Past Salons

September 14: Stephanie Williams will speak about her new book Running The Show, a portrait of the British Empire told through the lives of the Victorians who governed the colonies.

Elif Shafak

posted Dec 2, 2016, 1:47 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated May 9, 2017, 6:07 AM ]

Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 7 p.m. 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.

Deborah Levy

posted Oct 31, 2016, 3:00 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Dec 2, 2016, 1:54 AM ]

 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. See our Blog below for a write-up of this event!

Anne Sebba and Elena Lappin

posted Jun 18, 2016, 4:00 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Oct 31, 2016, 2:42 AM ]

Tuesday, 20th September, 7 pm.  Biographer Anne Sebba discussed her new book 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--Writing the Contemporary Novel

posted Apr 14, 2016, 2:05 PM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated May 17, 2016, 11:54 PM by Sarah Glazer ]

May 11, 2016. 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.

Dispatches from Syria

posted Jan 28, 2016, 10:43 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Apr 14, 2016, 1:47 PM by Sarah Glazer ]

March 30 2016 Newsweek Middle East Editor Janine di Giovanni discussed her new book about the conflict in Syria, The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria. Janine di Giovanni is a war correspondent and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

November 25 2015 Autobiography in Truth and Fiction: Rachel Cusk in conversation with Catherine Temma Davidson

posted Nov 17, 2015, 1:50 PM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Jan 28, 2016, 10:05 AM by Sarah Glazer ]

Rachel Cusk
has been called by the New York Times "One of the smartest writers alive." Her novels and nonfiction explore the great themes of our lives: marriage, motherhood, relationships, the tensions in the lives of women between private selves and public mythologies. Named by Granta in 2003 as one of the 20 best Young British novelists, she has published eight novels and three controversial memoirs. Her new book, Outline, is an innovative masterpiece of autobiographical fiction that offers insight after insight in beautifully lucid prose. In a recent Guardian interview, Cusk asserted that "autobiography is increasingly the only form in all the arts"--a strong statement from a writer who never shies away from controversy. Our November Salon offers an opportunity to hear from one of the leading writers in the UK talk about her work and how she sees the fictional landscape today.

Catherine Temma Davidson
is the author of The Priest Fainted, called by Amanda Craig "the most enchanting book about Greece since anything by Lawrence Durrell."

June 24 2015 Vesna Goldsworthy in conversation with Eva Hoffman

posted Sep 18, 2015, 12:05 PM by Sarah Glazer

The novelist Vesna Goldsworthy in conversation with Eva Hoffman.

Vesna’s satirical novel "Gorsky" is about a Russian oligarch who builds a mansion on the Thames. The book, which openly uses the "Great Gatsby" as its model, deals with themes of power, money, love and London real estate. Vesna is a Serbian writer and poet who teaches writing and literature at Kingston University. Eva is author of "Lost in Translation."

Wednesday, May 13 World War I Salon with Kate Williams, Clare Clark, and Nicola Beauman

posted Mar 12, 2015, 2:43 AM by Jenny McPhee   [ updated Sep 18, 2015, 11:07 AM by Sarah Glazer ]

A salon with a World War I theme--two salon members and historical novelists, Kate Williams and Clare Clark in conversation with Nicola Beauman of Persephone Books, which has published novels written at the time. Kate’s new novel is called “The Storms of War” and Clare’s is entitled “We that are Left." The discussion  emphasized domestic life on the home front.

Poetry and Science: Ruth Padel, Lavinia Greenlaw, and Emily Grosholz

posted Mar 12, 2015, 2:41 AM by Jenny McPhee

Poetry and Science:

Three Poets on Interweaving Two Cultures


 Speakers: Ruth Padel and Lavinia Greenlaw in conversation with

Emily Grosholz

Wednesday, 11th March 2015


drinks at 7:00 pm

speakers at 7:30 pm

conversation until 9:30 pm


Ruth Padel is a poet, novelist and conservationist, who has explored natural science subjects in poetry and prose. Her poetry-prose book The Mara Crossing asks why do animal species migrate--and why do we? Ruth has also explored scientific themes in her poetry collection Darwin: A Life in Poems and in Tigers in Red Weather, about wild tiger conservation. Her tenth poetry collection Learning to Make an Oud In Nazareth was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. She teaches poetry at King's College London.

Lavinia Greenlaw has published five collections of poetry, including Minsk, and The Casual Perfect, and several novels. She was the first artist-in-residence at the Royal Society of Medicine and wrote a poem marking the centenary of the Theory of Relativity for the Science Museum. She has made documentaries on the Arctic, the Baltic, Emily Dickinson, the darkest place in England and the solstices and equinoxes. She won the 2011 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

  Emily Grosholz is a poet, philosopher and literary critic. She teaches philosophy at Pennsylvania State University, where she specializes in philosophy of physics and mathematics. Her most recent scholarly book is    Representation and Productive Ambiguity in Mathematics and the Sciences lately she  has recently been working on case studies in cosmology, population genetics, and number theory. Her seventh poetry collection, Proportions of the Heart, is a book of mathematical poems that also weaves in themes of emotion and family. She is an advisory editor for the Hudson Review, where she often writes literary criticism and travel essays.

Apprentice Night: Elif Shafak and Alix Christie on their new novels.

posted Mar 12, 2015, 2:38 AM by Jenny McPhee

Wednesday, November 12, Apprentice Night: Turkish novelist Elif Shafak will present her new novel The Architect’s Apprentice centered around Sinan (1490-1588), architect to the Ottoman Sultan Suleyman in Constantinople, and Canadian novelist Alix Christie will present her first novel, Gutenberg’s Apprentice recounting the story of the making of Gutenberg’s Bible.

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