Past Salons


Linda Grant at Lucasta Miller's

posted Jan 6, 2019, 5:40 AM by Catherine Davidson   [ updated Jan 6, 2019, 5:41 AM ]

Upper Wimpole Street moved north on November 28th, at Lucasta Miller's beautiful home near Gospel Oak. Sitting in a room that seemed designed for literary salons, a very full crowd including novelists, historians, journalists and publishers listened to a conversation between Linda and Salon committee member Catherine Davidson that touched on the "imposter syndrome", writing as an outsider, the importance of not knowing, and humour in fiction. For more, please see our blog.

Ruth Padel on September 26th in Hammersmith

posted Sep 20, 2018, 2:26 AM by Catherine Davidson

Ruth Padel returns to the Salon for our first event in a new location. She will read from her new book, Emerald – a meditation on her mother’s life through the lens of a jewel packed with natural - and human - history and meaning.  Padel is an acclaimed and award-winning poet and prose writer, one of our most engaged voices, whose work includes Darwin, A Life in PoemsThe Mara Crossing, and52 Ways to Read a Poem.

Amanda Craig--9th May 2018, 7 pm

posted Apr 28, 2018, 10:36 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Sep 20, 2018, 2:24 AM by Catherine Davidson ]

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 our leading voices, an award-winning journalist and author of seven novels, a widely-publisher reviewer and champion of women’s writing.  

Miranda Seymour-- In Byron's Wake, 28th March 2018

posted Mar 21, 2018, 6:39 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Apr 28, 2018, 10:42 AM by Sarah Glazer ]

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.

Literary Mentorships, Friendships, 17th Jan. 2018, 7 pm.

posted Nov 9, 2017, 2:09 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Mar 21, 2018, 9:40 AM ]

Our panel of three discussed how women writers influence, mentor, support and encourage one another. Our 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.

Lyndall Gordon on Writers as Outsiders

posted Oct 28, 2017, 11:17 AM by Catherine Davidson   [ updated Oct 28, 2017, 11:21 AM ]


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.

Winnie Li and Marti Leimbach

posted May 9, 2017, 6:12 AM by Sarah Glazer   [ updated Oct 28, 2017, 10:47 AM by Catherine Davidson ]

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.  

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.

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