New Publication – Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera A story inspired by Arnold Bennett’s classic novel The Old Wives’ Tale.
If you’ve approached Bains Stores recently, you’d be forgiven for hesitating on doing so. A prominent window advert for a discontinued chocolate bar suggests the shop may have closed in 1994. The security shutters are stuck a quarter-open, adding to the general air of dilapidation. A push or kick of the door triggers something, which is more grating car alarm than charming shop bell.
Surreally, “Baines”, with the vowel dropped, is even a common Sikh surname. Finishing the book in Delhi, it struck me that the structure of The Old Wives’ Tale could inspire a TV series about a Punjabi family, with the story moved forward a century from (roughly) 1840 to 1905 to (roughly) 1940 to 2005, the setting dragged 34 miles south from the Potteries to the West Midlands, and the characters based in an Asian corner shop instead of a Victorian draper’s shop. Not knowing where to begin with a script, this idea gradually morphed into my new novel, Marriage Material. I would love it if my homage inspired people to give Bennett a chance. Sathnam Sanghera
The present Arnold Bennett Society was re-formed in 1954 and has members throughout the United Kingdom as well as abroad. It is based in the City of Stoke on Trent, the “Five Towns” of Arnold Bennett’s novels.
The Society’s aim is to promote the study and appreciation of the life, works and times, not only of Arnold Bennett himself, but also of other provincial writers, with particular relationship to North Staffordshire.
An annual dinner is held in Stoke on Trent with a guest speaker of distinction. Past speakers have included John Suchet, Priscilla Masters, A N Wilson, Deborah Moggach. The Guest Speaker for 2013 was local historian Mr Fred Hughes and the dinner was held at The George Hotel, Burslem, the mother town of the Potteries. To celebrate 60 years of the society, our guest speaker for 2014, will be Baroness Shirley Williams.
We also have other events, including a Christmas event and a talk in February. This year’s talk was given by Professor David Amigoni, Professor of Victorian Literature at Keele University on Saturday February 23rd at Friends’ Meeting House, King Street, Newcastle Under Lyme.
The Society is promoting the re-publication of a series of Bennett’s novels, just click on the Books link. You can also get back numbers of our newsletters if available from the editor.
The Past Events button will give you a report on a visit to Fontainebleau on 11th October 2008 where we unveiled a plaque at Arnold Bennett’s former home and more recently a visit to A Return to Riceyman Steps. More recently the musical “Darling of the Day” an adaptation of AB’s novel “Buried Alive”. Members also receive 3 newsletters each year which include original works, notices, articles and mentions of Bennett in other publications.
You can contact the Chairman of the Arnold Bennett Society,
Morag Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Secretary Carol Gorton at email@example.com
Editor of Churnet Valley Books, Bennett Editions
John Shapcott at firstname.lastname@example.org
President: M Denis Eldin (Arnold Bennett’s grandson)
Dame Margaret Drabble –
Lord Hattersley –
James Hepburn -
Professor Ray Johnson MBE -
M Jacques Eldin.