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.
Please book before 4th June.