11 October, 2016

2016 festival closes with surprise guest James Ivory

One of the world’s most revered film directors was the surprise guest at our festival on Friday. A sellout audience at a special screening of the classic film A Room with a View in Walthamstow Hall School was delighted when the film’s legendary director James Ivory appeared on stage to introduce it.

Ivory, 88, who lives in New York, answered questions for half an hour from an old friend, the veteran film journalist John Pym, whose family home near Brasted Chart was used as the location for many of the scenes in the 1985 film.

John Pym and James Ivory at Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016 (Photo: Roger Lee)

The director explained how he cast relatively unknown actors, including Helena Bonham Carter, Daniel Day-Lewis and Rupert Graves, to complement established stars Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Denholm Elliott in his adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel, which won three Oscars.

Ivory’s legendary partnership with producer Ismail Merchant over more than four decades led to more than 40 films, many of them now regarded as classics, including the 1965 Shakespeare Wallah with Felicity Kendal, and Howard’s End with Emma Thompson.

Friday’s closing event of the 2016 festival was the climax of two weeks of author events, including a rousing evening of performance poetry with Lemn Sissay in the Ship Theatre on National Poetry Day.

Lemn Sissay at Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016

“Our fourteenth Sevenoaks Literary Festival was really buzzy,” said committee chair Jill Webster. “We had great feedback, especially for our lovely opening event with the Milton Consort celebrating Shakespeare’s sonnets, Juliet Nicolson’s heartfelt talk about her family and Michael Smith’s inspiring one on Shackleton, and for the amazing Lemn Sissay who charmed everyone. James Ivory’s guest appearance at our grand finale was the icing on the cake!”

Juliet Nicolson at Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016 (Photo: Roger Lee)
The Milton Consort at Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016 (Photo: Roger Lee)
Michael Smith at Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016 (Photo: Roger Lee)

The programme also featured novelist Sophie Hannah, who spoke to a sold out literary lunch at St Julian’s Club about her second Agatha Christie novel Closed Casket. Artist and illustrator William Grill spent a day with local primary school pupils, a free event supported by Sevenoaks Town Council.

Sophie Hannah at Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016 (Photo: Roger Lee)
William Grill at Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016 (Photo: Roger Lee)

The annual Sevenoaks Literary Festival, which began more than a decade ago, is run by a committee of volunteers with the involvement of Sevenoaks Bookshop.

Thank you to everyone that attended this year’s events and helped make Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2016 such a success. View more photos in this year’s gallery.