A WRITING LIFE
Polly Samson will be with us to talk about her life as a writer of two novels, two collections of short stories and the lyrics to many Pink Floyd songs. But her career has also included jobs in publishing (she was on the board of Jonathan Cape at the age of 24), as a journalist and book reviewer, and as a judge for several literary prizes.
You can read much more about her here.
EARLY ONE MORNING: FRIENDS, FAMILY, LOVE AND RESCUE
Virginia Baily is the author of Early One Morning and Africa Junction. Both novels have won awards, both have been highly praised by critics, and both are set against a backdrop of historical events while delving deep into their characters’ emotional lives. Early One Morning, Virginia’s second novel, is set in 1970s Rome and, according to the Guardian, ‘masterfully explores themes of identity, belonging and loss’.
You can find out more about Virginia and her work here.
THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF SHAKESPEARE’S WORLD
Ben Crystal is an actor, author and producer, and much of his work revolves around Shakespeare.
What would it have been like to go the theatre in Elizabethan times? Ben will be helping us experience Shakespeare’s plays through the eyes, ears and minds of the audiences of his time – audiences who had a great appetite for stories, who had no problem with suspending their disbelief, and who, like Shakespeare, were living through a time of great political and social change.
Do have a look at Ben’s website here.
A NOVELIST WRITES FICTION
Charlotte Mendelson has turned her tiny urban garden into a place to grow over a hundred different things to eat, and the experience has led her away from the fictional landscape she’s inhabited until now and into the unknown territory that is non-fiction. The result is Rhapsody in Green: A Novelist in the Garden.
To find out more about her work, have a look at her website.
IN MONTMARTRE: THE WORLD OF PICASSO AND MATISSE
Sue Roe’s talents are many – she’s a biographer, poet, novelist and critic – but she’ll be focussing on her intimate knowledge of two of the twentieth century’s greatest artists, Picasso and Matisse.
Her most recent books are The Private Lives of the Impressionists and In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and Modernism in Paris, 1900-1910. You can read more about these here.
WRITING THE PAST, AND WRITING ABOUT THE PAST
We’re delighted to be welcoming Tessa Hadley as our first speaker of the new season. She’ll be talking about writing The Past (her most recent novel) and writing about the past (more generally). Tessa has six novels and two collections of short stories to her name, and she’s regularly praised for her ability to capture the subtleties of relationships and the complexities of family life.
You can read more about her here.
Jan Pieńkowski, the legendary illustrator and creator of Meg and Mog, reflects on half a century’s work and a journey which has taken him from Haunted House to the Royal Opera House.
In a change to our programme, Oliver Kamm will be standing in for Anthea Bell whose ill-health has meant that she won’t be able to make the trip to Lewes. Oliver is the author of Accidence Will Happen: the Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage, and he will be talking about language and languages. He is a leader writer and columnist for The Times, and by a strange coincidence happens to be Anthea Bell’s son.
Mick Jackson, whose novel The Underground Man was shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize, discusses using the Brontës as a backdrop to a contemporary mystery.
Dispatches from the front-line of beauty journalism: leading style columnist and broadcaster Sali Hughes shares her beauty secrets on and off the page.
The award-winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo, author of The Emperor’s Babe and Mr Loverman, discusses subverting the mainstream, challenging boundaries and pushing back literary limits.
Neel Mukherjee talks about his most recent novel, The Lives of Others, which explores the soul of a nation through family history. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award in 2014 and won the Encore Award in 2015.