THE Chalfont St Giles and Jordans Literary Festival is back, including talks from historian David Starkey and author Ken Follett.

The festival runs from May 6 to 18 in the two villages and has a packed itinerary.

Ken Follett will be at Chalfont St Giles Parish Church on May 17 at 8pm with a talk called 'What were we fighting for?' His current project is his most ambitious yet.

The Century Trilogy tells the entire history of the 20th century seen through the eyes of five linked families: one American, one English, one German, one Russian and one Welsh. In his talk, Ken will read key passages from the trilogy and discuss the three great wars of the 20th century - the First World War, the Second World War and the Cold War - asking why we went to war and what, if anything, we achieved.

On Sunday, May 18 at 3pm at the church David Starkey will talk about progress on the next tranche of his biography of King Henry VIII and explore what historical discovery means in such a well-trodden field.

The festival will commemorated the centenary of the beginning of World War I.

In recognition of the fact that, for much of 1914, Europe was at peace, they have experts on Nursing and the Friends Ambulance Service and welcome Denis Moriarty to speak on British poetry, music and art of the time; as well as experts on both Researching Genealogy and Aviation of the First World War.

Author Allan Mallinson returns to talk about his book on the army and the years leading to 1914.

LiTTLe MACHiNe will perform their rendering of poetry in a modern musical style. Lance Pierson and his group 'In Voice and Verse' will help celebrate the 450th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with an evening of the Bard’s poetry, both spoken and sung.

There is a themed writing competitions for students aged between 11 and 22. They are giving first prizes in all classes of £75, second prizes of £50 and third prizes of £25. See the website for more details.

Book now to avoid disappointment. Tickets are selling fast.

For a full programme go to

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