Fiction Uncovered is excited to share news of Bloomsbury’s splendid events offerings for May.
A Granta ‘Britain’ Special with Lawrence Norfolk, Esther Freud and Andrea Stuart
Granta launches its Britain issue at the Bloomsbury Institute with a night of reading and conversation with Andrea Stuart, Lawrence Norfolk and Esther Freud. From the legacy of the sugar trade in London to the tale of a young boy who seeks refuge in the kitchen of a manor house after his mother is accused of witchcraft, to the shifting fortunes of actors in contemporary London, these three authors and Granta contributors explore how British identity is shaped by the sometimes brutal context of historical and contemporary Britain. This event is part of a UK-wide series of events that mark the launch of the latest issue of Granta magazine and explore the stories Britain is telling about itself today.
Norfolk’s forthcoming historical novel John Saturnall’s Feast, a story that charts one man’s life against the backdrop of revolution, cookery and ancient folklore, will be first extracted on Granta.com. An astounding work of historical fiction, John Saturnall’s Feast is Norfolk’s first book in ten years and charts the course of one man’s life from steaming kitchens to illicit bedchambers, through battlefields and ancient magical woods. Expertly weaving fact with myth, Lawrence Norfolk creates a rich, complex and mesmerising story of seventeenth-century life, love and war. Read more about John Saturnall’s Feast here.
Esther Freud, author of Hideous Kinky, discusses the particular sense of community that groups of British expats create abroad. Her captivating new novel, Lucky Break, is about the world of acting, a world of ruthless ambition, uncertain alliances and the many-sided holy grail of success.
Andrea Stuart’s unique personal history, Sugar in the Blood, tells the story of her family’s involvement with sugar through the generations, a story of insatiable greed and forbidden love, of abuse and liberation. Four centuries ago, Andrea Stuart’s ancestor George Ashby ‘took ship’ for the New World. Stuart herself, of mixed race, migrates in the 1970s from Barbados to an unwelcoming Britain. Her memoir tells how generations have been irrevocably altered by ‘settlement, sugar production and slavery’.
Tuesday 22 May, 6pm for 6.30pm at 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP. More information and ticket purchase (£10/£7 Granta subscribers/£5 students) here.
The Intelligence Squared Bloomsbury Book Club with Edmund White
Edmund White, one of America’s finest writers, joins us to discuss his latest book, Jack Holmes and His Friend – a tantalizing story of male friendship set in seventies New York during the watershed era of gay liberation and through the catastrophe of AIDS. Join us for an intimate evening of wine and discussion with the author at Bloomsbury. Tickets cost £30 and include a first edition hardback copy of the book, posted to you so you can read it before the event and signed for you personally by Edmund White on the night.
Jack Holmes and his Friend deploys Edmund White’s wonderful perceptions of American society to dazzling effect, as character after character is delicately and colourfully rendered and one social milieu after another glows in the reader’s mind. He is a connoisseur of the nuances of personality and mood, and here unveils his very human cast in all their radical individuality. New York itself is a principle character with its old society and its bohemians rich and poor, with its sleek European immigrants and its rough-and-tumble transplanted Midwesterners. With narrative daring and a gifted sense of the rueful submerged drama of life, the novel is a beautifully sculpted exploration of sexuality and sensibility.
Edmund White is the author of many novels as well as non-fiction and literary biography. He is an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a recipient of the Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New York and teaches at Princeton University. His acclaimed autobiography, My Lives, was published in 2006 (Bloomsbury).
Thursday 31 May, 6pm for 6.30pm at 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP. More information and ticket purchase (£30, including first edition hardback book) here.