Frank Cottrell Boyce, who is working with Danny Boyle on the opening ceremony of the Olympics, praises John Henry Newman in lecture

On the evening of Friday October 28 the award-winning screenwriter and acclaimed author Frank Cottrell Boyce delivered the Inaugural Newman Lecture.

The lecture, which was delivered at Notre Dame University in Trafalgar Square, London, was entitled “A footling little parson: The greatest of English prose writers” and focused on the craft of writing, exploring the source of a writer’s creativity and inspiration.

Mr Cottrell Boyce won a Carnegie medal for his novel Millions, about a boy who is obsessed with saints, which was turned into a film by director Danny Boyle in 2004. He has most recently written the official sequel to the children’s novel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. His other credits include the children’s book Framed (filmed by the BBC) and Cosmic (being filmed by Walden Media).

He also wrote the BBC play God on Trial which dramatised the apocryphal trial of God which was supposedly staged by a group of rabbis in the Auschwitz concentration camp. His other screenplays include Welcome to Sarajevo, Hilary and Jackie and 24 Hour Party People.

He is currently working with Danny Boyle on the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games and in September 2011 delivered a BAFTA lecture.

The Newman Lecture is offered in support of the legacy of the 2010 papal visit to Britain and is an initiative of the bishops’ conference department for evangelisation and catechesis.

Bishop Kieran Conry, chairman of the department, said: “Cardinal Newman was a very imaginative writer whose works not only influenced theological debate but he also left a treasure for people of all faiths and none in his hymns, prayers and meditations. The aim of the first Newman Lecture is to affirm the craft of writing and stimulate reflection and discussion about what makes for good writing and where does creativity and inspiration find its source.”