well read - The Henley Literary Festival

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Visit the picturesque banks of the Thames and enjoy some culture at The Henley Literary Festival, now in its sixth year, September 24–30.


The historic town of Henley-on-Thames has become renowned for its literary festival.

The week-long festival has more than 100 authors appearing in a selection of beautiful and historic venues. Michael Palin, John Major, Prue Leith, and Rupert Everett are among the high profile names appearing.

One of the most popular events is the River Reading, where actors read poetry and prose as one of the famous Hobbs boats cruises down the Thames. There is a range of events for children and young people as well.

Venues include the Kenton Theatre, which is the country’s fourth oldest working theatre, Bix Manor, with its 17th century Manor House and Great Tithe Barn, and Phyllis Court; so many settings that lend themselves to authors talking about their books and meeting their readers.

Book reviews

The Wind in the Willows
By Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows is celebrated for its mixture of adventure, camaraderie, and the nature of the Thames Valley. The glorious adventures of Toad, Mole, Ratty, and Badger have enchanted generations of children and their parents for nearly a century. Charles van Sandwyk’s illustrations breathe new life into the much-loved heroes of Kenneth Grahame’s classic, magically evoking the idyllic and occasionally dangerous world of wild wood and riverbank.
The Folio Society


Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog
By Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men in a Boat was an instant success when it appeared in 1889. J. and his friends George and Harris decide to head for a restful vacation on the Thames with J.’s small fox-terrier Montmorency. Anticipating peace and leisure, they encounter the joys of roughing it, of getting their boat stuck in locks, of being towed by amateurs, of having to eat their own cooking, and, of course, of coping with the glorious English weather.


I Never Knew That About the River Thames
By Christopher Winn

Winn unearths a fascinating array of facts, folklore, secrets, and stories of England’s most famous waterway. Explore the Thames' literary heritage at Pangbourne, home of Kenneth Grahame, and Mapledurham House, the inspiration for its famous Toad Hall. Journey to Henley-on-Thames, where the first Oxford and Cambridge boat races were held, then marvel at Southend Pier, the longest pleasure pier in the world.
Ebury Press


Rowing in Britain
By Julie Summers

Historian, writer, and novice sculler Julie Summers explains the history of British rowing as a competitive sport from the early 19th century to the present day. She then profiles the three most famous rowing events: the Boat Race, rowed on the incoming tide from Putney to Mortlake in spring; Henley Royal Regatta, which takes place on the first weekend of July; and the Olympic Games, which have yielded some of the greatest British Olympians of all time.
Shire Publications


A Thames Moment
By Gordon Cope

Join Gordon Cope and his wife, Linda, as they discover the customs, cuisine, and inhabitants of Henley-upon-Thames, where the internationally renowned Royal Regatta reigns supreme, a young George Orwell spent his formative years and one-time Beatle George Harrison lived from the 1970s until his death in 2001. Experience the warmth of a rural English community, its pace of life dictated by the stately flow of the storied Thames River.
Rocky Mountain Books


London, England
Distance: 5,219 km
Flight Time: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Frequency: 6 flights a day

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