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Zooming in on George Eliot birthday celebrations

Published on Friday, 20th November 2020

Zooming in for George Eliot's Birthday

The Covid Pandemic will not be getting in the way of birthday commemorations for George Eliot, Nuneaton’s most famous daughter.

Members of the George Eliot Fellowship will be linking up on Sunday, November 22 for what would have been the novelist, born Mary Ann Evans’  201st birthday.

At 3pm on that day, Fellowship chair John Burton will be hosting a toast on Zoom to mark the author of the Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda and many more acknowledged literary classics.  

Mr Burton said: “The original intention was to have our annual birthday lunch at Weston Hall in Bulkington,  we had a guest speaker lined up - Lesley Smith who developed a one-woman show  which she performed three times for us.

“But Lockdown Two has put paid to that, but we are determined to mark George Eliot’s birthday with a Zoom Toast.

“Lesley Smith has agreed to say a few words, as has our president Jonathan Ouvry, so this birthday, albeit celebrated in unusual circumstances, will still be marked.’’

Also to be launched on George Eliot’s birthday is a compact disc of her readings by Gabriel Woolf and Rosalind Shanks.

Proceeds will be donated to the planned George Eliot Visitor Centre, it has a cover price of £10 but Mr Burton will be encouraging members to make an additional donation. That will also be available later as a podcast.

The fellowship has also developed a new website this year -  ( and items are added as often as possible.

Councillor Ian Lloyd, Portfolio Holder for Arts and Leisure at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said:  

“It is wonderful that the George Eliot Fellowship is not allowing the Covid Pandemic to get in the way of this year’s birthday celebrations.

“George Eliot is famous worldwide for her wonderful novels and we are massively proud that she comes from our Borough and we wish the Fellowship every success in mark her birthday.’’

“We are grateful to the Fellowship for keeping her memory live and her huge contribution to English literature, the fact we are still proud of her achievements even 200 years later is testament to her skill and success.’’

Visitors to Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery can see displays dedicated to the author as well as a collection of artefacts.

As the Museum is temporarily closed, you can still engage with the fascinating story of George Eliot by following our ‘Exploring Eliot’ Twitter feed @Exploring Eliot Exploring Eliot is a project exploring the fantastic George Eliot collections at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, Nuneaton Library and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

Don’t forget! You can also access amazing George Eliot inspired material on our Facebook site: