The University of Nottingham will be celebrating its links with its most famous literary son at the 7th Annual DH Lawrence Festival, taking place from September 1 to 30.
Lawrence scholars from the University will be bringing their expertise to bear to deliver a number of public talks on topics ranging from Lawrence as a talented painter to his relationship with the sea and its impact on his writing.
The DH Lawrence Festival is an annual event organised by DH Lawrence Heritage and Broxtowe Borough Council to celebrate the life and works of the writer, together with the mining and cultural heritage of his birthplace.
This year’s festival will kick off on the evening of Wednesday September 1, when it will be formally opened by the Mayor of Eastwood, Councillor Brian Griffiths, and the Mayor of Broxtowe, Councillor Pat Lally, at an official launch event at Durban House Heritage Centre in Eastwood.
The newly-appointed Director of the DH Lawrence Research Centre at The University of Nottingham, Dr Andrew Harrison, will speak about the exciting line-up for the month-long celebrations and the special guest for the evening will be Nottinghamshire-born screenwriter, playwright and University of Nottingham honorary graduate Billy Ivory, whose new joint adaptation of Lawrence’s The Rainbow and Women in Love will be screened on BBC4 this autumn.
Dr Harrison said: “The University is delighted to be centrally involved once again in the DH Lawrence Festival. This year’s schedule will give people the chance to see items from the University’s exceptional Lawrence holdings in Manuscripts and Special Collections, and it will also allow staff from the School of English Studies to share their expertise with those interested not only in Lawrence, but also in the wider literary and cultural heritage of Eastwood and Nottinghamshire.”
Special Professor at the University Keith Sagar, who is the author of a number of books on Lawrence, will deliver a public lecture entitled DH Lawrence: Painter on Thursday September 2. His talk, which starts at 7.30pm at Durban House Heritage Centre, will focus on Lawrence’s talents as a painter and the original paintings he began to produce in the last four years of his life, which have a strong bearing on his writings of the period, including one of his most infamous works Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
This year’s DH Lawrence ‘Birthday Lecture’ on Saturday September 11, from 6.30pm at Eastwood Comprehensive School, will be delivered by Peter Preston, Special Lecturer in the School of English Studies and founder of the DH Lawrence Research Centre at the University, who will speak on Lawrence at Sea: Departures, Crossings and Returns. The lecture, hosted by the DH Lawrence Society, will consider many of the sea voyages taken by his characters, the symbolic role of the sea in his poetry, and the motivations and implications for Lawrence’s own departures, crossings and returns.
Dr Andrew Harrison will give a public lecture on the connections between Lawrence and the Danish painter Kai Gøtzsche at Durban House Heritage Centre, 7.30pm, on Thursday September 16. While Gøtzsche painted an iconic portrait of Lawrence and designed the dustjacket for one of his books, he remains one of the most enigmatic figures in Lawrence biography. The lecture will piece together what little is known of Gøtzsche and his association with Lawrence, drawing on some recently uncovered material unfamiliar to many Lawrence scholars.
The doors to The University of Nottingham’s DH Lawrence Collection, housed within Manuscripts and Special Collections at the King’s Meadow Campus, will be opened to the public on Saturday September 18 from 10am to 12 noon. The University’s collection of original Lawrence manuscripts, first editions, letters, photographs, paintings, biographical writings and other materials — some dating back to Lawrence’s time as a student at Nottingham University College from 1906 to 1908 — attracts visitors from all over the world.
As a working archive designated by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council as being of exceptional national interest, this is a rare opportunity for people to see famous and less familiar items and talk to curators and researchers about the work involved in caring for the collection.
Dr Sarah Davison, Lecturer in English Literature in the School of English Studies, will lead a reading group on Lawrence’s The Rainbow and selections from Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm on Thursday September 23, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, at the Durban House Heritage Centre. The group will read the first chapter of The Rainbow, with its opening pastoral hymn to the Brangwen family and Marsh Farm, against the wicked parody of Lawrence’s descriptions of rural life in Cold Comfort Farm.
The festival will also feature a whole host of other events including art workshops, exhibitions, music and drama, film screenings, family activities and guided walks around Lawrence’s local landscape.
There may be a small charge for individual events and booking may be necessary to avoid disappointment. More information is available at http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4700 or contact the DH Lawrence Festival Box Office on 01773 717353.
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PICTURE: the image above was taken of DH Lawrence in Mexico in 1923. Used courtesy of Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham.
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