Students Staff

19 February 2013

Celebrating Ronald Blythe

Picture of Dr Ronald Blythe

Essex academics are celebrating the career of Dr Ronald Blythe in a day of talks, readings, films and music, reflecting one of the greatest essayists, poets, and novelists of this century, and the last.

Celebrating his 90th birthday, Dr Ronald Blythe who is well known for his classic book, Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village, has made films for the BBC and regularly contributes to a long-running column, Word from Wormingford, in the Church Times.

Former editor of Penguin Classics for more than 20 years, Dr Blythe has been named ‘England’s greatest living country writer’ by The Independent in 2012 and has also worked with Benjamin Britten at the Aldeburgh Festival. He continues to live, preach and work in rural Essex.

Celebrations will see contributions from naturalist, author and Honorary Graduate Richard Mabey, Dr James Canton, and Dr Marina Warner from the Department of Literature, Film, and, Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. There will also be music from the Aldeburgh Festival’s resident Quartet, films from the BBC archives, poetry inspired by the river Stour’s rich artistic history and the day will be chaired by Lord Phillips of Sudbury. Dr Blythe himself will also be joining the celebrations and will contribute throughout the day.

Held at St James’ Church, Nayland on Saturday 9 March, tickets for the event are £10.00 and are valid for all sessions, all day from 11am – 8pm. To book tickets and find out more, visit:

The Celebration is part of a Heritage Lottery-funded project, ‘Managing a Masterpiece’ which is designed to highlight the rich history of artists who have lived and worked in Stour Valley. The full programme can be seen at:

Notes to Editors

For more information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 874471, e-mail:

A high resolution picture of Dr Blythe can be downloaded at:

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