Despite what we rowers believe, Henley is not only the Henley Royal Regatta. The town also has its Henley Literary Festival in the early autumn, this year between 28 September and 2 October. The organisers even have some ‘festival extra’ on Monday 10 October when Sir Steven Redgrave is to launch his new book about some Olympic highlights at the Kenton Theatre on New Street in Henley.
Mind you, though, the ‘Olympic highlights’ are not Sir Steven’s own, it is a collection of other athletes’ performances, those of for example Jesse Owens, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett, Nadia Comeneci, Mark Spitz, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Bob Beamon, Ed Moses, Michael Johnson, Eric Liddell, Daley Thompson, Chris Boardman, Cassius Clay, and Kelly Holmes. Included are also stories of athletes who never took any Olympic medals, but won the hearts of millions of spectators, Eric the Eagle and the Jamaican bobsleigh team to mention a few. Also some of the ill-famed moments in Olympic history are included in Sir Steven’s Great Olympic Moments, like Black Power in 1968, the Munich massacre of 1972, and Mary Decker Slaney’s clash with Zola Budd in 1984.
The other day, Festival director Sue Ryan told the local newspaper the Henley Standard: “We are thrilled that Sir Steve has agreed to come. As London 2012 gets ever closer, you couldn’t ask for a better athlete to recount some of his favourite Olympic stories.”
Tickets for the Festival can be bought from the box office at the River and Rowing Museum (Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) or by calling 0118 972 4700.
For details about the Henley Literary Festival and online booking, visit www.henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk