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The Dreams of William Golding: Your Local Arena: author biopic features contributions from the University of Exeter’s Professor Tim Kendall and Dr Phil Wickham

For five days in November, Your Local Arena, an Arts Council England-funded project, screened a biopic on the work of Cornwall-born author William Golding, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1983. Famous for his global success Lord of the Flies, William Golding fought in the Royal Navy in World War Two before he became a successful writer. He was an avid sailor, and the sea and the rugged Cornwall countryside underpins his writing, as well as his exploration of the capabilities of the novel. This is all captured in Adam Lows’ 2012 Arena film, The Dreams of William Golding, a compelling reflection on the life of one of the UK’s most acclaimed authors.  

Your Local Arena is composed of producers Lucy Hannah and Speaking Volumes, creative consultant Anthony Wall and features the BBC’s Arena film archive. Arena is an original 'film meets literature' concept, which matches UK venues or literary festivals to Arena films that relate in some way to their local area. From working-class Britain to Caribbean writers, football to 1990s music, there is something for everyone. In November, Arena screened a biopic featuring exclusive interviews with Golding’s family from the BBC archives, as well as interviews from four writers based in the south-west of England, including the University of Exeter’s Professor of English, Tim Kendall, and Bill Douglas Cinema Museum curator, Dr Phil Wickham.

Professor Kendall has three current and overlapping research interests: twentieth-century poetry, archives, and William Golding. His recent publications and broadcasts include Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (2013) and a one-hour arts documentary titled Ivor Gurney: The Poet who Loved the War (BBC 4, 2014). Currently, Tim is editing Poetry of the Second World War (2020), and the correspondence between William Golding and his Faber editor, Charles Monteith. Alongside Philip Lancaster, he is editing Ivor Gurney's complete literary works in five volumes for Oxford University Press. Dr Phil Wickham is the curator of The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at the University of Exeter, which holds over 85,000 artefacts on the long history of the moving image. Alongside Professor Linda Williams, Dr Wickham runs the third year Film Studies module ‘British Screens’. Contextualising the Arena film, Dr Wickham situated the focus of the biopic in relation to TV Arts programmes about writers and artists.

In addition to its classic films, Your Local Arena features film-inspired poetic works by regional poets, such as Louisa Adjoa Parker and Malaika Kegode, as well as offers writing workshops, such as the new masterclass from author Monique Roffey.

Check out for more information pertaining to the William Golding project and the Lucy Hannah website ( to find out more about their current projects, such as ‘Write Afghanistan’ and ‘Cities of Literature.’ 

Links of interest:

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum website at the University of Exeter: 

Professor Kendall’s BBC 4 documentary: Ivor Gurney: The Poet who Loved the War, can be viewed at: - ‘Write Afghanistan’