Giants of Literature: Wisdom in Fiction

Giants of Literature: Wisdom in Fiction

In her landmark 2020 Book Festival event, Turkish writer Elif Shafak reflected that, distinct from information, and even knowledge, ‘wisdom requires bringing the heart and the mind together: it requires emotional intelligence; it requires empathy; and for that we need stories and the art of storytelling.’ This year we are delighted to welcome some of the most exciting voices of literature to our stages and screens to impart their wisdom with us. With our newsfeeds crammed with anxiety-inducing stories, and world events often looking like the pitch for a disaster movie, where can we go to find some perspective? Great stories – the ones that stay with us long after the last page is turned – provide unique landscapes and narratives to help us properly process big issues, allowing us to reflect on and embrace different perspectives. Absorbing such stories is indeed absorbing wisdom and we are thrilled to impart some of the best with you this August.

 

Mariana Enríquez: Argentina's Ghoulish Underbelly

Saturday 14 August 19:15 - 20:15

There is a new generation of Latin American women whose stylish, gothic writing is finding enthusiastic readers all over the world. Alongside Chile’s Lina Meruane and Mexico’s Valeria Luiselli, Argentina has produced a cornucopia of talents...
 

Richard Flanagan: Life Support Systems

Monday 16 August 10:15 - 11:00

Many miles to the south of Australia, Tasmania is best known for its island splendour, Indigenous cultures and its rich biodiversity. But since 2014 it has enjoyed a new claim to fame: Hobart-based Booker Prize-winner Richard Flanagan. Following up on...
 

Maria Stepanova: Memory Palaces

Wednesday 18 August 13:00 - 14:00

She has won most of the literary awards in her home country of Russia, and this year Maria Stepanova – along with her translator Sasha Dugdale – was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize. One reviewer has even suggested that before long she...
Iman Mersal is a major figure in international literature, an Egyptian poet whose work is characterised by her ardently experimental style. Her latest novel, Fee Athar Enayat Al Zayyat (In the Footsteps of Enayat Al-Zayyat), was published in 2019 and...
 

Alan Warner: Confessions of a Rock Groupie

Thursday 19 August 11:30 - 12:30

1970s England – the days of glam rock, then punk rock; of Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and Branston Pickle. This is the period Alan Warner sets his novel Kitchenly 434. The place: a remote country house owned by one of the world’s best-known rock stars,...
 

David Grossman with Elif Shafak: Duty or Love?

Thursday 19 August 13:15 - 14:15

According to writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez, 'Nobody can see the political in the personal like David Grossman. He is an interpreter of hearts and an investigator of social forces. Every book he writes is a revelation.' Inspired by the true story told to...
Sligo, Leitrim and Limerick are some of Ireland’s smaller, less populated counties. So what did they do to deserve the talents of Kevin Barry? The answer lies in the tender and humorous short stories of Barry’s newest collection, That Old Country...
 

Pat Barker: The Women of Troy

Saturday 21 August 16:00 - 17:00

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Ever since winning the Booker Prize in 1995 for the third book in her Regeneration Trilogy, Pat Barker has demonstrated an uncanny ability to describe the psychology of individuals during times of conflict. In 2019 Barker published The Silence of the...
 

Rachel Cusk: Home Truths

Saturday 21 August 17:15 - 18:15

‘You know when you’re reading a page of Rachel Cusk’s fiction,’ says a reviewer for The New York Times: ‘Her narrators tug insistently if coolly at the central knots of being.’ Readers of Cusk’s acclaimed Outline trilogy will recognise...
Winning the Booker Prize in 2019 changed everything for Bernardine Evaristo. But as well as enjoying international fame for herself, Evaristo has been able to turn up the volume on something she has been doing for years: championing the work of...

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