Sunday, 30 June 2013

The final two days... Sitwells, servants, Melvyn Bragg, literary women and Ancient Greece

Friday saw us hosting a talk by William Sitwell at the Mansion House.  William, editor of Waitrose Kitchen magazine and great-nephew of Edith Sitwell gave a witty talk on his illustrious forebears. 

We were joined that evening by author Lucy Lethbridge (who had also given a talk at Betty's the day before).  Lucy spoke about the experiences of servants - from butlers, maids and cooks in 1900 to au pairs, cleaners and childminders of seventy years later. 

We were also joined that evening by writer and TV presenter Melvyn Bragg, talking about his new novel, Grace and Mary, which reaches from the late 19th century to the present, about a son seeking to uncover his mother's family history in a Cumbrian town. 

Saturday 29 June - the last day of York Festival of Ideas 2013

The majority of events on our final day were held in the Ron Cooke Hub.  We had a session from the V&A offering a rare opportunity to engage with Victorian women artists' work. 

The British Library also had a session in our 3Sixty exhibition space talking about the 2014 launch of a major new web portal, English Online, which will use primary source material to shed light on the social, political and cultural contexts behind key literary work.  Their exhibition showed manuscripts, diaries and many important artefacts. 

Fabulous fictional females saw four literary experts stand as an advocate for one of four classic novels written by women. 

For the final event of the evening (and of the festival) we were honoured to be joined by TV presenter Michael C Scott for a talk on ancient Greece.  Looking at the people in the 17th to 21st centuries who put ancient Greece back on the map, and who have shaped the legacy that ancient Greece still holds in our society today. 

And so ends York Festival of Ideas 2013.  A huge thank you to everyone who attended our events - we hope you enjoyed them.  To our speakers, thank you so much for your time and fantastic talks, performances, readings and exhibitions.  To our marvellous interns, who gave us so much help and support during the festival - Helena, Harry, Leanne, Bartek, Dima and Robert - you are all brilliant! 

A massive thank you to our official Festival photographer, the exceptional Ian Martindale.  

We have so many other people who deserve huge thanks for being part of YorkFoI 2013, but if we tried to list everyone we'd possibly miss some names - but everyone who has had any involvement has been great! 

See you all next year!

Joan, Sarah, Naomi, Alice and Sue - your Festival team

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