April 3, 2016


The 2016 Whistable Literary Festival (WhitLit) will be celebrating James Bond author Ian Fleming's Kent connections this year with a host of special programs. Bond events kick off on Wednesday May 11th with a brass band concert: "WhitLit presents an evening of music and readings celebrating James Bond. Over the past five decades music from the Bond franchise has become a part of our musical culture featuring haunting melodies and soaring brass scores. Let the 1st Whitstable Scout Band entertain you with a concert of legendary tunes, some with guest vocalists, along with readings from the pages of Fleming. From Skyfall to Goldfinger, Barry to Bassey, prepare to be shaken and stirred." More programming with special guests below. 

The Fleming celebration continues on Friday May 13th at 4:00PM with a special reading by Young Bond author, Steve Cole: "Steve Cole introduces his first explosive Young Bond adventure, Shoot to Kill giving a unique insight into 1930s gadgets, gangsters and Hollywood. Join Steve is this interactive event as he explains how he became such a fan of Ian Fleming’s super-spy, shares the research behind his creation, introduces new characters, including a sinister villain, and tests the audience’s spy skills to ask ‘How Bond Are You? Steve Cole has written the bestselling 'Astrosaurs’ adventures. In 2013 he took over from Charlie Higson as author of the Young Bond series exploring the life of the teenage James Bond."

Keynote events are scheduled on Friday May 13th, beginning at 6:30PM with Fleming biographer Andrew Lycett: "Sportsman, womanizer, naval commander, world-traveler, and spy, the creator of the Cold War’s archetypal secret agent was infinitely more complex and interesting than his iconic fictional character, Agent 007. Ian Fleming’s wide-ranging and exciting life inevitably provided the plausible backdrop for his Bond novels. The day after his wedding to Ann O’Neill, Fleming sat down to write his first book, Casino Royale, in order to soothe his nerves. Thus began the long line of Bond novels for which he would earn lasting fame. Andrew Lycett is one of the foremost experts on Fleming’s life and work. He is a biographer and journalist whose other subjects include Wilkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

Next on Friday at 7:45PM: "Historian Matthew Parker reveals the untold story of Ian Fleming in Jamaica, his house Goldeneye, and the creation of James Bond. Amid Jamaica’s beauty, Fleming immersed himself in the jet-set society that clung to its imperial past. Rubbing shoulders with Noel Coward and Errol Flynn, he was part of a world of dangerous glamour that would infuse all his Bond novels. The top 10 Sunday Times Best seller Goldeneye is a revealing exploration of Ian Fleming’s life and work. Matthew Parker spent part of his childhood in the West Indies. He has written five books and contributes to The Literary Review, and BBC History Magazine."

The capstone of the evening will be a special talk by Ian Fleming's step-daughter Fionn Morgon at 9:00PM: "WhitLit is honoured to welcome Fionn Morgan, the daughter of Ann Fleming and her first husband Shane, 3rd Lord O’Neill. Fionn was 16 when her mother married Ian Fleming and has a wise stance on her step- father’s life, work, loves and outlooks. Ann Fleming was the last great polical hostess, a letter writer of rare wit with close friends including Noel Coward, Evelyn Waugh, Lucian Freud and Cecil Beaton. Her long love affair with Ian Fleming started before her second marriage to newspaper baron Lord Rothermere and after their divorce Fleming married Ann in 1952. Fionn will reveal to Andrew Lycett growing up in a fascinating family and spending time with Ian Fleming and her mother in Kent."

For Spy Vibers interested in visiting sites in Kent with ties to Ian Fleming and the James Bond stories, WhitLit has posted a wonderful traveling route of locations. This trail of historical, literary, and film sites includes spots connected to Moonraker, Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,  Diamonds Are Forever, and more! Below: Ian Flemings house White Cliffs in Kent (Will Lord-Flickr). 

Other events of interest during the festival: Andrew Lownie's talk "Guy Burgess: Stalin's Englishman", Brooks and Paul Nolan host Book Debate- Goldfinger, Contemporary Spy Masters- Charles Cumming, SJ Parris, Francesca Kay, and The Debs of Bletchley Park. Festival ticket info here. Thank you to Artistic License Renewed for putting this in our radar. I won't be able to travel until July, but hopefully our Spy Vibers in the UK will attend this special festival. Enjoy!

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