The village school is a hundred years old and headmistress Miss Read is fully occupied planning the festivities.
Village Centenary welcomes us back to Fairacre just in time for the one hundredth anniversary of the village school. Such a centenary should be celebrated, and all of Fairacre is quick to offer suggestions - from a tea party to a pageant.
Deciding how best to stage the grand occasion, however, is only one of Miss Read's problems. The ancient skylight in the school is leaking, and Mr Willet, the school caretaker, fears that replacing it will be a difficult job. The new teacher, Miss Briggs, fresh from college and full of idealistic theories, proves a thorn in Miss Read's side. The vicar has decided to keep bees. And Mrs Pringle is her usual dour self.
But the seasons continue to change, and the centenary year unfolds with its hopes and fears, its memories and forecasts, its friendships and feuds. Village Centenary marks yet another delightful year in the company of our favourite Fairacre friends.
Miss Read, or in real life Dora Saint, was a teacher by profession who started writing after the second world war, beginning with light essays written for Punch and other journals. She then wrote on educational and country matters and worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC. Miss Read was married to a schoolmaster for sixty-four years until his death in 2004, and they had one daughter.
Miss Read was awarded an MBE in the 1998 New Year Honours list for her services to literature, She was the author of many immensely popular books, including two autobiographical works, but it was her novels of English rural life for which she was best known. The first of these Village School, was published in 1955, and Miss Read continued to write about the fictional villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green for many years. She lived near Newbury in Berkshire until her death in 2012.
Two plays based on her work have been written by Ron Perry, Miss Read's Thrush Green and Miss Read Remembered.