The Barbara Pym Society Spring Meeting

I’m delighted to be able to announce the details of the Barbara Pym Society’s 2022 Spring Meeting in London.

As some of you will be aware, our usual venue had difficulties during lockdown and we felt we could not use it this year. As a one-off special event, and in recognition of this year’s centenary of the birth of Barbara Pym’s great friend Philip Larkin, we are holding this year’s meeting at the University Women’s Club in Mayfair on Saturday 30th April at 3pm (exact time to be confirmed). We will be joined for this event by members of the Larkin Society.

The programme will consist of a performance of “We Used To Correspond”, an adaptation by Triona Adams of the letters of Barbara Pym and Philip Larkin. Those who have not heard the letters read before will find them both humorous and poignant. Those who have heard them before will be sure to wish to hear them again.

The role of Barbara Pym will be read by Triona herself, and the role of Philip Larkin by popular TV actor Ben Willbond. The basic ticket price is £20. After the performance, which lasts about an hour, there will be an opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea at the UWC, at an additional cost of £22 per head, which will also give the audience an opportunity to meet the actors informally.

We expect this event to be very popular. If you would like to attend and are able to pay by bank transfer, it would be very helpful to the society. Please e-mail chair@barbara-pym.org to reserve your place and indicate whether you would also like afternoon tea. We will then get back to you with further details of how to pay. If you are unable to pay by bank transfer, please contact Lorraine Mepham (l.mepham@lineone.net, or Midholme, Salisbury Road, Netheravon, Wiltshire SP4 9RQ.

NOTE: Please be aware that the room where the event will be held is on the first floor and unfortunately there is no direct lift access.

Best regards 

Deb Fisher Chair,
Barbara Pym Society

PLS AGM Saturday 11th June 2022

We look forward  to welcoming you to King Henry VIII School in Coventry for what promises to be a lovely, Larkin-filled day out on the occasion of The Philip Larkin Society Annual General Meeting. Morning events are for members only and their guests at the subsidised cost of £15 each. Afternoon events are open to the public and free of charge.

In the morning, at 10.30 am, Helen Cooper (School Librarian & Archivist) will be offering a tour of the school for those interested in seeing the place where Larkin was educated. The school history dates from its foundation in 1545 and there are artefacts dating back that far on display in the School Archive. Morning coffee will be served at 11.30 am and the AGM itself will take place at 12 noon in the Philip Larkin Room, which was opened in 2002. Following the business meeting, a buffet lunch will be provided.

After lunch, our Annual Distinguished Guest Lecture will be given by Dr Philip Pullen, a trustee of the Philip Larkin Society and Chair of Larkin100. Philip’s talk, “I Remember, I Remember: the Coventry Larkin grew up in”,   will concentrate on Larkin’s childhood and teenage years in the City of Coventry and will draw on aspects of the  Larkin Archive, including some previously unseen and uncatalogued material. What was it like to grow up in Coventry in the 1920s and 30s? What effects did Larkin’s experiences of school and family life have on him? And to what extent did Coventry remain part of his literary consciousness?

There will then be a presentation by Dr Ben Kyneswood of Coventry University who has been the Digital Archivist for Coventry City of Culture and who has developed a Digital version of Coventry’s Larkin Trail (originally created by Don Lee).

Afternoon Tea will be served at 3.30pm before the day concludes with a talk by another former  pupil of the school, the novelist Peter Ho Davies, who teaches in the Helen Zell Master of Fine Arts Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. Peter’s latest novel A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself was one of the New York Times’ notable books of 2021. Peter will be talking about the writer’s invisible art of revision, calling on examples from life, literature and pop culture, to suggest how revision – re-seeing – is all around us (not least in the simultaneous renewal and reappraisal of Coventry during City of Culture year) informing our experiences of time and change.

You can book online by clicking here or by completing the booking form and returning it via email or post.

Please book before 4th June.