Beds, Herts & Bucks

Letchworth hosts George Orwell festival

George Orwell
Image caption Novelist George Orwell gave talks on the BBC during World War II

A Hertfordshire town where George Orwell spent part of his life is hosting a festival to celebrate his work.

Letchworth is hosting a series of events until 18 September including stage adaptations of his stories.

The author spent part of his life in Wallington, a village near the town.

Richard Hallmark, festival committee chairman, said he hoped the event would be "accessible" and "involve people of all ages and interests".

The festival includes a talk by John Bird, founder and editor of the homelessness street newspaper The Big Issue, and Guardian newspaper cartoonist Steve Bell.

Orwell had a strong association with the area, leasing a cottage in the village of Wallington between 1936 and 1947.

Image caption Orwell's novel 1984 was adapted for television in the 1960s

Orwell, who died in 1950, is best known for his novels 1984 and Animal Farm.

But he was also a pioneering political journalist and cultural critic, and worked for the BBC during World War II producing talks and drama for the overseas radio service.

The festival is being organised by a team of volunteers from around Hertfordshire and, as well as stage performances and debates, will include art exhibitions and book fairs.

Mr Hallmark added: "Orwell had many passions outside of literature and politics - from country living and the natural world, to goat keeping, English cooking, real ale, and seaside postcards - all of which he wrote about.

"We want the festival to reflect the full range of his interests."

More information about the festival is available on its website.

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