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Prof John Charmley Inaugural Lecture

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Prof John Charmley Inaugural Lecture

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Location: Waldegrave Drawing Room, St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Prof Charmley will present 'Churchill and the art of Legend Maintenance Lecture.'

"Biography is the widest read type of history, but one which professional historians have tended to neglect. After Our Lord Jesus Christ, and perhaps Napoleon, no one has had more biographies written about him than Winston Churchill. He once said history would treat him kindly because he would write the history. He certainly wrote more books than any professional historian, and he won the Nobel Prize for literature.

"In this lecture I want to suggest that he might also be worthy of the Booker Prize for fiction. The way in which he invented himself, first as a Boys’ Own hero, and then as the Great War-leader and statesman is, in itself, quite a story, and is the subject of this inaugural."

About the speaker

Prof John Charmley joined St Mary’s University as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Academic Strategy in September 2016. He was previously at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, where he served from 1979 to 2016.

John was educated at Pembroke College Oxford, where he held a scholarship from 1974 to 1977. After achieving a First Class Honours degree in Modern History, he studied for a D.Phil. there from 1977 to 1981. He was appointed as a lecturer in English history at the University of East Anglia in 1979. He was UEA’s Director of Admissions from 1996 to 1999, and Dean of the School of History from 2002 until 2012. He was Head of the School of Music there from 2009 until 2014, and founding Head of the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities.

John has written extensively (eight books) on modern diplomatic and political history, including award winning biographies of Duff Cooper (1986) and a series of controversial studies of the appeasement era and Churchill (Chamberlain and the Lost Peace, 1989; Churchill: the end of glory (1993); Churchill’s Grand Alliance (1997), as well as studies of British diplomacy in the nineteenth century, and a history of the Conservative Party.

John has served in a wide variety of other roles, having been editor-in-chief of History, the Journal of the Historical Association from 2010 to 2014, and a Director of the Norwich Heritage, Economic & Regeneration Trust, from 2005 to 2015. He is a member of the catechetical commission of the Diocese of East Anglia, and a regular contributor to the Catholic Herald, as well as being a prolific tweeter.

As Pro Vice Chancellor of Academic Strategy, John is responsible for leading on the development and delivery of St Mary’s education strategy, which is centred around providing a portfolio of programmes which reflect our Catholic ethos and which will provide our students with a first-rate educational experience to prepare them to take their place as good citizens in our society.


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