Dominic Cavendish on literature

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The Independent Culture
Step off the train from Victoria and don't for a minute think that, just because Graham Greene bathed his novel in Whitsun sunlight, nothing serious will happen to you at Brighton Festival. Your best bet is to steer well clear of the Palace Pier and head for the Pavilion Theatre. There, at lunchtime today, Richard E Grant talks about his wonderful, wonderful life in the film world. Later, the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko does his travelling elder statesman impression. Later still, Neil Bartlett, theatre director of repute, reads from his erotic century-spanner Mr Clive and Mr Page. On Saturday, same place, psychotherapist/literary teaser Adam Phillips (On Flirtation) chats to the Independent's Adam Mars-Jones about Freud; stick around also for the Israeli novelist David Grossman talking fiction and Middle East Peace Process to Sarah Dunant.

Keep ducking and diving between the punters, beware the lure of the fortune-tellers and the vegetarian shoe shop and hunker down at the week- long mini-Irish festival (mainly at the Sussex Arts Club), starting on Sunday, which brags poetry from Ian Duhig and Paul Durcan, readings by playwrights Brian Behan and Frank McGuinness and much music in between. On Tuesday, nothing could be more suitable than Graham Swift at the Pavilion Theatre, reading from his latest, Last Orders, which ends up in end-of- the-pier Margate. You could go back there on Wednesday for Ben Okri, but there is a distinct danger that you would run into Perky (known to police as Edwina Currie, above). You'd be much safer in the arms of CJ Stone (at literary merchants Do Tongues), who will talk about hippy and punk festivals with the aid of a sound system and a screening of the counter- culture classic Operation Stonehenge. And afterwards, as Greene put it, "you can rock back in trains to the cramped streets and the closed pubs and the walk home."

Brighton Festival to 26 May: info: 01273 706771, box office: 01273 709709

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