Tony Palmer is an internationally acclaimed director of films about world’s outstanding personalities. He has won over forty international prizes for his work.

Apart from making his beautiful artistic documentaries, Tony Palmer is constantly traveling around the world, attending the screenings of his films, meeting the audience, deriving inspiration for his new projects.

He began his career at Cambridge University (where he was also President of the Marlowe Society), and soon after he joined the BBC. After his apprenticeship with Ken Russell and Jonathan Miller, Tony Palmer made his first major film, “Benjamin Britten & his Festival”, which became the first BBC film to be networked in the U.S.A.

With his second film, “All My Loving”, an examination of rock`n`roll & politics in the late 60s, he achieved world recognition and considerable notoriety overnight.

In 1989, he was awarded a huge retrospective of his work at the National Film Theatre in London, the first maker of arts films to be so honoured.

Being a true friend of Ukraine, Mr Palmer has always been concerned about the development of Ukrainian arts. He is an official representative of the Stravinsky family, and he has been attending the annual Stravinsky`s festivals organized by the Volyn Regional Philharmonic in Lutsk and Ustilug. A few years ago he was representing the Stravinsky Family at the grand reopening and restoration of the only house that Stravinsky had owned and lived in with his first wife, Ekaterina Nossenko, from 1890 to 1914 in Ustilug.

In 2016 Tony Palmer was granted the title of Honorary Professor of Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University (Lutsk, Ukraine) for his profound contribution into the development of educational and artistic fields of the Volyn Region.

In his Inauguration speech, Tony Palmer emphasized the uniqueness of the Volynian land, saying that it was “a hot-bed” of creativity at the end of the 19th century, a true cross-fertilisation of apparently different cultures, but in fact growing from the same root. He mentioned the names of a famous Romanian composer Bela Bartok, an outstanding musical revolutionary Igor Stravinsky, and the world-famous British novelist Joseph Conrad who were all born approximately in the same period of time within the territory of 200 kilometers from Ustilug.

Tony Palmer is a big humanist. I most of his films he depicts his characters through the prism of universal human values. With his deep confidence and unmistakable artistic maturity he states that it is imperative, it is our duty and privilege as human beings, in whatever political or social system we find ourselves, even in the worst dictatorship imaginable, to sing tour own songs, and to sing them loud and clear, without hesitation or fear of the consequences. This is what makes him unique in creating a realistic but, at the same time, highly artistic, and ultimately deep image of the epoch.

Reviewers eagerly call Tony Palmer “a poet of television”, which is, obviously, not a mere metaphor. Indeed, his brilliant documentaries hit an emotional nerve in the viewers, leaving a luxurious aftertaste of a true masterpiece to go back to again and again. He undoubtedly deserved television’s most coveted award, the Prix d’Italia; indeed, he is the only person to have won this prize three times, and has been honoured by the Italia Prize with a gala screening of his work.

In October 2018 Tony Palmer delivered a lecture “Did Bob Dylan Deserve the Nobel Prize?” to the University students and Professors. For years  Tony Palmer was part of an international campaign to get  Bob Dylan nominated for the prize, and he shared his personal experience with the audience. Dylan`s opponents complained that Dylan didn’t write literature, and in any case his so-called poems were feeble as literature. To convince the audience in the opposite, Mr Palmer drew brilliant parallels between Bob Dylan`s songs and the Homer`s the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature, indeed of all European literature.

It is believed that the poems were originally transmitted orally, spoken, sung, not written. And, obviously, Homer should have been awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Literature for his profound impact upon human civilization. If not Homer, then it was meant to be Bob Dylan – this is the conclusion, carefully prepared but firmly advocated by Tony Palmer.

As a mature public speaker, Tony Palmer gives a direct quote from Bob Dylan`s Nobel Prize speech, which says, “If a song moves you, that’s all that’s important. I don’t have to know what a song means. I’ve written all kinds of things into my songs. And I’m not going to worry about what it all means.” This is the true essence of Dylan`s creativity. This is the reason why, in Palmer`s point of view, he definitely deserves the Nobel Prize.

Tony Palmer’s lecture produced an unforgettable impression upon the students and the teachers of Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University. Bob Dylan, an outstanding poet in the second half of the 20th century, who has spoken so clearly, eloquently and angrily about the oppressed, the lonely, the dispossessed, the victimised, and against the murderers and villains and dictators who terrorise our world, is a perfect example of a Nobel Prize Winner, who has done much more than just literature. He has won millions of human hearts, and he made people think, and he made them sing their songs.

It is our big pleasure and delight to welcome Tony Palmer at the University campus again this year. The Honorary Professor will deliver a lecture on the functions of literature in human life. The title of the lecture is  “In the beginning was the Word….It’s use and abuse today”. This is going to be an outstanding public event. In order to get all the shades of meaning and to fully enjoy the lecture, Prof. Palmer recommends reading the following literary pieces in advance:

  • Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen;
  • Youth by Joseph Conrad;
  • Last Witnesses by Svetlana Alexievitch.

We invite our students, professors, all who are interested in modern literature, all book lovers, all who care, all who are not indifferent to war, human pain and injustice. Let me bring a  short quote from the lecture which may be a very good ‘teaser’ for the upcoming event:

…It was a great Black American writer Toni Morrison who died last August, who really spelled out the connection in her acceptance speech for the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature. I want you to treasure these words, put them on your wall, recite them in your sleep, tell them to all those obscene politicians from Trump to Putin who continuously debase our language and threaten our freedom with meaningless rhetoric. She emphasised over and over again the importance of language, not its misuse, but its glory and above all its moral imperative, something which Svetlana Alexievich and Joseph Conrad and Wilfred Owen knew all too well.

“Language”, Toni Morrison said, “is used to keep citizens armed and arming; slaughtered and slaughtering. Diplomatic language is used to countenance rape, torture and assassination. 

We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language, and that may be the measure of our lives.

I strongly recommend visiting this lecture. It will be an unforgettable event that may re-shape our style of thinking, and bring new meaning to our lives!

The lecture will take place

  On Wednesday, October 2, 10 am.

  Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University (13 Voli Prospect, Lutsk), Main building, Assembly hall.

Iryna Biskub,

Tony Palmer to meet Applied Linguists students and professors again!

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