson songs at Glasgow Cathedral starting at 2pm with a tour of cathedral and concert starting at 7pm (£8).  Held by the Robert Louis Stevenson club.  Contact patwatt@btinternet.com.  

17 May: The John Clare Society is holding a concert at St John's Church, Market Square, Peterborough. The Fairhaven Singers are one of East Anglia's foremost chamber choirs - from the sacred to the secular. This concert features an exciting new commissioned setting of Clare's poems. The world famous composer, writer and conductor, Somtow Sucharitkul is the composer, and it will be a wonderful evening of music related to those aspects of life which were so important to Clare. Visit the website for detail of how to book tickets.

17 May: Mini talks on the vignettes of Thomas Bewick at Commercial Union House, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle on Tyne, by the Bewick Society chairman Peter Quinn.  Admission free.  Time to be confirmed.  Contact weareexplore@gmail.com.

17 May: The Chichester Literary Society are holding a London literary walk.  Southwark with Charles Kay: In the Footsteps of Shakespeare and Dickens. Details at www.chichesterliterarysociety.co.uk.

18 May: At All Saints Church, Northampton, special evening service focussing on John Clare.  Premiere by the All Saints Choir of the winning choral composition of one of Clare's selected poems.

20 May: At Northampton Library, evening talk by Alan Moore on John Clare.

26 May: A Poet  in the City event.  Seamus Heaney tribute, hosted by Bernard O'Donoghue at Kings Place, London.  For detail visit www.poetinthecity.co.uk.

29 May: At the David Jones Centre, Aberystwyth University, at 2pm, the annual conference, Y Drwm, National Library of Wales, entitled Wales, Modernism and Women's Writing.  Cost £15/£8 (students).  Details from Luke Thurston at lut@aber.ac.uk or DavidJonesCentre@aber.ac.uk.

31 May - 1 June:  The ALS
AGM weekend in Canterbury with the Christopher Marlowe Society.  Watch this space for more detail.

30 - 31 May: John Clare in Space: Poetry, Nature and Contemporary Culture at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.  Visit www.english-languages.brookes.ac.uk/conferences/2014/John-Clare.

30 May: A Poet in the City event.  Viking sagas, featuring leading Icelandic poet Gerdur Kristny, at the British Museum.  For detail visit www.poetinthecity.co.uk.

June 2014

20 - 22 June: Stoke on Trent Literary Festival.  Full details at www.stokeliteraryfestival.org.

24 June - 5 July: (except Sundays). The National Theatre Wales will stage a site specific production in field and nearby forest at Great  Llancayo Upper Wood near Usk, as part of the World War I commemorations.  Mametz will give audiences a glimpse of life and death at the Battle of Mametz Wood.  Among the soldiers who took part in the Battle were Robert Graves, David Jones, Siegfried Sassoon and Llewelyn Wyn Griffith. Tickets £20/£15 from the Box Office www.wmc.org.uk.

6 June: The Chichester Literary Society is holding a special ticketed event to commemorate WWI.  'Behind the Lines' takes place at St George's Church, Cleveland Road, Chichester, at 7pm for 7.30pm.  Gabriel Woolf and Linda Hart are the speakers and they will read from the works of soldier poets including Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas and Ivor Gurney.  Tickets cost £10 - tel 01243 537646 or visit www.chichesterliterarysociety.co.uk.

7 June: The 11th annual Arnold Bennett conference, Death, Fire, Life: AB's Short Stories, from 9.30 am to 5.30pm at North Staffs Conference Centre in Hartshill, near Stoke on Trent.  Details on their website - www.arnoldbennettsociety.org.uk.

11 June: The Trollope Society is holding a seminar on Trollope, in York.  For detail contact peter.lee@york.ac.uk.

21 to 23 June: The Traherne Association
is holding the Annual Traherne Festival, based at Credenhill Church in Herefordshire where Traherne was Rector in the mid 1600s.  Deatails are on the website at www.traherneassociation.org.

26 to 30 June: The Beatrix Potter Society
International Study Conference in Birnam, Perthshire, Beatrix Potter in Scotland (to be followed by a 5 day holiday tour in the Lake District).  Some events open to non-members.  More details soon on www.beatrixpottersociety.org.uk

July 2013

6 July: the Trollope Society is holding a walk in the footsteps of Anthony Trollope, in London.  Contact martin.chown@cantab.net for detail.

11 - 13 July: John Clare Festival
, at Helpston, near Peterborough.  Visit johnclaresociety.blogspot.co.uk for detail.

26 July: Tale pieces study morning on the work of Thomas Bewick from 10 am to 1 pm.  At Northern Print, Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne. Admission charge.  Email enquiry@northernprint.org.uk.  


10 August: Thomas Bewick's
birthday celebrations at Cherryburn.  From 1pm to 4pm.  Light afternoon conversation from 2pm to 3pm.  At Cherryburn, Station Road, Mickley Sq, near Stocksfield, Northumberland.  Admission charge. National Trust and Bewick Society members free.

29 - 31 August: Bronte Society conference, at the Scarman Conference Centre, Warwick University.  Visit their website for details.


3 September: The Chichester Literary Society event: Dickens' Portsmouth.  For detail visit www.chichesterliterarysociety.co.uk.

5 September: The Chichester Literary Society are holding a talk: The Life and Work of Max McDonald Gill, by Caroline Walker.  Detail at www.chichesterliterarysociety.co.uk.

5 - 7 September: Wadham College, Oxford, Poets of World War I Conference.

10 - 13 September: The David Jones Society
is running a conference, David Jones: Christian Modernist, in Oxford.  Organised by the Centre for Christianity and Culture, Regents Park College, Oxford, and the Modernism and Christianity Project, University of Bergen. Details at modernismchristianity.org/david-jones-conference.

11 September: The Bewick Society AGM, in the lecture theatre of the Literary and Philosophical Society, with a talk by local wood engraver Chris Daunt. At 6pm, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.  Free admission.  Contact bewick.society@newcastle.ac.uk.

11-13 September: A conference with the Ford Madox Ford SocietyCosmopolis, Ford Madox Ford and the Cultures of Paris - in Paris.  Visit their website for detail.

17 September: The Trollope Society is holding a seminar on Trollope in York.  For detail contact peter.lee@york.ac.uk.


3 October: The Chichester Literary Society talk: Peter Lovesey: What next? A short story laid bare. Detail at www.chichesterliterarysociety.co.uk.

5 or 12 October: The Trollope Society is holding a walk in the footsteps of Trollope, in London. For more detail, contact martin.chown@cantab.net.

11 October: A joint Bewick Society and Natural History Society of Northumbria lecture: Hidden Treasures: The Drawings of Thomas Bewick (by Keir Davidson), at 1pm in the Clore Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne.  Free admission.  Contact bewick.society@newcastle.ac.uk.

18 October: Thomas Bewick and His Apprentices, an exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Free admission.

25 October: The J B Priestley Society is sponsoring a one day conference on The Actual and the Real: Priestley, Documentary, Realism and Democracy 1930-1945 - in the Priestley Room of the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, from 10 am to 5 pm.  Tickets are £15 for Society members; and £22 for non-members.  Booking via k.e.smith436@btinternet.com.


20 November: The Trollope Society
is holding a seminar on Trollope in York.  For detail contact peter.lee@york.ac.uk.   

If you are a member society and have an event which you want us to enter onto this site, email Linda Curry with details.