There’s A Rumer In Rye

A fascinating new talk

When you mention Rumer Godden (1907-1998), most people look blank! When you say “You know, the author of Black Narcissus!”, their faces light up in recognition.

Rumer Godden published 70 books, among them 21 novels. A number were best sellers, several were made into acclaimed movies and four have remained in print since the day they were first published.

In her latest talk, Ann Rachlin unveils the vivid colours of Rumer Godden’s fascinating life. Born in Eastbourne but brought up in India, Rumer intoxicates you with her skilful narrative and descriptive powers that instantly transport you from your comfortable armchair to India during the Raj, to the headquarters of the Royal Ballet School, to the chapel of a Convent in East Sussex, to life with the Gypsies or or to Rye, where she lived for more than seven years. Getting away from it all is easy when you have a Rumer Godden book in your hands

Hers are books that once started, you cannot put down. They haunt you with the intrigue of the story, the characters that become so real that you see them with uncanny clarity, whether they be nuns, ballet dancers, strange and dangerous servants in Kashmir, or reformed sinners. Reading her two compelling autobiographies, you begin to realise some of her novel’s most intriguing and dangerous incidents were all based on true happenings in her colourful life.

Meticulously researched, beautifully written, whether set in a convent in Brede or in a cottage high in the mountains of Kashmir, Rumer Godden’s books are riveting, exciting and full of compassion and the love of life.

Illustrated by a collection of Rumer’s personal photographs and glimpses of audio, video excerpts, Ann’s own gift as a storyteller, makes her the perfect speaker to tell Rumer’s story which, in turn, reveals her own admiration for this overlooked