After eight years of hosting the Salon, Sarah Glazer has returned to New York, passing the care of one of London’s long running women’s literary salons onto a capable group of writers who will now share hosting in North and West London. What started in the living room of Diane Middlebrook will continue in two new settings, which we hope will be equally congenial. We were delighted to have a chance to thank Sarah and celebrate her grace, generosity, intelligence and kindness at the Amanda Craig salon in June. We hope you will join us in the future.
Amanda Craig lead our final Salon under Sarah’s hosting. She read from her work in progress, a novel that follows up some of the characters from The Lie of the Land, a book India Knight in the Times called “terrific, page-turning, slyly funny” and Marion Keyes declared “absolutely magnificent.”
Craig is one of the leading voices in literature, an award-winning journalist and author of seven novels, a widely-publisher reviewer and champion of women’s writing.
Miranda Seymour–biographer, novelist and critic–discussed her new book, In Byron’s Wake: The Turbulent Lives of Lord Byron’s Wife and Daughter, and her biography of Mary Shelley, which has just been reissued to mark the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
She spoke about the intersecting worlds–poetic and scientific– of three brilliant women. Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace, called the prophet of the modern computer, was introduced to mathematics by her mother, Annabella Milbanke, also a mathematician. Mary Shelley, competing in a game of telling ghostly tales with the poet Byron, produced Frankenstein, a prophetic account of a scientific achievement.
Miranda Seymour is the author of biographies of Robert Graves and Ottoline Morrell; a memoir In My Father’s House; and Noble Endeavors, among other books.
Our panel of three discussed how women writers influence, mentor, support and encourage one another.
The panel included Jill Dawson, Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney. Jill Dawson, bestselling novelist most recently of The Crime Writer, is the founder of Gold Dust, a writer-to-writer mentoring scheme.
Emma Sweeney is a Gold Dust novelist and co-author with Emily Midorikawa of the recent recently published A Secret Sisterhood, about the literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf.
Together they run the website Something Rhymed, which profiles friendships of well-known female authors.
On October 18th, we hosted Lyndall Gordon on the eve of the publication of her new book: Outsiders, Five Women Writers Who Changed the World.
Sarah Glazer talked to Lyndall about how she picks her subjects, how “issues in the life grab you,” the problem of the second paragraph, research and writing the “hot draft” and how five remarkable women linked across time were able to tune into a “strain in human nature which is immensely valuable” – a quality of sympathy and tenderness “beneath the platform of history” that is different to power and that feels more relevant than ever.