Browning Institute Plans/Controversy Over Dahl – Poetry News Roundup April 8th

We begin the week with a look at the plans for the Barrett Browning Institute and the controversy over a description of Roald Dahl’s Twits.

Restoration Plans For Barrett Browning Institute Under Way

A boost from the National Lottery Fund of £98,640 has been awarded to Ledbury Poetry. This money will be used to take the first steps in the restoration project of the Barrett Browning Institute (BBI) which is one of the most famous buildings in the town of Ledbury.

The funding will also  be used to help the Ledbury Poetry House to carry out all the work that will allow them to open on a more regular basis, including offering formal staff training and carrying out a range of audits. They are hoping that putting these measures in place will help them in a bid for more money for restoration works which they will place with the NLHF and Historic England.

The building itself is a commemoration to Elizabeth Barrett Browing. The poet lived in the town and is its most celebrated resident. Ledbury Poetry not only run the Institute but are also responsible for the annual Ledbury Poetry Festival. The festival, which is now in its 28th year, is widely considered to be the largest celebration of poetry, and also the most international celebration of the spoken word to take place anywhere in Britain, making it the UK home of poetry.

Having a proper, permanent home will allow the Ledbury Festival committee to help the festival grow even more over the next couple of years and expand their activities to cover more of the year.

DJ Forced to Apologise over Roald Dahl Inspired Character Comments

Earlier this week, it was announced that a new book commissioned by the Roald Dahl Story Company and co written by former newsreader Chris Smith and DJ Greg James would be released shortly. The book “The Twits Nex Door” is, of course, based on Dahl’s original characters.

During an interview to discuss the upcoming release of the book, the authors were discussing ways in which the characters could be made to appear more revolting, and the suggestion of a glass eye was met with approval. The pair have since taken to social media to apologise and have explained that the idea of a glass eye was intended as a homage to a scene with a glass of beer made famous in the original books.

Both Royal National Institute of Blind People and Scope have said


And have suggested that the pair could do much by helping to champion disability in their writing.

James and Smith are just two of the authors who have been chosen to help write a new series of books based on Dahl’s classic characters. Other names include Konnie Huq and the comedian Adam Hills.

The move comes following the 2021 purchase by Netflix of the rights to children’s books by Dahl. This gives them ultimate control over the publishing and TV rights to his stories.

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