LINKS between the Madresfield estate and the literary classic Brideshead Revisited will be explored as part of the tenth Autumn in Malvern Festival next month.

The very English subject is blended with a series of events with a Hungarian theme, in keeping with the festival's policy of contrasting English art with that of another nation.

The tenth festival in 11 years is a landmark for the event and its organiser, Malvern man Peter Smith, who has succeeded in repeatedly attracting top class performers to the town.

Raising finance has been the principle struggle year after year, but Mr Smith paid tribute to the support of local businesses, particularly the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.

DERA is supporting two of this year's seven events, with other sponsors including Malvern Bookshop, Friends of the Dymock Poets, Malvern Civic Society, Malvern Gazette & Ledbury Reporter and the English Speaking Union.

Looking back to the beginnings, Mr Smith said he was always keen to sustain the Festival.

"I did not know whether I could do that because it's hard but even if I packed up after this year I have lasted as long as the old Malvern Festival under Barry Jackson," he said.

The first of the three literary events is a lecture by Professor Martin Stannard, Professor of Modern English Literature at Leicester University, on Evelyn Waugh, Madresfield and Brideshead Revisited.

Waugh (1902-66), was a friend of the Lygon family and dedicated Black Mischief to two daughters of the 7th Earl Beauchamp in 1932. He is thought to have drawn inspiration for characters in Brideshead from members of the family and partly modelled the fictional stately home on Madresfield.

The talk is at the Malvern Theatres on Sunday, October 1, at 11am, and tickets are £5.

On the same day, at 7.30pm, at St Edmund's Hall, Malvern College, there will be A Portrait of Walter de la Mare, a sequence of poetry and narrative by Ann Harvey and Hugh Dickson.

De la Mare was counted as an influence on the third of the literary subjects, the poet Edward Thomas, one of the Dymock Poets. Poetry and prose, letters and excerpts from his war diary will be read at York Hall, Malvern Girls College, by Richard Pasco and Barbara Leigh-Hunt on October 8 at 7.30pm.

The festival opens with a concert by the Guildhall Strings of London on Saturday, September 30, at the Malvern Theatres at 7.30pm. The programme includes Bartok's Romanian Dances and Kodaly's Adagio for Viola and Strings, as well as works by Britten and William Walton.

Pianist Michael Dalberto will perform a programme which includes two works by Franz Liszt at Malvern Priory at 8pm on October 6.

The Priory is hosting the Aldwyn Voices the following day at noon, with James Vivian making his first appearance at the group's conductor.

Gyorgy Pauk, who will be familiar to members of Malvern Concert Club, strengthens the Festival's Hungarian credentials at the Priory later in the day, at 8pm. The violinist will be appearing with pianist Ian Brown, with a programme which includes work by Bartok and Elgar.

There will also be drawings, paintings and found objects by Pamela Burns on display at the Malvern Theatres, between September 25 and October 23, along with images of night taken from the eastern slopes of the Malvern Hills by photographer David Atkins.

At Robson Ward Kitchens, Belle Vue Terrace, internationally renowned local artist David Prentice will be showing a series of fine art prints.

n Tickets for festival events are available from the Malvern Theatres box office on 01684 892277.