At Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway, the National Trust are celebrating this special place’s literary connection with a summer filled with different literary events and activities. There’s an exhibition of Christie’s ‘secret’ letters to her longstanding publisher HarperCollins, events with the author of the new Poirot novels Sophie Hannah, a book club to join and more.
An audience with Sophie Hannah
Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of crime fiction and the author of the new Hercule Poirot novels. To celebrate the publication of her latest Poirot novel ‘The Mystery of Three Quarters’ Sophie will be talking about continuing Poirot’s legacy, in the Walled Garden on Tuesday 21 August. At the event, guests will be able to relax in deckchairs while Sophie shares her experiences from 3-3.45pm. Tickets are £5, available to book by calling 01803 842382 or visiting the website.
Sophie Hannah book signing
Following on from Sophie’s event in the Walled Garden, she will be heading the Greenway shop to sign copies of ‘The Mystery of Three Quarters’ from 3.45-4.30pm. Why not go along to meet the author and buy a copy of the book two days before its general release? Normal admission prices to Greenway apply.
Agatha Christie literary dinner
Dr John Curran, award-winning author of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks is hosting a book club with a twist at Greenway on Thursday 13 September from 7pm. Drinks and canapés will be followed by a tour of Greenway house, then a three course dinner and a chaired discussion of Christie’s literary works. Tickets are £100, bookable by phone or on the website.
On Saturday 15 September bunting will be adorning the Walled Garden and the team off staff and volunteers will don their best 1950s outfits as they man the traditional stalls for the Greenway fête. In the style of Dead Man’s Folly, the mystery Agatha set at Greenway, 1950s traditional fête stalls and activities will be in place, from a coconut shy to a plant stall, second-hand book stall, to games like ball in a bucket and hook a duck. Admission prices to Greenway will apply and there will be a small charge at the stalls: the money raised will be helping to care for Greenway for ever, for everyone. Pre-booking a parking space will be essential if you’re planning to travel by car: call 01803 842382 or visit the website to book.
The Greenway book club
On the evening of Thursday 27 September, Greenway will be hosting a book club. Why not pack a picnic and join us to talk about a good book in the atmospheric setting of the garden of her holiday home? The book club will be discussing the new Poirot novel ‘The Monogram Murders’ by Sophie Hannah. Even if you’ve never read the book, you can find out about it and enjoy good company in the garden. To RSVP, call 01803 842382.
Agatha Christie & Collins exhibition
In the Walled Garden is an exhibition celebrating HarperCollins’ 200th anniversary showcases ‘candid photographs’ and ‘touching letters’ unearthed from the archive, and show Christie and William or ‘Billy’ Collins, former chairman and publisher of Collins, discussing jacket designs, plots and publishing schedules. They show a relationship that lasted 50 years, until the author’s death in 1976 aged 85.
A HarperCollins spokesperson said: ‘Many of these items are featured in the exhibition, including candid photographs and often touching letters between Christie and Billy Collins that demonstrate their friendship and cover subjects such as first nights, publishing parties and the difficulty of obtaining tennis balls during the war.’
James Prichard, Christie’s great-grandson and executive chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd, said: ‘This exhibition offers a glimpse behind the public and professional image of Agatha Christie as a one-woman writing empire. She liked and respected her publisher, Billy Collins, and in time they became great friends.’
He added: ‘That relationship lasted till the end of her life and, in a way, carries on to this day, as we continue to work with the same publisher.’
The celebration of Greenway’s literary connections will continue into the autumn and winter months, with a writer-in-residence joining the team from September-November. In December, the 1950s pop-up cinema will be returning to Greenway, with Sophie Hannah curating the selection of vintage crime films being screened. To find out more and plan your visit to Greenway, call 01803 842382 or visit the website.