Captain Corelli author Louis de Bernières joins Festival of Chichester

Louis de Bernires
Louis de Bernires

One of the highlights of the 2019 Festival of Chichester will be the return of the internationally acclaimed author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières.

Last year Louis talked about his novels and read his poetry at two sell-out events.

This year, Chichester audiences can catch a glimpse of another side of the writer – this time as a singer/songwriter when he performs his songs at St John’s Chapel on Thursday, June 20, starting at 7.30pm.

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith said, ‘Louis de Bernières is a man of many talents.

“When the book and film of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin went global it turned the Greek island of Cephalonia into a hugely popular tourist attraction.

“The book became a major film starring Penelope Cruz and Nicholas Cage. This year, an imaginative, highly-praised stage production is touring the country.

“His many other acclaimed books include Birds Without Wings, set in Istanbul during the decline of the Ottoman Empire.

“Louis says this is his favourite and the one he’d like to be remembered by. But his range is so wide. In Australia, he is most famous for his children’s story of Red Dog, based on a famous hitch-hiking dog who is commemorated by a statue in Karratha.

“The film is mega in Australia and the Red Dog has become a national institution! His latest book is So Much Life Left Over, which he launched at last year’s festival.

As well as writing, Louis is a dedicated musician. He plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar.

He is a multi-instrumentalist with a large collection of instruments, including several mandolins. At Chichester, he’ll be playing the guitar to accompany himself on self-penned songs such as Fallen Angel, The Man with the Blond Violin, What the Midnight is For and Lady Constancy.

“His sound is very much his own, but at times you catch glimpses of performers like Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen.”

Barry added, ‘I first met Louis through us both being featured in an anthology of poetry published in Ireland, The Stony Thursday Book. That led to an invitation for him to come to our Festival. He enjoyed the experience so much that he’s very keen to return. In fact, his father lives locally so he’s familiar with the area.

“He came to record his music almost by accident. Ben Please and Beth Porter of the Bookshop Band had asked him to play on one of their tracks and they came over to the studio at his house to do the recording.

“They accidentally overheard Louis playing one of his songs and liked it so much they not only recorded that but a whole album.

“Phil Manzanera, the guitarist with Roxy Music, said he liked the album a lot, which, according to Louis, is a bit like getting a pat on the head from the deity.”

Louis de Bernières: The Songs is on Thursday, June 20, 7.30pm, St John’s Chapel, Chichester.

Tickets are priced at £12 and are available from the Festival of Chichester box office at the Novium, 01243 816525, http://www.thenovium.org/boxoffice.

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