In June, Winnie M Li and Marti Leimbach met to discuss narrating sexual trauma. Writer, producer and activist, Li’s novel Dark Chapter, inspired by her own experience of rape, recently won the Guardian’s Not the Booker award, and was listed by Stylist Magazine as one of “10 Smashing Debut Novels to Look Forward To in 2017.”
Bestselling novelist Marti Leimbach’s, most recent novel Age of Consent, was based on a relationship between a grown man and teenage girl. Their conversation was wide-ranging and honest, looking at the challenges of drawing from life to make fiction, how narrative distances us from traumatic events, and how in the act of writing a story you think you know you can still be taken by surprise.
Acclaimed Turkish novelist Elif Shafak spoke about her forthcoming novel set in modern Turkey, Three Daughters of Eve, which grapples with Islam, secularism and the role of women. This novel is already a best-seller in Turkey. She is the author of nine previous novels and her work has been translated into 40 languages.
Wednesday, 30th November, 7 pm. Novelist Deborah Levy discussed her latest novel, Hot Milk, which was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. Her 2012 novel Swimming Home won widespread critical praise and was also shortlisted for the Booker. Critically acclaimed for her intelligence and originality as a writer, Levy is the author of four other novels, a short story collection and over 20 plays. Her essay, Things I Don’t Want to Know was a provocative feminist response to George Orwell’s Why I Write.
Tuesday, 20th September, 7 pm. Biographer Anne Sebba discussed her new book, Les Parisiennes, about how Parisian women survived the World War II German occupation of Paris and its aftermath. Fiction writer and editor Elena Lappin, author of the short story collection Foreign Brides, discussed her new memoir What Language Do I Dream In? about growing up in five languages as a multiple emigré before settling on English as her home language.
Amanda Craig, the author of six novels, discussed how she weaves such contemporary issues as inequality and social class into her novels and the experience of being a London novelist.
Her most recent novel, Hearts and Minds, following the lives of several immigrants living in London, was long-listed for the Orange Prize. A leading figure on the London literary scene, Amanda Craig has tackled contemporary topics in her novels including inequality, social class, human trafficking and other social issues in urban life. Hearts and Minds was praised by the Telegraph as “a sympathetic, thought-provoking and deeply moving account of the strange, shifting beast that is our capital.” A.N. Wilson hailed her 1996 novel, A Vicious Circle, by saying that “the greatest novelist under the age of 50 has now stepped onto the stage.” Amanda Craig is also an award-winning journalist and continues to write reviews and journalism for The Guardian and other newspapers. She is currently working on her seventh novel, set in Devon and London. “It’s a novel about a marriage in deep trouble, and about the role money plays in a relationship,” she writes on her blog.
She was in conversation with Catherine Davidson, author of The Priest Fainted, called by Amanda Craig “the most enchanting book about Greece since anything by Lawrence Durrell.” Catherine Davidson currently teaches creative writing at Regents University in London and blogs about writing and life across two cultures at Medium.