War provides a rich seam for writers, and Liverpool provides a wealth of material. In the centenary year of the start of the First World War, this Bluecoat walking tour will trace some of the wartime literary settings and personal connections of Liverpool-born writers such as Beryl Bainbridge, Linda Grant and J G Farrell (the only Liverpool writer to have won the Booker Prize). It will look at how writers use war to explore themes of loyalty and betrayal, courage and cowardice, and the physical, emotional and psychological trauma that war brings.
Characters who have nothing in common are thrown together – in trenches, air raid shelters, ships and lifeboats, and stories are told of battles, sieges and wartime command centres, where people have to face onslaughts and attacks not only from the enemy but also from their comrades and sometimes themselves.
There are stories from the Front and the Home Front, from the war at sea and in the air. Poets from Wilfred Owen to Adrian Henri expose the waste and futility of war. The Battle of the Atlantic is brought alive by Nicholas Monsarrat’s heroic seamen but also by James Hanley’s less than valiant displays of human nature. Women’s experience of war is seen through the writings of Wirral writers Helen Forrester and May Sinclair, one of the first writers to write a World War One journal.
There are stories or reinvention, of secrets kept and revealed, and of hope emerging from the bitterness of loss and trauma. War & Pace provides them all and more. Led by Deborah Mulhearn.
The walk will start and finish at the Bluecoat and lasts approximately 1.5 hours.