Join actor, comedian, writer and TV presenter Michael Palin as he talks about his new book Great Uncle Harry, a compelling tale of war and empire.
Some years ago a stash of family records was handed down to Michael Palin, among which were photos of an enigmatic young man in army uniform, as well as photos of the same young man as a teenager looking uncomfortable at family gatherings. This, Michael learnt, was his Great-Uncle Harry, born in 1884, died in 1916. He had previously had no idea that he had a Great-Uncle Harry, much less that his life was cut short at the age of 32 when he was killed in the Battle of the Somme. The discovery both shocked him and made him want to know much more about him.
The quest that followed involved hundreds of hours of painstaking detective work. Michael dug out every bit of family gossip and correspondence he could. He studied every relevant official document. He tracked down what remained of his great-uncle Harry’s diaries and letters, and pored over photographs of First World War battle scenes to see whether Harry appeared in any of them. He walked the route Harry took on that fatal, final day of his life amid the mud of northern France. And as he did so, a life that had previously existed in the shadows was revealed to him.
Great-Uncle Harry is an utterly compelling account of an ordinary man who led an extraordinary life. A blend of biography, history, travelogue and personal memoir this is Michael Palin at his very finest. We are thrilled to be hosting this event with Michael in the magnificent setting of Chester Cathedral.
Michael Palin has written and starred in numerous TV programmes and films, from Monty Python and Ripping Yarns to The Missionary and The Death of Stalin. He has also made several much-acclaimed travel documentaries, his journeys taking him to the North and South Poles, the Sahara Desert, the Himalayas, Eastern Europe and Brazil. His books include accounts of his journeys, novels (Hemingway’s Chair and The Truth) and several volumes of diaries. He received a BAFTA fellowship in 2013 and a knighthood in the 2019 New Year Honours list.
Tickets: £35 (admits 1, includes a copy of Great-Uncle Harry) or £20 (admits 1)