On Thursday evening 2 May 2024 the inaugural John le Carré Memorial Lecture will be presented by The Morrab Library at the Acorn Theatre in Penzance. Tickets for the event have sold out.

Sponsored by The Arts Society West Cornwall and planned to be a biennial event, the first lecture will feature guest speaker Mick Herron, celebrated author of the Slow Horses / Slough House espionage novels, which have been adapted into a successful TV series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

World-renowned espionage writer John le Carré (real name: David John Moore Cornwell) lived in St Buryan, Cornwall, until his death in 2020, at the age of 89. He was the author of 26 novels, including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener, The Night Manager, The Little Drummer Girl, A Perfect Spy et al, many of which have been adapted into feature films and television series, plus five works of nonfiction, including his 2016 memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life.

Carré was a passionate supporter of the Morrab from the 1970s, later serving as president (1997-2002), then for many years as a patron. He called the library “a Cornish treasure house, a meeting place for like-minded souls, and a vibrant forum for contemporary writing,” with a special interest in encouraging young people to read and be inspired by the place.

The title of Herron’s lecture is “Running Away with the Circus.” Raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, he studied English Literature at Oxford. His first novel, Down Cemetery Road, set in Oxford, was published in 2003. Herron’s most recent novel, The Secret House, provides insights to the Slough House series with its riveting reveal about a disastrous MI5 mission in post-Cold War Berlin.

Associated events for this inaugural lecture include a loaned exhibition of John le Carré memorabilia at Penlee House Gallery & Museum (17 April-6 May); a “meet the author” gathering hosted by Penzance Mayor Cllr Stephen Reynolds; a writing workshop with students at Penwith College; and a “Conversation with Mick Herron” plus book signing at the Edge of the World Bookshop, on Market Jew Street in Penzance (3 May).

The Acorn event has been planned with the full and enthusiastic cooperation of le Carré’s family. His son Nick Cornwell will speak about his father in advance of the lecture, and Nick’s brother Simon Cornwell and their families plan to attend.

Author Mick Herron by Mikael Buck