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Marie in the Margins

Hastings Book Festival, in partnership with Explore the Arch and Bexhill Museum, is delighted to present a short season of talks to accompany a remarkable video installation inspired by the pioneering life and work of Marie de France, the first known female writer of "adventure stories"

One of the earliest known female writers, twelfth-century adventure author Dame Marie, lived in a rapidly changing historical period partly triggered by successive waves of migration across the channel to England after the Norman conquest of 1066.

Dame Marie pioneered an innovative writing style. Her adventure stories (known as "lais") are short narrative poems, notable for their celebration of love, individuality of character, and vividness of description, hallmarks of the emerging literature of the times. Female illustrators were her contemporaries, working to illuminate manuscripts with exquisite margins.

Which house or abbey Dame Marie lived and worked in is not known. She lives on in the minds of female innovators inhabiting live-work spaces in Hastings today – a cultural town on the fertile margins.

In this video installation, three artists explore the writing of Dame Marie within their own practice.

All these events are free, but tickets must be booked as space is limited.


18 Sept, 14:00 - Royal Childhood and Child Kingship with Dr Emily Joan Ward

21 Sept, 14:00 - Marie de France: a more diverse view of history

22 Sept, 14:00 - Marie de France - the female cultural workforce with Gail Borrow

24 Sept, 14:00 - Ruby Colley: creating the music for Marie in the Margins

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