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Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Long Story Short’s first African language podcast – Presley Chweneyagae reads Sabata-Mpho Mokae’s Ga Ke Modisa

Ga Ke ModisaThe Story of Sol T. Plaatje

 
The Long Story Short initiative, launched by arts and culture entrepreneur Kgauhelo Dube, has reached yet another literary milestone – their first podcast in an African language!

In this podcast, well-known actor Presley Chweneyagae of Tsotsi fame reads an extract from Sabata-Mpho Mokae’s Setswana novel Ga Ke Modisa. In 2013, Mokae’s novel won an M-Net Literary Award in the African languages and film categories.

Listen to the reading, which was recorded earlier this year at the inaugural Rutanang Book Fair in Tlokwe, North West Province. At the time, Dube exclaimed: “We are also very excited as the talented performer Presley Chweneyagae will be reading the first Setswana story in the Long Story Short series!”

Watch the video:

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South African YouTube sensation Caspar Lee announces a book

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Caspar Lee, the South African YouTube star with a 7.6-million subscriber-base, has announced that he will be publishing a memoir.

The book, written in collaboration with the 21-year-old’s mother Emily Riordan Lee, will be published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

nullCaspar Lee will be released globally on 31 May in hardback and digital formats.

Lee was born in London, England but raised in Knysna and Durban. He now lives in London. His self-produced videos regularly get over 3-million views, and have featured Kevin Hart, Chris Pratt and Will Ferrell.

Referring to the high number of books published by famous vloggers recently, Lee joked: “I’m really pleased to be the only YouTuber who has published a book in the last couple of years … oh wait.”

He added: “In all seriousness it’s been so interesting to hear about all the things my family went through when we were living in South Africa but that I wasn’t aware of because I was too young. Thanks so much to my mum for capturing my life story so far and to everyone who has gotten me to this point.”

Watch the video announcement:

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A limited number of signed copies are available for pre-order from Waterstones in the UK, but Lee’s fans managed to overload the site within minutes of the announcement:


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‘Stories allow us to be more than we are’ – watch Lauren Beukes’s TEDxJohannesburg Talk

MaverickMoxylandZoo City (SA edition)The Shining GirlsBroken Monsters

 
For those of you who missed Lauren Beukes’s TEDxJohannesburg talk last year, the video is now available to watch on YouTube.

The talk is about the power of reading and the transportive nature of stories.

“When we read it’s seen as an insular activity, you’re going into yourself, you’re being antisocial,” Beukes says, “but what you’re doing is engaging with other ideas and other people and other minds.”

She calls stories “the most incredible form of telepathy”, and adds: “The reason I write stories is because stories allow us to be more than we are.”

Watch the video:

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Lauren writes stories for a living. In her own household, in fact, stories are sacred. So sacred that she would go just about anywhere to find the best of them. Recent escapades include hanging out with a vodou priest in the depths of Port-au-Prince in Haiti, or spending time with a colourful range of locals amidst the ruin porn of a decaying Detroit, and going shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed and tense refugee shelter in downtown Johannesburg. All of this in an effort to go beyond the cliche and to get underneath the skin. Amongst the rewards, she says, is the possibility of gaining a perspective that you wouldn’t otherwise come up with on your own. In this talk, delivered at TEDxJohannesburg 2015, Lauren takes us on a dizzying trip into her world. In the process, she gives us an enlightening glimpse of the mind of a wonder woman writer at the height of her powers.

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‘Medicine is my wife and writing my mistress, I love them both’ – Coconut author Kopano Matlwa Mabaso featured on 21 Icons

CoconutSpilt Milk21 Icons

 

I love writing. I write because I need to, because it sustains and energises me. Writing allows me to do everything else that I do. – Kopano Matlwa Mabaso

Kopano Matlwa Mabaso was recently featured as the 18th icon in the shortfilm series 21 Icons.

At just 30 years old, Matlwa Mabaso is a medical doctor and the author of the critically acclaimed novels Coconut and Spilt Milk. She is currently pursuing a PhD in public health at the University of Oxford, and is working on her third novel.

“My favourite quote is by Anton Checkhov who says, ‘Medicine is my wife and writing my mistress’, and that makes complete sense to me,” she says. “I love them both.”

Matlwa Mabaso says as a child she wanted to be an astronaut, a writer, a doctor, a magazine editor and coffee shop owner, but eventually realised she would have to choose one. She chose medicine, but says she only succeeded in that field because of writing.

“As a doctor you have the unique privilege of listening to people’s stories and I care deeply about people’s stories,” she says. “I think being a young person and trying to make sense of that, writing helped me cope, so I thank writing for finishing medicine.

“My discomfort provoked me to write. I was growing up in post-apartheid South Africa trying to figure out who I am, and what was considered to be good was everything that was considered white. What does it mean to be black, African and female in the new South Africa, and who decides?”

From 21 Icons:

Pretoria-born Matlwa Mabaso was just nine years old when South Africa birthed its democracy in 1994. In her debut novel, Coconut, published in 2006, she writes about her experience growing up as a young black girl in the new South Africa and the complexities associated with finding a sense of belonging.

Labelled a “Coconut”, a South African stereotype regarded a slur, she tells Van Wyk how the novel unpacks what it means to be young, black and beautiful in the new South Africa, where fitting in can be at the cost of one’s own identity.

“I write about things that I find difficult. Coconut began when I was in high school, trying to figure out my own identity and often what was considered to be good was everything white and the challenge of finding a place and meaning as a black young South African. Spilt Milk came from grappling with the South Africa that I live in – I write about what bugs me,” she says.

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Image: 21 Icons

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Sunday Read: ‘The Bastard’ by Patrick deWitt (Plus: a Single Sentence Animation of the story)

Patrick DeWitt

 
This week, Electric Literature has as its recommended read a short story by Patrick DeWitt: “The Bastard”, which is uncollected and previously unavailable online!

DeWitt, who visited South Africa for the Open Book Festival in 2013, is the author of Ablutions, the critically acclaimed, Man Booker Prize shortlisted The Sisters Brothers and, most recently, Undermajordomo Minor, which has been described as “a kind of uproariously perverted fairy tale” and deliberation on unrequited love.

In an interview about his most recent novel with The Globe and Mail, DeWitt said: “One of the nice things about writing is you can take essentially painful things in your life and turn them into something that might be useful, or at least entertaining, to somebody else.”

AblutionsThe Sisters BrothersUndermajordomo Minor

 

“The Bastard” was featured as an Electric Literature Single Sentence Animation; take a look before you start the story:

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Read the story:

The Bastard approached the farmhouse on foot, a leather satchel in one hand and a long stick of pine in the other. The sun had dropped behind the mountains, and the heavy evening cold came hurrying into the valley. He watched the smoke spinning from the stone chimney and felt a passionate loathing for every living thing; he spit a slug of mucous over his shoulder and muttered the third-rudest word he knew. Shaking this feeling away, or secreting it, he stepped up the walk to the front door where he was met by the farmer, red-nosed Wilson, who spoke before the Bastard could open his mouth: “There’s no work for you here, not even half a day.” This was just the opposite of what the Bastard had hoped to hear, and it took no small effort to conceal his disappointment, but his recovery was swift, and without a moment wasted he launched into his performance. “You misunderstand me, sir. I am merely passing by and was hopeful for a bed of hay to lie down upon. I have my own food to eat, and shall require nothing from your household other than a splash of water in the morning, but then I will be on my way, and you will hear nothing of me for the rest of your days. Of course, I will be sure and make comments to all those I pass on my way out of town regarding the good farmer Wilson’s hospitality, his generosity, his sympathy for those working to make their way in life. Mark my words, they will learn all about it!” Wilson was caught off guard by the stranger’s speech, and he shifted back and forth in his boots, scratching his eye—the actual eyeball, which itched devilishly and was forever bloodshot. “How’d you know my name?” he asked.

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Renate Stuurman Reads “The F Word”, a Story by Zukiswa Wanner, at the 7th Long Story Short Event

London – Cape Town – JoburgRefilweMen of the SouthBehind Every Successful ManThe Madams

 
The seventh Long Story Short podcast was recorded recently, and features Renate Stuurman reading Zukiswa Wanner’s short story “The F Word”.

The event took place at the Sunnyside Community Library and art hub U-The Space in Pretoria.

The Long Story Short initiative, launched by arts and culture entrepreneur Kgauhelo Dube, features an actor reading a short story or excerpt from a novel by an African writer at a public event, followed by a discussion. The readings will then be packaged into literary podcasts for mobile and online platforms.

“The F Word” works perfectly as a story in itself, but is in fact an excerpt from Wanner’s most recent novel, London – Cape Town – Joburg.

Watch the video, and view more recordings below:

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View a Facebook album from the event:

These gorgeous pictures taken by Reatile Moalusi!

Posted by Long story SHORT – african literature goes digital on Thursday, 17 September 2015

 

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Watch the Trailer for the Film Adaptation of Cynthia Jele’s Happiness is a Four-Letter Word – Out in February

 
Happiness is a Four-Letter WordLocal movie buffs rejoice! The film adaptation of Cynthia Jele’s debut novel Happiness is a Four-Letter Word is set to be released on 19 February, 2016.

Happiness is a Four-Letter Word was published by Kwela, an imprint of NB Publishers, in 2010 and received the M-Net Literary Award in the Film category in 2011. The film rights were acquired by producer Bongi Selane in 2013 and filming was well underway by August this year.

Starring Khanyi Mbau, Mmabatho Montsho, Renate Stuurman, Tongayi Chirisa, Chris Attoh, Hlomla Dandala and Terence Bridgett, and directed by Thabang Moleya, Happiness is a Four-Letter Word is the story of a group of friends living it up in Jozi, trying to find what makes them happy and fighting for it. The novel was adapted by Busisiwe Ntilintili, with input by Jele.

 

Nandi, Zaza, Tumi and Princess are four ordinary friends living life in the fast and fabulous lanes of Joburg. Suddenly, no amount of cocktails can cure the stress that simultaneously unsettles their lives. Nandi’s final wedding arrangements are nearly in place so why is she feeling on edge?

Zaza, the “trophy wife”, waits for the day her affair comes to light and her husband gives her a one-way ticket back to the township; Tumi has only one wish to complete her perfect life – a child. But when her wish is granted, it’s not exactly how she pictured it. And Princess? For the first time ever, she has fallen in love – with Leo, a painter who seems to press all the right buttons. But soon she discovers – like her friends already have – that life is not a bed of roses, and happiness never comes with a manual …

The trailer has just been released, and it’s sizzling with drama, wit and romance. For more information and behind the scenes action, follow Happiness is a Four-Letter Word on Facebook and Twitter.

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“Black Rage, White Tears” – Eusebius McKaiser Drops Run Racist Run Truth Bombs at Oxford University (Video)

Cover Reveal: The New Book from Eusebius McKaiser

 

Run Racist RunCould I Vote DA?DA of nie?A Bantu in My Bathroom

 
The Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Oxford, in association with the Oxford University Africa Society and the Oxford Pan-Afrikan Forum (OXPAF), recently invited Eusebius McKaiser to address students and faculty members about the issue of racism in South Africa. McKaiser spoke about the important themes and issues of race which he interrogates in his latest book, Run Racist Run: Journeys Into The Heart Of Racism.

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, son of EFF chairperson Dali Mpofu and recent Oxford graduate, introduced McKaiser and described Run Racist Run as “an odyssey into the heart of racism in South Africa”. Mpofu-Walsh, who was instrumental in bringing the #RhodesMustFall movement to Oxford, said in his introduction:

“Tonight is about shifting the debate in Oxford. Some people seem surprised that race exists at Oxford and there seem to be very few opportunities to engage critically with that topic.” He said that there is “no one better possibly in the world at this moment in time to engage with us about how the complexities of race have affected places like South Africa” than McKaiser.

McKaiser spoke about the topic “Black Rage, White Tears” and encouraged the audience to engage in the conversation. In his speech, the author addressed the 2015 student protests in South Africa, black anger, identity politics and the myth of white excellence.

“The events that have happened in South Africa this year demand the attention of writers,” McKaiser said in his introduction. “I couldn’t pretend that the stench of racism is not part of my experience in South Africa as a black South African and as a writer.”

Rhodes Must Fall – from Cape Town to Oxford
 
“It was very clear to me that the student protests were not narrowly about curricular change, changing the demographics of the staff that are teaching, but are fundamentally tied up with exclusion in South Africa in general and also internationally, which is why you’ve seen similar kinds of protests and conversations happening – variations on the theme in other parts of the world like in North America.

“It’s not fundamentally about university space. I think universities in South Africa are microcosms of the structural injustices that people are experiencing in society in general, and although the particular fights in our universities might focus on a particular issue – such as where are the black female professors at UCT? Why are we teaching dead, white philosophers at Wits University’s Philosophy Department but you won’t see black people on the curriculum? – those may be the particular points on the agenda but actually the larger context of those fights is that they are intimately connected to the structural injustices of our society in general.

“I think in that context to see the protesters as just a ‘bunch of naughty students’ who are doing something on the side and will grow up when they graduate, is to really miss this very important moment in South Africa’s history.”

McKaiser said that 2015 has been the most exciting and most important year we’ve had politically since 1994. “I think it’s going to be a game changer and I think in 10, 15 year’s time we’ll still feel the same about what’s happened this year.”

McKaiser said that the student protests have made many question what they were doing in their time at university: “We applied for fancy things like the Rhodes scholarship … and we applied for those things based on being the coolest kids on our campuses who cared deeply about social justice.” He said that we were not half as conscious as students today: “We were co-conspirators in perpetuating some of the structural violence that happens in places including at Oxford where year in and year out some of us, who thought we are very different creatures, were happy to toast to the founder for his great adventures into Africa.”

Does Anger Have any Moral Value in the Decolonisation Movement?
 
In his speech, McKaiser aimed to debunk the myth that anger is a “marker of irrationality” or “not being in control of a conversation”.

“One reason why anger is very important is quite simply because certain moral emotions when you feel them are a social indicator that something is sick in your society. Something is broken. If you don’t ever experience affective states, emotions, then I think, as with someone who doesn’t feel pain, you’ll never become aware of when your body is ill or when your society is actually ill.

“I think intellectually, without feeling, it is possible to know that there is something unjust in society like South Africa because the facts can tell you that. So, feeling emotion and exhibiting emotion are not necessary criteria for knowing there’s injustice in South Africa but they are darn useful ways of knowing that something is wrong with your society.”

McKaiser continued: “The experience of anger is a necessary part of knowing that you are experiencing something that is morally and socially warped about the country in which you live. And so the expectation that there will never be emotions running high when you talk about racism, when you talk about what racism does to you, that is someone who’s in deep denial about how morally sick a society is and how it affects people who actually have to be the ones experiencing the brunt of that racism in their society.”

McKaiser said that factoring anger out of the equation makes you a bystander of injustice. “There’s a motivating power that getting angry has in bringing about change.”

Identity Politics

In the next part of his speech, McKaiser pushed back against people, white men in particular, who’ve launched spurious criticism of “identity politics”. McKaiser reflected on the assumption that some people can’t be heard because of their position in society, or that their views are regarded as “stupid and offensive” because of social facts about themselves.

One underlying assumption is that people who get angry cannot debate rationally on decolonisation against people who are calm – “which of course is rubbish”. McKaiser spoke about the articles which have similar themes based on caricatures of what identity politics is about.

“The first claim that they make is that an inherent danger of identity politics is that you essentialise race categories. So, being black becomes some incredibly mythical, metaphysical property, and you make it seem as if people have essences – there is some essential notion of what it means to be black, what it means to be white. So that’s one gripe.

“A second gripe they have is that the right to speech is unfairly being limited, just in virtue of someone’s positionality. So literally a few of these guys have said, they feel as white South African men, they’re not allowed to disagree with someone who reports on their black pain because allegedly, as a result of identity politics, anyone who reports on their subject of experiences cannot be challenged.”

“The question is, are those fair criticisms of the way in which identities are being asserted by young people, by black people, by women and all the intersectional politics that we seek?”

Before opening the floor for discussion, McKaiser said: “If you are callous about black pain, as some of the columnists are in South Africa, some of the senior white opposition MPs are, if you’re callous about black pain, if you caricature the nature of identity politics and how it plays out, if you don’t want to have an honest conversation about the nature of unearned privilege and how it operates in society – it is very, very important that we understand when people are trying to sidestep that debate by pretending that you are asking them to shut up. No one is asking you if you are a heterosexual white male to shut up; that would be to deny your right to speech.”

What followed was a lively discussion on the points McKaiser made in his opening remarks.

Watch the video:

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  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
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Sunday Read: Read and Listen to Excerpts from Stephen King’s New Short Story Collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

 
The Bazaar of Bad DreamsStephen King’s latest book, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, has just been released.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a collection of short stories, some brand new and some previously published in magazines and all with an introduction by King explaining when, why and how he crafted each story. It offers a fascinating insight into the mind of a master storyteller.

Watch the book trailer:

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The unabridged audiobook edition of the The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is read by Stephen King himself, as well as a talented collection of voice artists.

King has shared audio excerpts from his book on his website. Listen to King reading his introduction to “Premium Harmony”, followed by a reading of the story by Will Patton:


 
Scribner Magazine has shared the text version of King’s introduction to the story:

My mother had a saying for every occasion. (“And Steve remembers them all,” I can hear my wife, Tabitha, say, with an accompanying roll of her eyes.)

One of her favorites was “Milk always takes the flavor of what it sits next to in the icebox.” I don’t know if that’s true about milk, but it’s certainly true when it comes to the stylistic development of young writers. When I was a young man, I wrote like H. P. Lovecraft when I was reading Lovecraft, and like Ross Macdonald when I was reading the adventures of PI Lew Archer.

Stylistic copying eventually wanes. Little by little, writers develop their own styles, each as unique as a €ngerprint. Traces of the writers one reads in one’s formative years remain, but the rhythm of each writer’s thoughts—an expression of his or her very brainwaves, I think—eventually becomes dominant.

 
The New Yorker featured “Premium Harmony” in 2011. Read the story:

“And pull in at the Quik-Pik,” she says. “I want to get a kickball for Tallie’s birthday.” Tallie is her brother’s little girl. Ray supposes that makes her his niece, although he’s not sure that’s right, since all the blood is on Mary’s side.

“They have balls at Wal-Mart,” Ray says. “And everything’s cheaper at Wally World.”

“The ones at Quik-Pik are purple. Purple is her favorite color. I can’t be sure there’ll be purple at Wal-Mart.”

“If there aren’t, we’ll stop at the Quik-Pik on the way back.” He feels a great weight pressing down on his head. She’ll get her way. She always does on things like this. He sometimes thinks marriage is like a football game and he’s quarterbacking the underdog team. He has to pick his spots. Make short passes.

 

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Image of Stephen King courtesy of whatculture.com


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Sunday Read: Meet the Real Lady in the Van and Listen to an Excerpt from Maggie Smith: A Biography

 
Maggie SmithThe Lady in the Van: The Complete EditionIn 1974 an elderly and eccentric Miss Mary Shepherd parked her van in writer Alan Bennett’s driveway in Camden Town, where she remained until her death 15 years later.

Bennett and Miss Shepherd had a peculiar bond. In his diary in the London Review of Books, Bennett writes of their first encounter when she coaxed him into pushing her van to Albany Street. The experience left him with the unsettling feeling that “one seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation”.

Yet Bennett invited Miss Shepherd to stay, another “good turn” she would not admit to being grateful for. “To have allowed herself to feel in the least bit grateful would have been a chink in her necessary armour, braced as she always was against the world,” Bennett writes in his definitive work on Miss Shepherd, The Lady in the Van: The Complete Edition.

During their 15 years together the writer observed Miss Shepherd, and in 1999 Dame Maggie Smith portrayed her in the hit West End play, The Lady in the Van. The film by the same name, and with Smith in the lead once again, was released in the United Kingdom on 13 November, and will come to South Africa in December this year.

Read an excerpt from Bennett’s diary, in which he remembers their first encounters:

She must have prevailed on me to push the van as far as Albany Street, though I recall nothing of the exchange. What I do remember as I trundled the van across Gloucester Bridge was being overtaken by two policemen in a panda car and thinking that, as the van was certainly holding up the traffic, they might have leant a hand. They were wiser than I knew. The other feature of this first run-in with Miss Shepherd was her driving technique. Scarcely had I put my shoulder to the back of the van, an old Bedford, than a long arm was stretched elegantly out of the driver’s window to indicate in textbook fashion that she (or rather I) was moving off. A few yards further on, as we were about to turn into Albany Street, the arm emerged again, twirling elaborately in the air to indicate that we were branching left, the movement done with such boneless grace that this section of the Highway Code might have been choreographed by Petipa with Ulanova at the wheel. Her ‘I am coming to a halt’ was less poised as she had plainly not expected me to give up pushing and shouted angrily back that it was the other end of Albany Street she wanted, a mile further on. But I had had enough by this time and left her there with no thanks for my trouble. Far from it. She even climbed out of the van and came running after me, shouting that I had no business abandoning her, so that passers-by looked at me as if I had done some injury to this pathetic scarecrow. ‘Some people!’ I suppose I thought, feeling foolish that I’d been taken for a ride (or taken her for one) and cross that I’d fared worse than if I’d never lifted a finger, these mixed feelings to be the invariable aftermath of any transaction involving Miss Shepherd. One seldom was able to do her a good turn without some thoughts of strangulation.

The Guardian has selected extracts from Bennett’s The Lady in the Van: The Complete Edition, with touching illustrations by David Gentleman.

In the article, Bennett reflects on why he invited Miss Shepherd to park her van in his driveway that day, the making of the film and the fine line between the two Alan Bennetts as both observing writer and participating character.

Read the extract:

It’s now over a quarter of a century since Miss Shepherd died, but hearing a van door slide shut will still take me back to the time when she was in the garden. For Marcel, the narrator in Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, the sound that took him back was that of the gate of his aunt’s idyllic garden; with me it’s the door of a broken down Commer van. The discrepancy is depressing, but then most writers discover quite early on that they’re not going to be Proust. Besides, I couldn’t have heard my own garden gate because in order to deaden the (to her) irritating noise, Miss Shepherd had insisted on me putting a piece of chewing gum on the latch.

 
Watch the trailer for The Lady in the Van:

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Smith is captivating in her poignant portrayal of a vagrant woman who’s touched the life and imagination of a brilliant but self-deprecating writer.

Bennett and Smith were both born in 1934 and have walked a long road together on stage and off, as readers will note in Michael Coveney’s Maggie Smith: A Biography.

In an interview with The Telegraph for his 80th birthday, Bennett recalls attending another 80th back in 1997 with Smith:

In a diary entry for February 1997, published in his memoir collection Untold Stories, Alan Bennett describes an 80th birthday party for the stage designer Jocelyn Herbert at the Royal College of Art. The place is packed.
 
“I sit on a sofa with Alan Bates and Maggie Smith,” he writes, “thinking that no one would ever arrange such a do for me or get so many people to come. I turn to Maggie and she says: ‘Don’t say it. I know. I don’t think I could even fill the kitchen.’”

Bennett sets the scene, Smith steals it.

Listen to an audio extract from Maggie Smith: A Biography, read by Welsh actress Siân Thomas (Amelia Bones in Harry Potter:

 

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Image courtesy of The Telegraph


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