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A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That is a typical slice of discussion at Gladstone's Library. A wonderful compendium of thoughts starting with bestselling novelist Salley Vickers whose works include the international word-of-mouth bestseller Miss Garnet's Angel which became a favourite among book clubs and reading groups. Salley will introduce and read from her eagerly-anticipated new novel, Cousins, which follows three generations of the Tye family as they are forced to come to terms with the true nature of inheritance - both genetic and behavioural.
John McEllhenney and Susan Fogarty explore the doubting-belief of the great Welsh poet R.S. Thomas, an Anglican vicar who wrestled ceaselessly with problems of faith and doubt in his poetry. John McEllhenney draws on his conversations and correspondence with the poet.
It is not too much of a leap from R.S. Thomas to Peter Francis' talk about Honest Faith - claiming that no supernatural beliefs are true and presenting Christianity as a rational philosophy of life. For him and many others, Christianity is a form of utopian religious humanism.
There is a significant Victorian slant to the weekend as well with Chair of Gladstone's Library Michael Wheeler presenting Florence Nightingale as a great reformer, the founder of modern nursing and a noted liberal Christian.
Louisa Yates talks reading, journeying through Gladstone's Literary Life by imagining his typical week. She addresses how such a busy man could possibly have read the 22,000 books he noted in his diaries.
The weekend concludes with a discussion about 'liberal values' in which Michael Wheeler and Peter Francis ask whether the word 'liberal' still has any meaning in the contemporary world.
A fascinating weekend!
Residential prices start from £202, non-residential from £150. Discount rates for clergy and students apply.