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New president for Lit and Phil

New Lit & Phil President, Martin Stannard of the School of English, takes over from Jean Humphreys, Distinguished Honorary Fellow of the University. Also present is Councillor Colin Hall, Lord Mayor of Leicester.

New president for Lit and Phil

Martin Stannard to assume presidency at event on 4 October

Issued on 30 September 2010

The author of the recent, acclaimed biography of Muriel Spark, the Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Leicester, is to be the next President of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society.

Professor Martin Stannard will launch his presidency in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Leicester with an inaugural lecture on Monday 4th October at 7.30pm in the Main Gallery of Leicester’s New Walk Museum.

This talk, entitled ‘Open Secrets’ and illustrated with photographs, will reveal the novelist Graham Greene’s strange determination to introduce Evelyn Waugh to his (Greene’s) lover, Catherine Walston, a married woman with five children, and will discuss the way in which Greene cruelly pilloried her husband in The End of the Affair (1951).

Excerpts from tapes of Professor Stannard’s unpublished interviews with Henry Walston will be played, and the event will be followed by a social gathering.

Those wishing to become members or who just want to find out more about the Society are welcome to contact the Membership Secretaries on:

Martin Stannard is keen to raise the profile of the society and particularly to attract more students from the City’s two universities. He commented: “I want more people to know about the Lit & Phil and to feel welcome to join. It’s been going strong for 175 years and remains a lively open forum in which to debate the latest ideas in the Humanities and Sciences.

“Every fortnight during the season we host a distinguished speaker who answers questions after the talk. And it’s a great social venue, too, with refreshments supplied afterwards.

“The Lit. and Phil. is one of Leicester’s greatest cultural assets, and the more people who contribute, the richer it will be. Everyone is welcome to attend, and if they wish to do so, to contribute to the management. People can either join for the year or just come along for individual talks and pay on the door for that event.”

Professor Tim O'Sullivan, Dean of Humanities at De Montfort University, said: "The Lit & Phil is a fantastic local resource to be highly recommended to our students and staff who can access these lectures on such a wide range of topics from Graham Greene to stagecraft so close to campus."

Membership of the Society is a bargain at £12.50 a year (£5.00 for students) for twelve events, and the fortnightly meetings are all held in the Main Gallery of New Walk Museum, a room crowded with wonderful paintings.

Forthcoming talks are on a variety of subjects: volcanoes, Dickens and the Gentle Military Man, the Stanislavsky tradition of acting, the air we breathe, the future of the BBC, the financial crisis, the London Olympics, Astrophysics and the story of Rutland Water, among others. There will also be a social evening with a recital by the Cecilian Singers.

Recent speakers have included Sir David Attenborough; Lord Attenborough; Lady Archer; Sir Neil Cossons, Former Chairman of English Heritage; Baron Oxburgh; Professor Richard Hoggart; P.D. James; the Astronaut Helen Sharman; Lars Tharp; Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Harry Kroto; Sir Ghillean Prance of the Eden Project and Kew; Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, the Rector of the Royal College of Art; and Sir Peter Williams, Treasurer of the Royal Society and Chancellor of the University of Leicester.

For more details, including dates of events, please see the website

Notes to Editors: Further details are available from Professor Martin Stannard, tel 0116 252 2621, email


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