Department of History

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University features at Charleston Festival

The University of Sussex is to feature in two major events at the annual Charleston Festival this summer (25 May-3 June).

Expect a memorable meeting of minds on Thursday 31 May, when Sussex graduate and prize-winning writer Ian McEwan will be in conversation with the distinguished historian Lord (Asa) Briggs.

Before his academic career, which encompassed the Vice-Chancellorship of the University of Sussex (1967-76), Lord Briggs was a cryptographer during the Second World War. He worked at Bletchley Park alongside code-breaker Alan Turing, deciphering messages from the German army’s Enigma machines.

Ian McEwan, who studied English at Sussex from 1967-70, has a long-standing fascination with code-breaking and subterfuge. His play, The Imitation Game, dramatises these interests.

You can go right back to the 19th century on Sunday 3 June, when the University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, will be chairing a discussion with biographer Claire Tomalin. Her acclaimed study of the life and work of Charles Dickens was published to mark the 200th anniversary this year of the novelist’s birth.

Tickets for both events cost £13. For more information and to book festival events, see

Charleston, near Firle in East Sussex, was the 20th-century home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and a country meeting place for the writers, painters and thinkers known as the Bloomsbury Group. It is now a small museum and holds an annual literary festival, now in its 23rd year.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Friday, 9 March 2012