Sixty years ago, 1961, Samuel Beckett fled to Folkestone to marry his longtime companion Suzanne Valadon-Dumsnil in a secret ceremony. Today, the playwright and novelist’s secret marriage to Kent’s cash register has influenced an immersive multimedia event at the upcoming Folkestone Book Festival. time.

In March 1961, Beckett drove from his home in Paris to Lutuke Airport and then flew to Lydd Airport. Kent Arrival at the Bristol Hotel on the Reese Cliffs in Folkestone for 2 weeks. He started doing the play “Happy Days” in a local pub at night. Kent The place names Borrow Green and Seven Oaks were adopted in his second draft.

Future Nobel Laureates wanted to make him less visible in Folkestone, so they adopted Berkeley’s middle name at the hotel and said in a postcard that they were “trying to make him invisible” to their friends. An Express reporter was about to uncover the secret and called Beckett’s copyright agent John Calder to ask if the man who was considering getting married in Folkestone was in fact a writer well known. Was able to dodge the reporter, telling him it wasn’t possible because Beckett was on vacation in Africa. The couple got married on March 25.

After Deshevo-Dumsnil’s death, the marriage had to take place in England in order to inherit the rights to Beckett’s work. The couple have been together for years, but Beckett was also associated with BBC editor and translator Barbara Bray.

Audiences at the festival, which starts on Friday, can follow in Beckett’s footsteps around Folkestone, tour Leeds hotels and pubs and finish at the cash desk. At each location, a fictional monologue from the perspective of a Bristol hotel receptionist, Daily Express reporter and wedding witness was read by actors Jade Anuka, Russell Tovey and Harriet Walter and aired on television in the 1960s. Will be done. Video of the event will be shown to viewers online on June 13.

Asked about Beckett’s secret wedding, novelist Rupert Thomson said, “I thought it sounded ridiculous or perfect. I couldn’t decide which one was more suitable for Beckett.

“It’s very strange that he’s here and a bit far from my hometown,” he said. “And the idea that he’s a secret – he checked in at the hotel under a false name and kept it unnoticed.” Except for the strange environment: a cozy little folk stone with a flower garden. “

“It is a little known fact and we have been tickled by it. The amazing juxtaposition of Beckett and Folkestone won the Nobel Prize, ”said Sean Dolan, who organized the festival with Liam Brown. It can give an example of how his art and his life are related. “

Is The Folkestone Book Festival, titled The Shape of Things to Come, will take place from June 4 to 13. We welcomed Laura Bates, Natalie Haynes and David Lamy as guests. Inspired by the work of HG Wells, who lives in Folkestone, guests explore the future of racing, environmental and technology issues.

Samuel Beckett’s secret wedding in Folkestone would inspire the festival 60 years later.

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