Come and join Agatha Christie’s official birthday celebrations at Torre Abbey on Thursday 15 September.

A century of Christie creativity will be celebrated at Torre Abbey, a museum with gardens which include a potent plants garden named after the author.

Cllr Nicole Amil, Executive Lead for Tourism, Culture and Harbours, said: “The theme of the party will be 100 Years of Creativity, reflecting that 2016 is the centenary of when Agatha Christie completed her first crime novel, invented Hercule Poirot and began a career which turned her into the world’s best-selling author and most successful woman playwright, and spurred a wide array of creativity in many others.”

Highlights of the birthday celebrations will include:

• Author Sophie Hannah talking about her latest Hercule Poirot novel Closed Casket, due out on September 6 as a follow-up to her globally successful The Monogram Murders, the first new authorised adventure for the Belgian detective in almost 40 years.
• An exclusive event with the Royal Mail, including a presentation by stamp designer Jim Sutherland about the Agatha Christie collection he has created for Royal Mail (only being revealed, and going on sale, earlier the same day).
• Christie’s grandson Mathew Prichard reading the ever-popular short story The Witness for the Prosecution - soon to be turned into a major new BBC television show, scripted by Sarah Phelps (the screenwriter behind one of the best-watched programmes of last Christmas, the all star And Then There Were None).
• Signings by Mathew Prichard of First Day Covers of the newly-issued Agatha Christie stamps and book signings by Tom Adams, the artist responsible for the paperback covers of more than 100 Agatha Christie titles, and by John Curran, the decoder and author of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks.
In addition, there will be sales of the commemorative stamp set, a Devonshire cream tea, birthday toast with bubbly and a mail-box where every item posted will be franked with a special post-mark.
Frances Hughes, an Assistant Director of Torbay Council and a trustee of the celebration’s organising body, the International Agatha Christie Festival, said:

“We are thrilled to be able to mark Dame Agatha’s birthday with a programme of events at Torre Abbey featuring several of the people her work has inspired and to know that Royal Mail is giving the area where she was born, grew up and loved lifelong such a unique role in the nationwide launch of its Agatha Christie stamps .”

The main venue for the official birthday events will be Torre Abbey, The King’s Drive, Torquay, where the year-round attractions include a potent plants garden named after the author. First Day Issue sets of the new stamps will be on sale at the venue from lunchtime.

A choice of event ticket packages are on sale now from www.agathachristiefestival.com or by phoning 01803 293593.
It is expected that the birthday celebrations will also feature an update from the International Agatha Christie Festival about its plans for September 2017 – the first in a planned biennial series of much expanded Agatha Christie celebrations, taking place across Torbay.

PHOTOGRAPHY AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

Notes to editors

Media enquiries
For further info about the birthday celebrations, interviews or press tickets please contact:

Pam Beddard | 0117 987 0442/ 07767 621207 | pam.beddard@btinternet.com
For more information about Royal Mail’s Special Stamps, please contact:Natasha Ayivor | 020 7449 8250/ 07436 280002 |natasha.ayivor@royalmail.com

Visual resources
For a selection of images, please see: http://ow.ly/Ixw1301Ylbv

Notes to Editors

Dame Agatha Christie was born in Torquay on 15th September 1890 and maintained her connections with the area right up until her death on 12 January 1976, aged 85. She was a prolific writer, producing more than 70 novels, 150 short stories and 19 plays (one of them, The Mousetrap, the holder of the world record as the longest running stage show). Today’s estimate is that more than two billion of her books have been sold worldwide – a number exceeded only by the works of Shakespeare and The Bible. She is also the world’s most translated author and the most successful woman playwright of all time. Her principal detectives - Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple – are among the best known fictional characters, not just from the books but also from many film and television adaptations. Hotly-anticipated new productions include a new BBC adaptation of The Witness for the Prosecution, screening later this year and Hollywood’s latest version of Murder On The Orient Express, directed by and starring Sir Kenneth Branagh and due out in November 2017,

The first International Agatha Christie Festival (IACF) was held in Torquay in 2014 as a celebration of the writer’s life, works, times and lasting impact. Earlier this year, the IACF was granted UK charitable status and announced plans to expand the festival - offering local people and visitors a wide-ranging week-long programme of events and activities every other year, and a special birthday party in the years in between. This year is a birthday party year; the next full festival will take place in September 2017.

Useful contacts/ links

For information on visiting Torquay and the surrounding areas, please see www.englishriviera.co.uk/.

To view/request images of the area, including sites of Agatha Christie interest, please see: www.englishrivieraimages.co.uk (Official Image library).

For more background on Agatha Christie’s life and work, please go to the official Agatha Christie website: www.agathachristie.com/.

To discuss literary and media rights and licensing issues related to Agatha Christie’s work, please contact Agatha Christie Ltd: www.agathachristielimited.com/.


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