Upcoming events

An Evening with Catherine Gray for VERSIONS OF A GIRL

9th July, 2024, Steyning Bookshop

The Rising Down, Lives in a Sussex Landscape: An Evening with Alexandra Harris

Date: 16th April, 2024
Location: Steyning Methodist Church

This is going to be a really special evening!
We are delighted to welcome writer, literary critic and cultural historian ALEXANDRA HARRIS to Steyning to discuss her new book The Rising Down.
Alexandra grew up in Sussex and was educated at schools in Storrington and Horsham, so the Arun valley, the Wealden mud and the chalky sweep of the South Downs are in her blood, and The Rising Down sees her returning to West Sussex to consider the layers of buried lives beneath this familiar landscape…Who has stood here, she asks; what did they see?

As Alexandra excavates archival records and everyday objects, hundreds of unexpected stories and hypnotic voices emerge from the area’s past, from the painter John Constable and the modernist writer Ford Madox Ford, to the lost local women who left little trace. She uncovers the unexpected stories behind hidden places: an ancient church sheltering a medieval anchorite who chose to be buried alive, the country estate parading a menagerie of exotic animals, the cottage where William Blake received the poetic spirit of Milton, and a safe house harbouring secret agents from wartime French resistance networks.

Alexandra will be ‘in conversation’ with an interviewer (TBC) and will also answer audience questions and sign books at the end of the evening.

Alexandra Harris is a British writer and academic. She was born in Sussex and spent her childhood in the Arun Valley area. She is the author of Romantic Moderns, on modernism in inter-war Britain, and Weatherland on weather in English art and literature. She has also written a short biography of Virginia Woolf. Her radio work includes a series following Virginia Woolf’s walks, a ten-part ‘British History in Weather’, as well as programmes on candlelight, fireworks, coldness, and an excursion to ask shepherds about pastoral literature. She is a Professor of English at the University of Birmingham.

Tickets £8 ticket only or £20 including a signed copy of The Rising Down (RRP £25!!)

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