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Primrose Hill Lectures 2014

Layout 1Each year during the months of June and July we organise a series of lectures at St Mary’s to engage people in and beyond the Christian community in issues confronting society today. The lectures are normally held on Wednesday evenings and are followed by questions. There is an opportunity to meet the speaker over a glass of wine after the lecture.

The lectures start promptly at 7.30pm. Doors and Bar open at 7pm


Single lecture: £12/£10 concessions/£6 child under 18
Full Series: £48/£40 concessions  (one ticket per lecture)

EARLYBIRD SPECIAL: We are offering a 10% discount on all online ticket purchases, until Midnight, on April 30th. Simply use our discount code earlybird_lectures2014 in the ‘Enter Promotional Code’ link provided, which is at the bottom of the list of available tickets. Input code and click apply, and discount will be made to all ticket options.

Book online by clicking link below (Online bookings are subject to a small booking fee)

Eventbrite - Primrose Hill Lectures 2014

Click for more information on the Online Booking Process and FAQs

Other ticket buying options

You can purchase tickets from the Parish office, open Mon – Fri, 9.30am – 2.30pm.     Address: Church of St Mary the Virgin. Elsworthy Road, London NW3 3DJ.                     Tel: 020 7722 3238 Email:


From Primrose Hill Books, open Mon – Fri, 9.00am – 6.00pm. Sat/Sun 11am – 6pm       Address: 134 Regent’s Park Rd, Greater London NW1 8XL                                                Tel: 020 7586 2022 Email:


2014 Speakers


Alain de Botton  on The News  

7.30pm, Wednesday 4 June 

Writer and broadcaster Alain de Botton has gained an international following as a “philosopher of everyday life.” Published in thirty countries, his close examinations of contemporary society include The Consolations of Philosophy, Religion for Atheists and How To Think More About Sex. His latest book, The News: A User’s Manual, probes our 21st century obsession with rolling headlines: “The news occupies the same dominant position in our society that religion once did.” he argues, “We can’t stop checking it on our screens. But what is it doing to our minds?”


Ben Crystal on Shakespeare 

7.30pm, Wednesday 11 June

Actor and writer Ben Crystal has revolutionised the way students and audiences respond to Shakespeare. The acclaimed author of Shakespeare on Toast: Getting a Taste for the Bard and Springboard Shakespeare, he has pioneered the performance of Shakespeare’s plays in original pronunciation and argues for a more radically contextualised appreciation of our national poet. “Shakespeare has become Literature with a capital L.” he says, “A lot of people forget that important word ‘play’. His works are revitalised when seen through the eyes and minds of the people he was trying to entertain.”



Mary Portas on Community 

7.30pm, Wednesday 25 June

Mary Portas is Britain’s most influential retail expert. Her BBC2 series Mary, Queen of Shops and Mary Portas: Secret Shopper focussed national attention on shopping and service culture and in 2011 she was invited by the Prime Minister to lead an independent review into the future of the high street. Community, she argues, is as much about attitude as infrastructure: “The people are out there changing things, brilliant local people working very hard and with great imagination to make things better. How can that not be a good thing?”


Miranda Seymour on Friends at War 

7.30pm, Wednesday 2 July

Miranda Seymour is a novelist, biographer and critic, whose acclaimed publications include lives of Henry James, Robert Graves and Ottoline Morrell. Her most recent book, Noble Endeavours, examines the complicated relationship between England and Germany. In conversation with Lorna Bradbury, Deputy Literary Editor of the Telegraph, Seymour makes the case for cultural rapprochement: “Perhaps, amid the recollection of catastrophic wars, it will be remembered that our countries – two countries that once were bound together as closely as a single family – still share far more than keeps us apart.”



Craig Brown  on Parody 

7.30pm, Wednesday 9 July

“The most screamingly funny living writer”(Barry Humphries). In celebration of his 25th year writing the parodic celebrity diary in Private Eye, he presents his own “one-stop literary festival” with contributions from, among many others, Jilly Cooper, D H Lawrence, Anthony Powell and WG Sebald. “Parody is a pas-de-deux.” he says, “The parodist must inhabit the language and speech-rhythms of the parodied while subverting them for his own ends. Thus a certain strange empathy is called for, no matter how cold-hearted.”