Stratford Lit Fest puts focus on Dresden bombing

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Dan Snow will be in conversation with fellow historian Sinclair McKay in a special Stratford Literary Festival event next month

HISTORIAN and television presenter Dan Snow is to feature in a special event next month marking the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden in the Second World War.

Fittingly, the event will take place at Coventry Cathedral, which suffered so much in the conflict. The talk will see the presenter in conversation with best-selling author Sinclair McKay and is being staged by Stratford Literary Festival on 4th February.

The two historians will explore the impact of four devastating raids between 13th and 15th February 1945, during which the RAF and their American counterparts obliterated the German city.

Explosive bombs weighing over 1,000lbs fell every seven-and-a-half seconds and an estimated 25,000 were killed. The pair will discuss the history of the city and the attack itself, as well as the period of reconstruction that followed, asking whether Dresden was a legitimate military target, or whether the destruction was a simple act of revenge for the bombing of Coventry.

The event – a special one-off occasion for the literary festival – also marks the publication of Mr McKay’s book Dresden: The Fire and the Darkness.

As well as being literary critic of the Telegraph and Spectator, he is author of the bestselling book The Secret Life of Bletchley Park.

Dan Snow, known as the History Guy, is a writer and broadcaster and hosts the History Hit podcast. He is the author of several books including The World’s Greatest 20th Century Battlefields.

Festival Director Annie Ashworth said: “We are thrilled to be working with two such acclaimed historians in the beautiful surroundings of Coventry Cathedral. It is such a fitting place for an event of this nature and exciting for us to be working in new spaces.”

Coventry Cathedral’s Canon Pastor, the Rev Canon Kathryn Fleming, added: “We are really delighted to be hosting this event. The bombings in Dresden and Coventry are the origins of our Reconciliation Ministry; the language of reconciliation is one of the huge foundation stones on which this cathedral is built. What happened in Dresden in 1945 is an important part of our own story too.”

Tickets are £12, or £25 with a discounted copy of the book. For more information and to book, go to stratlitfest.co.uk.