One of the highlights of this year’s Rye Arts Festival will be a visit from much loved journalist and broadcaster Joan Bakewell.
She will be at the Methodist Church, Gun Garden, on September 28 at 3pm for a talk which promises to give a fascinating insight into her life and experience, and her thoughts on an eclectic range of subjects.
Her talk will be based on her book Stop the Clocks - Thoughts On What I Leave Behind, which is not quite an update of the autobiography (What I leave Behind) that she wrote in 2004, or earlier The Centre Of The Bed, but more of a collection of recollections and anecdotes from a full and busy life.
Baroness Bakewell of Stockport became a life peer in 2011, having been made a dame and appointed the government’s Tsar for older people in 2008 – all more than was expected of her as a bright schoolgirl at Stockport High School for Girls and even after she won a scholarship to Cambridge University. The headmistress reminded her fellow pupils that “however pleased we are for Joan, the true calling of a woman’s life is to be a wife and a mother.”
Of course the feminist Ms Bakewell achieved both of these aims, as well as maintaining a seven-year affair with the playwright Harold Pinter (which he later used as the basis for his 1978 flay called Betrayal), whilst forging a brilliant career in TV and radio as a much respected presenter of the arts, current affairs and moral and ethical ideas. Blessed with a brilliant brain and an innate ability to communicate the most difficult of ideas to an audience Joan has managed to not just remain in but to sit astride the media for over half a century.
In her book and talk at Rye, Ms Bakewell isn’t just concerned with the big ideas, she also muses on what she will leave behind. She looks at possessions she has collected since childhood and wonders what she should do with them.
Tickets for Joan’s talk, £12, can be purchased at www.ryeartsfestival.co.uk or 01797 224442 between 9.30am and 1pm on Mondays to Saturdays.
Rye Arts Festival from September 17 to October 1 and offers around 60 events covering literary talks, classical and contemporary music, theatre, fil, historical walks and art exhibitions.