Thursday 4 July
In the past three years, national events have made us question what it is to be British as never before. Are we all strangers in a strange land, hopelessly alienated from each other? Is the country at war with the city, and is this country embattled by the rest of Europe?Adultery, murder, poverty, trust and community are the private lenses through which public crises can be interrogated. Two leading contemporary novelists, Amanda Craig and Vesna Goldsworthy, discuss this through their recent novels, The Lie of the Land (set in 2016 Devon) and Monsieur Ka (set in 1947 London), which draw on classics of Victorian fiction such as Far From the Madding Crowd and Anna Karenina.
About the authors
Amanda Craig is a novelist, short-story writer and critic. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her last novel Hearts and Minds was long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction. She reviews literary fiction for The Observer and The Telegraph. In 2017 she published two works with Little, Brown: The Other Side of You and The Lie of the Land. She’s currently working on her eighth novel which is inspired by the story of Beauty and the Beast.
Vesna Goldsworthy is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, and an internationally bestselling and prize-winning writer, academic and broadcaster. She writes in English, her third language. Her life story, Chernobyl Strawberries (2005) was serialised in the Times and read by Goldsworthy herself as Book of the Week on Radio 4. Her novel Gorsky (2015), translated into fifteen languages, long-listed for Baileys Prize and serialised as Book at Bedtime on Radio 4, was a Waterstones Book of the Year and the New York Times editors’ choice. Her second novel, Monsieur Ka, was one of the Times best new novels for 2018.
“It often takes an émigré to describe a country most clearly, and Goldsworthy, who was born in Belgrade but has lived in London for 30 years, is proving a most accomplished poet of her adopted city”, noted the Daily Mail.
Goldsworthy is a highly entertaining speaker: her Private Passions interview with Michael Berkeley was one of the most popular broadcasts on Radio 3 in 2017.