Charleston Festival 2018: Full programme revealed

Highlights include:

Charleston’s heritage is one of artistic innovation and pioneering thinking, an ethos mirrored in this year’s Festival programme. Responding to the current social and political climate, it looks in particular at the achievements and legacies of remarkable women past and present.

In uncertain times there remains much to be celebrated, including 100 years since women first received the vote. Lyndall Gordon discusses her group biography Outsiders, which links five female novelists (Shelley, Brontë, Eliot, Schreiner and Woolf), while Jane Robinson and Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, mark #Vote100.

The paths of feminist writers old and new meet at this year’s Festival, which includes a personal tribute to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando from contemporary author Jeanette Winterson. Vita Sackville-West and Woolf’s decade-long love affair is explored by the former’s granddaughter, Juliet Nicolson, and actress Gemma Arterton who plays Vita in upcoming film Vita and Virginia. They are joined by the film’s director Chanya Button. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s The Famous Women Dinner Service is adapted by writer Ali Smith, who transforms it from decorative ceramics into a work of creative prose.

The centenary of the Representation of the People Act isn’t the only anniversary marked at Charleston Festival 2018, the work of Mary Shelley is also celebrated with biographer Fiona Sampson, cultural historian Christopher Frayling and chemist Kathryn Harkup, two hundred years after the publication of Frankenstein. In the 50th year of The Man Booker Prize the Festival hosts a special debate between three former judges, granting rare insight into the mechanics of judging the UK’s premier literary award.

Making sense of today’s world is also high on the agenda: authors Amanda Craig and Meg Wolitzer dissect current gender and power dynamics, and Misha Glenny and Luke Harding attempt to navigate the realms of corruption, nationalism-fuelled violence and fraud. Playwright Michael Frayn and political commentator John Crace discuss farce and political satire in a time when the relevance of each cannot be overstated, while themes of inequality and prejudice are tackled by Kamila Shamsie, author of Homefire, and Neel Mukherjee, author of A State of Freedom.

This year’s Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize winner Sir David Attenborough, recognised for his outstanding contribution to society, will deliver an illustrated talk addressing the divisive question of whether or not some animals can be described as artists.

Founded by Bloomsbury group artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, art remains a key focus for Charleston.  In this year’s Festival, V&A Director Tristram Hunt will be in conversation with RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete on the stories behind the historic institution’s new Exhibition Road Quarter. Also featuring is Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, who will discuss her ‘wilderness years’ and what she still hopes to achieve, while classical music and art collide in a conversation between leading arts broadcaster Clemency Burton-Hill, and James Hamilton, whose biography of Thomas Gainsborough has made waves in the art world.

Nathaniel Hepburn, Director and Chief Executive of The Charleston Trust, comments:

“The Charleston Festival is always a highlight of the cultural calendar and this year proves to be no exception. The 2018 programme is challenging, entertaining, innovative, radical and rigorous. I am very much looking forward to attending the talks at this, my first Festival since joining Charleston and meeting our festival-goers both loyal devotees and those attending for their first time.”

Diana Reich, Artistic Director of Charleston Festival, comments:

“Charleston was always associated with political and social engagement as well as animated conversation.  Therefore it is no surprise that this year’s Festival includes many events in which the state of the nation and the world is refracted through the prism of fiction, non-fiction, debate and humour. “

Tickets are on general sale from 19 February. The full Festival programme can be viewed at www.charleston.org.uk/festival from 6 February

ENDS  

 

For further information, please contact:

Truda Spruyt or James Douglas at Four Colman Getty

020 3697 4248 / Truda.Spruyt@fourcolmangetty.com

020 3697 4267 / James.Douglas@fourcolmangetty.com

Sir David Attenborough – 2018 winner of Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize

The naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has today, Tuesday 6 February, been announced as the winner of the fourth Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. In the spirit of John Maynard Keynes’ work, life and legacy, this global prize recognises Attenborough’s outstanding contribution to society.

From the 1960s as Controller of BBC2 television Sir David Attenborough has brought both nature and the arts to millions. His latest series, Blue Planet II was a cultural event in 2017, achieving the highest viewing figures of any programme that year. Through his broadcasting Attenborough continues to play a vital role in raising awareness of the human impact on the planet, warning against the consequences of climate change and pollution for the natural world and the species that inhabit it.

Attenborough will deliver the annual Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Lecture at Charleston Festival on Monday 21 May. With a nod to the artistic heritage of Charleston, Beauty and the Beasts sees him make use of new video evidence to answer the divisive question of whether some animals can justifiably be described as artists.

Dame Liz Forgan, chair of the advisory panel, comments: “The Keynes Prize recognises outstanding individuals who have used their genius in the service of humanity. 

“David Attenborough’s exceptional gift of communication has made it easy for us all to share his deep understanding of the natural world. He has been our trusted guide and teacher in the air, under the sea, in desert, tundra and jungle with humour, colour, imagination and good science. If our grandchildren inherit a sustainable planet he will deserve their gratitude.”

The winner, Sir David Attenborough, comments: “I am greatly honoured that the Charleston Festival has awarded me its Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. Please give my grateful thanks to those who made the decision.”

Anthony Cooke-Yarborough, CEO EFG Private Bank, comments: “We are delighted that Sir David Attenborough has been chosen as the recipient of the Charleston EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize. Throughout a long and illustrious career, Sir David has followed and shared his passion for the planet. He continues to bring a huge amount of can-do energy to his role. The breadth of his expertise and the depth of his influence are very much in the spirit of Keynes’s life and legacy.”

Following his win, Attenborough will receive a sum of £10,000 with the suggestion that he might use it to commission a work of art in any form; Maynard Keynes was a patron of the arts and founder of the Arts Council. Sir David will also give the annual Charleston-EFG Keynes Lecture at the Charleston Festival on Monday 21 May. The full programme for the 2018 Festival is now available at: www.charleston.org.uk/festival. Other luminaries in the Festival programme include Ali Smith, Alan Hollinghurst, Lubaina Himid, Jeanette Winterson, A C Grayling, Kamila Shamsie and Robert Webb.

The advisory panel comprises Dame Liz Forgan, former Chair of the Scott Trust and of Arts Council England; Simon Keynes, great-nephew of John Maynard Keynes; Professor Michael Proctor, Provost of King’s College, Cambridge; Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, politician and award-winning biographer of Keynes; Helen Park-Weir, Head of Marketing UK at EFG International.

Keynes wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace whilst staying at Charleston and subsequently moved to Tilton, just a stroll across a field away. Keynes embodies the radical and interdisciplinary nature of the Charleston milieu. His The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was recently voted the most influential academic book that has shaped our times.

 

ENDS

 

For further information, please contact

Truda Spruyt or James Douglas at Four Colman Getty on:

020 3697 4248 / Truda.Spruyt@fourcolmangetty.com

020 3697 4267 / James.Douglas@fourcolmangetty.com