Celebrations for masterpiece centenary

A wealth of events will take place over the next week to mark the centenary of an author’s masterpiece set in Comet country.

It was in 1910 that E M Forster’s novel Howards End was published, set in Rooks Nest house in Stevenage. An exploration of late Victorian class relationships, it was based on Forster’s childhood memories of his time in the house and the area surrounding St Nicholas church.

To celebrate the landmark, the Friends of Forster Country, who campaign to protect the area, and the borough council have got together to provide a series of events exploring the life and works of the author.

on Friday Stevenage Museum unveils an exhibition on Forster and his links with the town which runs until November 27. And on Tuesday the museum will also host a talk by Stevenage historian Margaret Ashby about the novel and the town from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

On Saturday a workshop on the author led by Cambridge University’s Dr Adrian Barlow takes place in the council chamber at Daneshill House from 10am. The fee is �45 but the council has six free tickets for Forster enthusiasts. Email communications@stevenage.gov.uk with a short explanation of why you want to attend for a chance of winning one.

On Sunday a guided walk following in the footsteps of the author as a boy sets off from the war memorial on Bowling Green in the Old Town.

Then on Monday film critic Barry Norman introduces the 1992 film of the book at The Gordon Craig Theatre at 7.45pm.

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The book is also this year’s 1Book4Stevenage, a scheme to encourage the townsfolk to read and discuss a particular book.