Photo of Val with Frieda Hughes with her books which she had inscribed for Val at her recent exhibitions of paintings. Val staged the writing of Frieda's mother, Sylvia Plath, at The National Theatre and so really values meeting and talking with Frieda. The picture underneath is Frieda's painting of Val's birth day in March.
Val was invited to join a local book club, and chose The Return by Hisham Matar as the first book to share reading with the group. She had previously met Hisham at an event at The Royal Society of Literature, where he had inscribed this book to her. It is a book in which Val learnt an enormous amount about the revolution in Libya, and Hisham's journey in search of his father.
In October Val visited Rutland as guest of Schiller International University colleague Vicky Sanderlin-McLoughlin. She took Val to see the amazing burial site and museum which has been newly created for Richard III in Leicester. It was a great and fascinating visit.
In September Val visited Bristol to see LLC study abroad teacher Joanne Howarth perform the chorus in Henry V at The Tobacco Factory. It was the week that the Bristol Old Vic Theatre reopened its newly designed theatre and audience spaces. It was thrilling to see this successful new design, a theatre Val loves because the first public show Val staged was in the studio here.
|The unveiling of a gravestone for William Blake|
|The Live Literature Company's tribute to William Blake|
|Harriet Martineau Society Conference in London 2018|
|English PEN event for Centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth|
The event marked the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and the publication of The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, published by Liveright. It was directed, produced and hosted by the acclaimed performer and director Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE.
A selection of Nelson Mandela’s letters were passionately read by a group of wonderful writers from the UK and South Africa, including Jay Bernard, Jackie Kay, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Ben Okri, Sahm Venter (editor of the book), Zoe Wicomb and Gary Younge. Award-winning composer Errollyn Wallen MBE performed a new piece of music inspired by the letters, composed especially for the event.
You can listen to this below.
|Kenwood Magnolia Tree|
|Image above: Mimi Doulton|
Val attended her niece's contemporary music singing recital at the St George The Martyr Church in Borough. Her niece, Mimi Doulton graduates as an opera singer from the Guildhall School of Music this Summer 2018.
Val has been to this church before under very sad circumstances to attend the funeral of Sarah Wheeler, the founder of the Mental Fight Club which meets in the Crypt of this church. Sarah founded this wonderful group and had a great love of the work of William Blake. So many of us who have done work focused on Blake came to know her through this.
|Val at the Saqqara Pyramids at the beginning of her visit to Egypt.|
The Live Literature Company has been invited to perform in Egypt. Val visited there to do further research about a possible visit, and also travelled visiting the beautiful and fascinating historic sites in Egypt.
Live Lit Co performer, Lucy Casson with her baby Ferdinand. Val and Lucy met up at the Young Vic with beautiful Ferdinand soon after he was born. Congratulations Lucy !