Past Salons


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.

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."

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