'Chocolat' author Joanne Harris to speak at Blackburn Cathedral

Lancashire Telegraph: Author Joanne Harris Author Joanne Harris

BESTSELLING author Joanne Harris, who wrote the book on which the Oscar-nominated film ‘Chocolat’ was based, will be at Blackburn Cathedral next month.

The Barnsley-born 49-year-old will discuss that book and her latest novel ‘Peaches for Monsieur le Cure’, a further chapter of the same story confronting issues raised by North African immigration to France.

The former teacher, bilingual in French and English, will be in conversation with the Dean of Blackburn Christopher Amstrong and the Cathedral’s dialogue development officer Anjum Anwar.

She is the latest speaker to take part in the ‘in conservation’ sessions at the cathedral which have been running since 2008. Former guests include Blackburn’s Atlantic rowing heroine Helen Leigh and ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy.

‘Chocolat’ was made into a hugely successful film in 2000 starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp and Dame Judi Dench, which was nominated for five Oscars.

Ms Harris has written 11 novels which have been published in over 50 countries and sold an estimated 30 million copies worldwide.

Recurrent themes include issues of identity and immigration; mother/child relationships; the emotional resonance of food; the magic and horror of everyday things; the outsider in the community; faith and superstition; the joy of small pleasures; and entrenched sexism.

Ms Anwar said: “I cannot tell you how delighted I am that Joanne Harris is coming to the Cathedral. She is one of the UK’s best writers who is read all over the world.

“Some of the issues she writes about, especially in terms of immigration, identity and integration, are very relevant to Blackburn and East Lancashire.

“I hope many, many people come for what should be a fascinating evening where many issues relevant to the audience come up.”

The event takes place on Wednesday, May 1 at 6.30pm.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend for free.

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