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Runnymede International Literary Festival

Runnymede International Literary Festival 2016

14 - 19 March 2016



This year's Festival has three main themes: the centenary of World War I; the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth; and the human rights theme that was part of the celebration of the Magna Carta last year. We are pleased to be working with Surrey County Libraries and Egham Library on this: we are together introducing what we hope will be a regular feature of the Runnymede Festival. 

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth will be celebrated by a reading of Henry IV, Part I organised by Harry Newman and by a lecture on the real Henry IV by Dr Catherine Nall.

R:Fest 2016 Programme

14 March 2016: Paper Stage

5.00-8:00 pm: Management Building Lecture Theatre

Dr Harry Newman will be co-ordinating a reading of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1.

The Paper Stage is a public play-reading society with branches in Surrey, Kent and Mantua in Italy (@ThePaperStage; see the blog). For the Runnymede Literary Festival, and to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, they'll be getting together for an interactive reading of Shakespeare's wonderful history play Henry IV, Part 1, featuring Falstaff and Prince Hal (later Henry V). You'll have the opportunity to be part of the action by reading a part, or just listening to the drama unfold. There will be time for an introduction to the play, and a post-reading discussion. Please get in touch if you plan to join (harry.newman@rhul.ac.uk), and let Harry Newman know whether you'd like to read a part (specifying small, medium, or large), or would prefer to just listen in.

Dr Newman joined Royal Holloway in 2015 from the University of Kent. His book, Impressive Shakespeare: Identity, Authority and the Imprint in Shakespearean Drama, will be published by Ashgate in 2016. 


16 March 2016: Arts and Migration

7.00-9.00 pm: Egham Public Library

Agnes Woolley and Kayo Chingonyi will talk about the arts and migration and lead a discussion on the topic. Kayo will also read some of his work.

Dr Woolley joined Royal Holloway in 2014. She is the author of Contemporary Asylum Narratives: Representing Refugees in the Twenty-first Century.

Kayo Chingonyi was born in Zambia in 1987 and moved to the UK in 1993. He gained an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. His poems have appeared in a range of magazines and anthologies, and he published his debut pamphlet, Some Bright Elegance, with Salt in 2012. He was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2012. He is currently working on a new book of poems, Kumukanda, which roughly translates (from Luvale) as ‘The Initiation’, about the rites immigrants pass through in the absence of their native culture.


17 March 2016: The Real Henry IV

6.00 pm: Management Building Lecture Theatre

Dr Catherine Nall will be talking about the real Henry IV. Dr Nall is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at RHUL. Her monograph, Reading and War in Fifteenth-Century England: From Lydgate to Malory, was published in 2012. She has also co-edited a collection of essays on Chaucer and Fame and is currently writing a biography of Henry IV for the Penguin Monarchs series.


19 March 2016: Medieval Runnymede and Magna Carta

10.00-11.00 am: Egham Public Library

Children’s Event*

Listen to the Herald sent by Robert Baron Fitzwalter recruiting followers for the Baron’s army marching on Runneymede in 1215 to force the wicked King John to sign Magna Carta. Learn why it is important the king signs, what Magna Carta will mean for the people of England, how you can help in the Baron’s army, and what life is like in 13th Century England. Get involved in some great role play and dressing up.

Suitable for children aged 7+*

Tickets for this event only: £4

*Children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult at all times however adults do not need to purchase a ticket.

Book Online

Tickets for this event only may be purchased at any Surrey Library, or by credit or debit card with Enquiries Direct via a mediated booking service (a small handling charge will apply) on 01483 543599 or via SMS: 07968 832414.

All tickets are non-refundable unless the event is cancelled. For further information please view our Event Ticket Purchase – policy statement.

For details of previous festivals, visit the R:Fest page of our Showcase section.



Watch the video below for a taster of the festival in 2013:



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