Graham Greene OM CH

English writer,playwright and literary critic Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH, sadly passed away 3 April 1991 in Vevey, Switzerland. He was born 2 October 1904 in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire into a large, influential family that included the owners of the Greene King Brewery. He boarded at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, where his father taught and became headmaster. Unhappy at the school, he attempted suicide several times. He also went to Balliol College, Oxford, to study history, where, while an undergraduate, he published his first work in 1925—a poorly received volume of poetry, Babbling April.

After graduating, Greene worked first as a private tutor and then as a journalist – first on the Nottingham Journal and then as a sub-editor on The Times. He converted to Catholicism in 1926 after meeting his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. He published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929; its favourable reception enabled him to work full-time as a novelist. He supplemented his novelist’s income with freelance journalism, and book and film reviews. His 1937 film review of Wee Willie Winkie (for the British journal Night and Day), commented on the sexuality of the nine-year-old star, Shirley Temple. This provoked Twentieth Century Fox to sue, prompting Greene to live in Mexico until after the trial was over. While in Mexico, Greene developed the ideas for The Power and the Glory.

Greene originally divided his fiction into two genres (which he described as “entertainments” and “novels”): thrillers—often with notable philosophic edges—such as The Ministry of Fear; and literary works—on which he thought his literary reputation would rest—such as The Power and the Glory. His works also explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene was noted for his ability to combine serious literary acclaim with widespread popularity. especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair.

Although Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his Several works such asThe Confidential Agent, The Third Man, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana and The Human Factor, Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, and Later in life he took to calling himself a “Catholic agnostic”, or even at times a “Catholic atheist”. Many of Greene’s novels also show an avid interest in the workings of international politics and espionage.

Greene suffered from bipolar disorder, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife Vivien, he told her that he had “a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life”, and that “unfortunately, the disease is also one’s material”. William Golding described Greene as “the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man’s consciousness and anxiety.” Greene never received the Nobel Prize in Literature, though he finished runner-up to Ivo Andrić in 1961. Graham Greene wrote some classic novels including Brighton Rock, The Third man and the End of the Affair, many of which have been adapted for film, television and stage numerous times.

C. S. Forester

English novelist Cecil Scott “C. S.” Forester (Cecil Louis Troughton Smith) sadly died 2 April 1966. He was born 27 August 1899 in Cairo and, moved with his mother to London and was educated at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich College, south London, and Guy’s Hospital, London, but did not complete his studies. “Forester had always worn glasses and been thin. Later, trying to enlist in the army he failed his physical and was told there was not a chance that we would be accepted even though he was of good height and somewhat athletic. In about 1921, after studying medicine for several years, he began writing seriously using his pen name.” During World War II, Forester moved to the United States where he worked for the British Information Service and wrote propaganda to encourage the US to join the Allies. He eventually settled in Berkeley, California. While living in Washington, D.C., he met a young British intelligence officer named Roald Dahl, whose experiences in the RAF he had heard of, and encouraged him to write about them. In 1947, he secretly married a woman named Dorothy Foster.

Forester was a prolific author and wrote many novels, among them the 12-book Horatio Hornblower series, depicting a Royal Navy officer during the Napoleonic era, His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded the 1938 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. He also wrote the African Queen (1935) and The General (1936); Peninsular War novels in Death to the French (published in the United States as Rifleman Dodd) and The Gun (filmed as The Pride and the Passion in 1957); and many seafaring stories that did not involve Hornblower, such as Brown on Resolution (1929); The Captain from Connecticut (1941); The Ship (1943) and Hunting the Bismarck (1959), which was used as the basis of the screenplay for the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck! Several of his works were filmed, most notably the 1951 film The African Queen, directed by John Huston. Forester is also credited as story writer for several movies not based on his published fiction, including Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942).

Forester also wrote several volumes of short stories set during the Second World War. Those in The Nightmare (1954) were based on events in Nazi Germany, ending at the Nuremberg Trials. Stories in The Man in the Yellow Raft (1969) followed the career of the destroyer USS Boon, while many of those in Gold from Crete (1971) followed the destroyer HMS Apache. The last of the stories in the latter book – “If Hitler had invaded England” – offers an imagined sequence of events starting with Hitler’s attempt to implement Operation Sea Lion, and culminating in the early military defeat of Nazi Germany in the summer of 1941. His non-fiction seafaring works include The Age of Fighting Sail (1956), an account of the sea battles between Great Britain and the United States in the War of 1812. In addition to his novels of seafaring life, Forester also published two crime novels, Payment Deferred (1926), and Plain Murder (1930),

He also wrote children’s books. One, Poo-Poo and the Dragons (1942), as a series of stories told to his younger son George to encourage him to finish his meals. George had mild food allergies that kept him feeling unwell, and he needed encouragement to eat. The second, The Barbary Pirates (1953), is a children’s history of those early 19th-century pirates. He can be seen as a contestant on 1 November 1956 edition of You Bet Your Life, commenting that his latest book is The Age of Fighting Sail. His novels still remain popular and in 2003 a “lost” novel of Forester’s, The Pursued, was discovered and bought at an auction and published by Penguin Classics on 3 November 2011. British author Roald Dahl’s writing career began after he met Forester in early 1942. According to Dahl’s autobiographical Lucky Break, Forester asked Dahl about his experiences as a fighter pilot. This prompted Dahl to write his first story, “A Piece of Cake.

Hans Christian Anderson

Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen was born April 2, 1805. Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales, a literary genre he so mastered that he himself has become as mythical as the tales he wrote. Although he was also z prolific writer of plays, travelogues and novels. Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children either; his stories—called eventyr, or “fantastic tales”—express themes that transcend age and nationality. very early fairy tale by Andersen called The Tallow Candle (Danish: Tællelyset) is about a candle who did not feel appreciated. In 1829, Andersen enjoyed considerable success with a short story titled A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager. In the book, the protagonist meets characters ranging from Saint Peter to a talking cat. He followed this success with a theatrical piece, Love on St. Nicholas Church Tower and a short volume of poems. At Jura, near Le Locle, Switzerland, he wrote the story, Agnete and the Merman. He spent an evening in the Italian seaside village of Sestri Levante the same year, inspiring the name, The Bay of Fables. It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment of his immortal Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr; lit. “fantastic tales”).

More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The collection consists of nine tales that includes The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, and The Emperor’s New Clothes. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels, O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler (1837); the latter was reviewed by the young Søren Kierkegaard. in July 1839 during a visit to the island of Funen that Andersen first wrote the text of his poem, Jeg er en Skandinav (I am a Scandinavian).Andersen returned to the fairy tale genre in 1838 with another collection, Fairy Tales Told for Children (1838) (Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Ny Samling.), which consists of The Daisy, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and The Wild Swans. 1845 heralded a breakthrough for Andersen with the publication of four different translations of his fairy tales. The Little Mermaid appeared in the popular periodical Bentley’s Miscellany. It was followed by a second volume, Wonderful Stories for Children. Two other volumes enthusiastically received were A Danish Story Book and Danish Fairy Tales and Legends.Andersen would continue to write fairy tales until 1872. Some of his most famous fairy tales include:

The Angel, The Bell, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Galoshes of Fortune, The Fir Tree, The Happy Family, The Ice-Maiden “, It’s Quite True! The Little Match Girl, The Little Mermaid, Little Tuck, The Nightingale, The Old House, Sandman, The Princess and the Pea, Several Things, The Red Shoes, The Shadow, The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, The Snow Queen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Story of a Mother, The Swineherd, Thumbelina, The Tinderbox, The Ugly Duckling, The Wild Swans

Sadly Hans Christian Anderson sadly passed away on 4th August 1875 in Copenhagen, Denmark, however During his lifetime he delighted children worldwide and was feted by royalty. Andersen’s fairy tales have been translated into more than 125 languages and are culturally embedded in the West’s collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. His stories laid the groundwork for other children’s classics, such as Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. The technique of making inanimate objects, such as toys, come to life (Little Ida’s Flowers) would later be used by Lewis Carroll and Beatrix Potter. In the English-speaking world, his fairy tales remain immensely popular and are widely read. The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling have both become household words. Many of his story’s have also inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films

International Children’s Book day

International Children’s Book Day takes place annually on 2nd April. It was Founded in 1967, and is observed on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2 in order to to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. is sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), an international non-profit organization.

IBBY was founded in Zurich, Switzerland as a non-profit organization in 1953. Following a meeting organised by Jella Lepman in Munich, Germany, called International Understanding through Children’s Books. Which saw Many authors, publishers, teachers and philosophers attending and appointing a Committee to create the International Board on Books for Young People – IBBY. IBBY was registered as a non-profit organization in Zurich, Switzerland. The founding members included: Erich Kästner, Lisa Tetzner, Astrid Lindgren, Jo Tenfjord, Fritz Brunner, Bettina Hürlimann and Richard Bamberger. IBBY established an international award in 1956 and since then the Hans Christian Andersen Award has continued to be awarded every two years. International Children’s book day has six key aims:

  • To give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards.
  • to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries.
  • to provide support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature
  • to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature
  • to protect and uphold the Rights of the Child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • to promote international understanding through children’s books.

Today, it is composed of more than seventy National Sections all over the world. It represents countries with well-developed book publishing and literacy programmes, and other countries with only a few dedicated professionals who are doing pioneer work in children’s book publishing and promotion. IBBY’s policies and programmes are determined by its Executive Committee: ten people from different countries and a President, elected biennially by the National Sections at a General Assembly during the IBBY Congresses, held every two years. They work on a voluntary basis. The daily management of IBBY’s affairs is conducted from the IBBY Secretariat in Basel, Switzerland. 

The National Sections are organized in many different ways and operate on national, regional and international levels. In countries that do not have a National Section, individual membership in IBBY is possible. The membership of the National Sections include authors and illustrators, publishers and editors, translators, journalists and critics, teachers, university professors and students, librarians and booksellers, social workers and parents. Annual dues from the National Sections are IBBY’s only source of regular income. Independent financing is necessary to support IBBY activities.

As a non-governmental organization with an official status in UNESCO and UNICEF, IBBY has a policy-making role as an advocate of children’s books. IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990. One of its main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and to direct access to information. Thanks to IBBY’s insistence, the resolution includes an appeal to all nations to promote the production and distribution of children’s books.

IBBY also cooperates with many international organizations and children’s book institutions around the world and exhibits at the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna and other international book fairs. Each year a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD. It decides upon a theme and invites a prominent author from the host country to write a message to the children of the world and a well-known illustrator to design a poster. These materials are used in different ways to promote books and reading. Many IBBY Sections promote International Children’s BOok Day through the media and organize activities in schools and public libraries. Often ICBD is linked to celebrations around children’s books and other special events that may include encounters with authors and illustrators, writing competitions or announcements of book awards. Many other activities often take place including writing competitions, announcements of book awards and events with authors of children’s literature

National Poetry Month (USA)

National Poetry Month takes place each April in the United States It was introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. The Academy of American Poets’ website Poets.org serves as a hub for information about local poetry events during the month. The organization also provides free educational resources to teachers for classroom celebrations and activities, and commissions an annual festival poster. Since 1998, National Poetry Month has also been celebrated each April in Canada

National Poetry Month was inspired by the success of Black History Month and Women’s History Month. In 1995, the Academy of American Poets convened a group of publishers, booksellers, librarians, literary organizations, poets, and teachers to discuss the need and usefulness of a similar monthlong holiday to celebrate poetry. The first National Poetry Month was held in 1996. In 1998, the Academy of American Poets joined the American Poetry & Literacy Project to distribute 100,000 free books of poetry from New York to California during National Poetry Month. On April 22, President Clinton and the First Lady hosted a gala at the White House that featured Poets Laureate Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, and Rita Dove.

For National Poetry Month in 2001, the Academy of American Poets invited people to “vote” for poets they most wanted to have a postage stamp. More than 10,000 people cast ballots, with Langston Hughesreceiving the most votes. The vote tally was sent to the United States Postal Service, which issued a Langston Hughes stamp in January 2002. In April 2005 the Empire State Building was illuminated with blue lights to mark the 10th anniversary of National Poetry Month.In 2006, the Academy of American Poets launched Poem-a-Day, publishing one new poem on its website Poets.org each day during the month-long celebration. Poem-a-Day is now a daily, year-long series, which has been syndicated by King Features. In 2012, the Academy of American Poets launched the Dear Poet project, which invites students to read and write poems during National Poetry Month, some of which are published on Poets.org. The project is accompanied by a lesson plan offered to K-12 teachers for free. Each year, a special poster is commissioned by the Academy of American Poets for National Poetry Month, with almost 150,000 copies distributed to schools, libraries, and community centers for free. In the past, posters have been designed by noted graphic designers such as Chip Kidd and Milton Glaser. The 2015 National Poetry Month poster has been designed by New Yorker illustrator Roz Chast. Numerous books and poetry compilations have been published acknowledging National Poetry Month, such as The Knopf National Poetry Month Collection by Random House and Celebrating National Poetry Monthby children’s book author and poet Bruce Larkin.

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom National Poetry Day, is celebrated on the first or second Thursday of October in the United Kingdom. Events take place in schools, pubs, arts centres, bookshops, libraries, buses, trains and Women’s Institutes, and the day is the focus for media attention for poetry. National Poetry Day is co-ordinated by the Forward Arts Foundation (a registered charity), which also runs the Forward Prizes for Poetry. A theme is chosen in consultation with the National Poetry Day partners: in 2015, National Poetry Day occurred on October 8 and had the theme Light.

Since 1999, National Poetry Month has been celebrated each April in Canada, where it is sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets and organized around a different annual theme. In 1999, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared March 21 to be World Poetry Day. The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the UNESCO session declaring the day says, to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements.”

In the United Kingdom the festival “October is National Poetry Month” was founded in 2000 by Celtic bard Jim MacCool nd was adopted by the Birmingham-based Performance Poetry Society that same year. From makeshift beginnings, National Poetry Month has been taken up by primary and secondary schools, colleges of further education, public library services, the prison estate, and to a lesser extent, more localised festivals. Professional poets appear in all corners of the United Kingdom under the aegis of the Performance Poetry Society, which co-ordinates a proportion of their efforts and ensures that they are paid a normal rate for their appearances.

War of the Worlds

I am currently rewatching the exciting BBC Version of War of the Worlds . Based on H.G.Wells 1898 novel It takes place in 1905 (ten years after the original novel) and stars Rafe Spall as George, Eleanor Tomlinson as Amy and Robert Carlyle as Ogilvy. It begins when a group of Astronomers including Ogilvy from an Astronomical Observatory in Ottershaw and a journalist named George, notice a number of strange explosions on the planet Mars. Meanwhile everybody including George, his wife Amy and his Politician Brother, who works for the Admiralty in London, carry on with their everyday lives, blissfully unaware.

Then a few months later a mysterious capsule lands on Horsell Common near Woking in Surrey. At first their is great excitement as George, Ogilvy and many other astronomers From the observatory in Ottershaw investigate and examine the impact crater and the capsule. They discover that it is in fact artificial, hollow and made of metal and begin to speculate whether there may be Technologically superior and super-intelligent Martians inside. 

However excitement soon turns to terror when the capsule suddenly opens To reveal a mysterious sphere which systematically incinerates  all onlookers with a heat ray. Soon the Army are called in, however they too find themselves powerless against the heat ray. Then a gigantic tripod rises up from inside the metal capsule in the Crater and wreaks widespread destruction around Woking  using a heat ray and spreading noxious clouds of poisonous black smoke, killing thousands of people and plunging Woking into chaos , 

So George tells Amy to flee The carnage and head for his Brother Fred’s house in London and safety. Then news is received concerning a second asteroid which has landed in Byfleet and has cut off the route to London. Meanwhile George joins an artillery man who is among those Who Are confrontIng The second Sphere In Byfleet, however this soon incinerates them. Luckily George manages to escape the carnage and embarks on a perilous journey through the shattered streets of Surrey to locate Amy and his brother Fred in London.

Meanwhile the giant Martian tripods soon reach London and begin incinerating people with the heat ray and releasing Noxious clouds of poisonous gas and red weed has started growing rapidly covering the countryside and choking everything. 

So people begin fleeing in large numbers. Then George  meets Mrs Elphinstone and they decide to head for the coast. Here he is finally reunited with Amy, however the Martian tripods have also reached the coast. So George, Fred, Mrs Elphinstone and Amy decide to take shelter in an abandoned house instead. However George becomes seriously ill and they find themselves trapped and in grave danger when numerous Martians start appearing in the area…

This starts off well, the effects are good, and it is mostly well paced and exciting With some tense scenes. Although for some reason the writers decided to include an unmarried sub plot which adds nothing whilst omitting important scenes, like the Torpedo Ram boat Thunder Child confronting a tripod. The plot is not true to the book in other ways and also keeps moving between present and future which is also rather confusing and the final scene between mother and Son Is pointless, adds nothing and makes no sense.

Charlotte Brontë

English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë Sadly passed away on 31 March 1855, at the young age of 38. Born 21st April 1816 She was the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood, whose novels are English literature standards. She wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. Charlotte was born in Thornton, Yorkshire in 1816, the third of six children. In August 1824, Charlotte was sent with three of her sisters, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth, to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (Charlotte later used the school as the basis for the fictional Lowood School in Jane Eyre). She and the other surviving children — Branwell, Emily, and Anne – created their own literary fictional worlds, and began chronicling the lives and struggles of the inhabitants of these imaginary kingdoms. Charlotte and Branwell wrote Byronic stories about their imagined country (“Angria”) and Emily and Anne wrote articles and poems about theirs (“Gondal”). The sagas which they created were elaborate and convoluted (and still exist in partial manuscripts) and provided them with an obsessive interest during childhood and early adolescence, which prepared them for their literary vocations in adulthood.

Charlotte continued her education at Roe Head, Mirfield, from 1831 to 32, where she met her lifelong friends and correspondents, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. During this period, she wrote her novella The Green Dwarf (1833) under the name of Wellesley. Charlotte returned to Roe Head as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. In 1839, she took up the first of many positions as governess to various families in Yorkshire, a career she pursued until 1841. In 1842 Charlotte and Emily travelled to Brussels to enroll in a boarding school run by Constantin Heger In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music. Their time at the boarding school was cut short when Elizabeth Branwell, their aunt who joined the family after their mother died Charlotte returned alone to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the boarding school but returned to Haworth in January 1844 and later used her time at the boarding school as the inspiration for some experiences.

In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poetry under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Charlotte’s first manuscript, called The Professor, did not secure a publisher, although she was heartened by an encouraging response she received from Smith, Elder & Co of Cornhill, who expressed an interest in any longer works which “Currer Bell” might wish to send.Charlotte responded by finishing and sending a second manuscript in August 1847, and six weeks later this second manuscript (titled Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) was published. Jane Eyre was a success, and initially received favourable reviews. It was followed by the subsequent publication of the first novels by Charlotte’s sisters: Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey.

In June 1854, Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate and, in the opinion of many scholars, the model for several of her literary characters such as Jane Eyre’s Edward Rochester and St. John Rivers. She became pregnant soon after the marriage. Her health declined rapidly during this time, and according to Gaskell, her earliest biographer, she was attacked by “sensations of perpetual nausea and ever-recurring faintness.” Charlotte Sadly passed away shortly afterwoods on 31 March 1855, at the young age of 38 Her death certificate gives the cause of death as phthisis (tuberculosis), but many biographers suggest she may have died from dehydration and malnourishment, caused by excessive vomiting from severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum. There is also evidence to suggest that Charlotte died from typhus she may have caught from Tabitha Ackroyd, the Bronte household’s oldest servant, who died shortly before her. Charlotte was interred in the family vault in The Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haworth, West Yorkshire, England. Her endurng popularty & legacy stll lives on To this day and all Charlotte Bronte’s novels Particularly Jane Eyre, are still as popular as ever. There have also been many Television Radio and Film adaptations of her novels and her classic novel’s are stll widely taught in schools.