Venue: St Peter's Church, Oundle PE8 4AL
Time: 7.45 pm
The Oundle Festival of Literature is pleased to present:
The Last Wolf: Robert Winder
What sort of a place is England? And who are the English? As the United Kingdom turns away from its European neighbours, and begins to look increasingly disunited at home, it is becoming necessary to ask what England has that is singular and its own.
Travelling the country, Robert looks for its hidden springs not in royal pageantry or politics, but in landscape and history.
In 1290, something happened that would help shape the tamed and fertile English landscape we know today. Commanded by the King himself, a Shropshire knight named Peter Corbet killed the last wolf in England’s western shires. The impact was immediate and profound: England became a vast and wealthy sheep farm, landholding on a grand scale became possible, commercial life was transformed, and a recognizable national culture began to emerge.
Revisiting the themes of his seminal book about immigration in Britain, Bloody Foreigners, Robert Winder’s The Last Wolf travels across modern England, looking deeper into history and nature to explore the origins of modern England and Englishness. It is often assumed that a national identity must be a matter of values and ideas but, in this brilliantly written account, Winder reveals a land built on a lucky set of natural ingredients: the island setting that opened it up to itself – and the world; the rain that fed the grass that nourished the sheep that provided the wool, the wheat fields that provided its cakes and ale, and the rich seams of iron and coal that made it an industrial giant.
A fascinating attempt to find the sources of Englishness . . . Well-crafted, reflective and quite personal, The Last Wolf is also original and deeply researched — Robert McCrum, Guardian
Robert Winder was literary editor of the Independent for five years. His works of nonfiction include Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain and The Little Wonder: The Remarkable Story of Wisden and his novels include The Final Act of Mr Shakespeare.
Tickets £8 (£6), £1 off early bird tickets bought before 24th November, available from the Oundle Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle PE8 4ED.
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