Captain Corelli’s Mandolin author de Bernières to visit Petworth Literary Festival

The internationally-acclaimed author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières is set to entertain with his poetry and songs in a programme of words and music at the Leconfield Hall, Petworth, on Sunday, October 31.

Louis de Bernières (credit Ivan Bartholomew)
Louis de Bernières (credit Ivan Bartholomew)

The event is a highlight of this year’s Litfest and features support from Arundel musical duo Mike Carey (piano) and Clare Nicholas (accordion).

South Downs Poetry Festival director Barry Smith said: “We’re delighted that Petworth Litfest is joining forces with our pop-up poetry festival for a breakfast event where orange juice, coffee, croissants from the Hungry Guest, the Sunday newspapers, music and poetry will be the name of the game. Audiences are invited to join the relaxed environment for a session with one of the most successful writers of our times.

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“Louis de Bernières shot to fame with his iconic story of love and war set in Cephalonia, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, the subject of a popular film starring Penelope Cruz and Nicolas Cage. Recognised by Granta as one of our most promising novelists, he has amply fulfilled that prediction with a series of major novels including Birds Without Wings, A Patriot’s Daughter and the recent So Much Life Left Over.

“Louis is also a significant poet with three full collections to his name, Imagining Alexandria, Of Love and Desire and his latest collection, The Cat in the Treble Clef, which features poems about family, places, love and time. He is a keen musician, playing the flute, mandolin, guitar and saxophone. A collection of his highly original music has been released on CD as The Songs of Louis de Bernières with the Bookshop Band. Think of a cross between Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen to get the flavour. It’s a good bet that during the show, Louis will pick up his guitar for a song or two!

“His many acclaimed books include Birds Without Wings, set in Istanbul during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, which Louis is on record as saying is his favourite and the one he’d like to be remembered by.”

The cast for the breakfast session also includes South Downs Poetry Festival director Barry Smith. His new collection, Performance Rites (Waterloo Press) depicts life as performance with poems on music, art, circus and the theatre of the natural world.

Barry added: “I usually introduce the poetry breakfasts so it will be a real privilege to be on stage this year as one of the performers. Also on stage, will be performance poet Antosh Wojcik who will present a selection of the best poems written by Petworth district’s young writers. Refreshments generously supplied by The Hungry Guest are included in the ticket price.”

Poetry Breakfast at Petworth Litfest with Louis de Bernières, Sunday, October 31, 10.30am (doors 10am), Leconfield Hall, Market Square, Petworth, GU28 0AH. Tickets: £10 (18 and under £5) from or 01798344576.