Lewes Literary Society

Past Events

For the names of our speakers prior to October 2015, please see our History page.

 

Jo Shapcott

20th November 2018

Jo Shapcott is a multi-award winning poet. Her most recent collection, Of Mutability, won the Costa Book Award in 2010. She is President of the Poetry Society, and teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Her earlier poetry collections – Electroplating the Baby (1988), Phrase Book (1992) and My Life Asleep (1998) – are gathered in a compendium, Her Book, published in 2000. She was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2011.

 

Robert McCrum

16th October 2018

Robert McCrum is a critic and author. He also broadcasts regularly on Radio Four and is an associate editor of The Observer. Previously he was editor-in-chief at Faber & Faber, where he edited many outstanding writers.

His own books include six novels, a definitive biography of PG Wodehouse, and an acclaimed memoir, My Year Off, which concerns a massive stroke he suffered in 1995. His new book is Every Third Thought: On life, death and the endgame, described by Kate Mosse as ‘thoughtful, subtle, elegantly clever and oddly joyous’.

Kathryn Hughes

24th April 2018

VICTORIANS UNDONE: OUR ANCESTORS’ EMBARRASSING BODIES

Kathryn Hughes is an award-winning journalist, and the author of much-admired biographies of Mrs Beeton and George Eliot. She is also professor of life writing at the University of East Anglia. Her most recent book is Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum.

Philippe Sands

20th March 2018

A PERSONAL STORY OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMES

Philippe Sands is a human rights lawyer and professor of law at University College London. His latest book, East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity, was awarded the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction.

In a joint venture between us and the wonderful Depot Cinema, Phillipe’s documentary film, My Nazi Legacy, will be shown at the Depot on Sunday 18th March at 3pm, two days before he comes to Lewes to speak. The film will be introduced by the Chair of the Lewes Literary Society.
Full details here.

William Shaw

20th February 2018

MAKING BELIEVE

Before becoming a crime writer, William Shaw was an award-winning music journalist. He’s the author of a series of highly praised detective books set in 1960s London featuring DS Breen and WPC Tozer, the most recent of which is Sympathy for the Devil. He has also written a standalone novel, The Birdwatcher. His website is here.

 

Chris Cleave

16th January 2018

LESSONS FROM HISTORY: BRAVERY, FORGIVENESS & UNITY

Chris Cleave is the author of Everyone Brave is ForgivenGoldThe Other Hand and Incendiary. His novels have been published in thirty languages and have been adapted for screen and stage worldwide. He is a regular newspaper and broadcast contributor to the cultural debate on parenting, literature and human rights. His website is here.

Emma Tucker

14th November 2017

THE FUTURE OF PRINT JOURNALISM

Emma Tucker has been deputy editor of The Times since 2013. Previously she worked at The Financial Times, covering politics and economics, including reporting on the EU in Brussels for six years. She grew up in Lewes and went to Priory School.

Margaret Drabble

10th October 2017

AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS FICTION

Margaret Drabble DBE is a highly-acclaimed novelist, biographer and critic. She is the author of nineteen novels including A Summer Bird-Cage, The Millstone, and the most recent, The Dark Flood Rises. She was the editor of the Oxford Companion to English Literature. She was awarded the 2011 Golden PEN Award for a Lifetime’s Distinguished Service to Literature.

Polly Samson

25th April 2017

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.

Virginia Baily

21st March 2017

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.

Ben Crystal

21st February 2017

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.

Charlotte Mendelson

24th January 2017

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.

Sue Roe

22nd November 2016

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.

 

Tessa Hadley

18th October 2016

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 Pienkowski

26th April 2016

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.

www.janpienkowski.com

 

Oliver Kamm

29th March 2016

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

23rd February 2016

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.

www.mickjackson.com

Sali Hughes

26th January 2016

Dispatches from the front-line of beauty journalism: leading style columnist and broadcaster Sali Hughes shares her beauty secrets on and off the page.

www.salihughesbeauty.com

Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo

24th November 2015

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.

www.bevaristo.com

Neel Mukherjee

20th October 2015

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.

www.neelmukherjee.com