Southwold Arts Centre, 12 September, 6pm.
Ronald Blythe, who died this year aged 100, was already an established writer and editor before the publication in 1969 of Akenfield: Portrait of an English village. This fictionalised account, covering the years 1880 to 1966, was based on interviews with three generations of his Suffolk neighbours.
The book became a classic, and Blythe went on to publish over 30 more books, as his writings and his life inspired a generation of nature writers. His 2022 collection, Next to Nature, has an introduction by Richard Mabey, in which he praises the author of ‘the best literary accounts of the English rural scene in the twenty-first century’.
In 1974 Peter Hall, then director of the National Theatre, directed the film of Akenfield. It was based on Blythe’s 18-page synopsis, but with dialogue mainly improvised by the entirely amateur cast (including Blythe with a cameo role as the vicar). It too has become a classic.
Presented jointly with Waveney & Blyth Arts. Book at southwoldartscentre.co.uk.