Donna Hemans on Bringing the Jamaican Immigrant Experience to Life: Mon 12 Oct

Join us as Donna Hemans, an award-winning writer from Jamaica and Washington, D.C., reads from her new novel, Tea by the Sea, described by bestselling author Marlon James as “a powder keg of a novel, where secrets and lies explode into truth and consequences, all told with spellbinding, shattering power.”

Donna Hemans will answer questions from Washington, DC

We go live here at 7:30 pm British time on Monday 12 October as Hemans read from her novel then answers questions from WiC’s Carole Burns and our live online audience, part of the University’s Black History Month programme.

From Brooklyn to the island of Jamaica, Tea by the Sea traces a mother’s circuitous route to finding the daughter taken from her at birth.

A seventeen-year-old taken from her mother at birth, an Episcopal priest with a daughter whose face he cannot bear to see, a mother weary of searching for her lost child: Tea by the Sea is their story—that of a family uniting and unraveling.

Jamaican-born Donna Hemans is also the author of the novel River Woman, winner of the 2003-4 Towson University Prize for Literature. Tea by the Sea, her second novel, won her the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature, and was listed in Ms. Magazine’s “June 2020 Reads for the Rest of Us.”

Writers Chevalier, Thompson, Hemans in Autumn Line-up

The author of the best-selling Girl with Pearl Earring. The writer of a critically acclaimed BBC drama about the Windrush scandal. A prize-winning Jamaican-American writer talking to us online from Washington, DC.

These writers – Tracy Chevalier, Stephen Thompson and Donna Hemans – are our guests this semester at Writers in Conversation, the literary reading series run by the English/Creative Writing department at the University of Southampton.

  • Author Donna Hemans
  • Tracy Chevalier in Winchester Cathedral

The reading and q-and-a events are online this year due to Covid, enabling us to talk to writers not in the UK – and having audience members from overseas as well. Do check here for online links to our events, once they are available.

Donna Hemans, whose second novel, Tea by the Sea, traces a mother’s circuitous route to finding a daughter taken from her at birth, will be our first guest on Monday 12 October 2020 at 7:30 pm. Hemans’ event will also be part of Black History Month events at the University of Southampton.

Stephen Thompson, whose TV drama about his brother’s threatened deporting during the UK’s Windrush scandal aired on BBC this summer, will be our next guest on Monday 16 November at 7:30 pm.

And Tracy Chevalier, whose most recent novel, A Single Thread, is set in Winchester and Southampton, will join us Saturday 21 November at 3:30 pm. These last two events are also part of the University’s Human Worlds Festival, run every year in conjunction with the UK-wide Being Human festival.

Check here for further information about each event, hosted by Carole Burns, the university’s head of creative writing, as well as links for you to join us on the night.

And also know we plan to record these events and post them on our Writers in Conversation Youtube channel.

WiC Highlights from 19-20 Season

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It seemed right to start off the season this past year with two of our own English graduates from the University of Southampton: the writer Ella Dove who visited campus with her agent Richard Pike to talk about her debut novel, Five Steps to Happy.

And the season continued with more fabulous conversation about writing: from Courttia Newland talking about Edna O’Brien’s story “Plunder” as an inspiration to his own; to Brian Dillon reading from the essay about his aunt which he admitted was going to require more words, maybe a book.

And finally, Judith Heneghan, whose novel, Snegurochka, was shortlisted later in the year for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing awards, talked about how her time in the Ukraine led to her debut novel.

We will be moving online for the Autumn, so look here for our guests, the format, and how you can join us – from pretty much anywhere! 

Carole Burns Head of Creative Writing, University of Southampton 

 

A Smashing Start to 2019 – Dr Devorah Baum, Eley Williams, and Gary Younge

Tuesday 5 February: Dr Devorah Baum

7 pm, John Hansard Gallery, Above Bar St., Southampton (verifying venue)

dr devorah baum (lq)

Dr. Devorah Baum’s recent book, Feeling Jewish (A Book for Just About Anyone) (Yale University Press), delves into fiction (especially American), film, and memoir to explore feelings that have been stereotypically associated with modern Jews – self-hatred, guilt, resentment, paranoia, anxiety, hysteria, overbearing maternal love – and analyses why such feelings may be increasingly common to us all as the pace of globalization leaves many feeling marginalized, uprooted, and existentially threatened.   She is a lecturer in English literature and critical theory, University of Southampton, and affiliate researcher with the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/Non‑Jewish Relations, and is also codirector of the creative documentary feature film The New Man

Monday 18 Feb, Prize-Winning Fiction Writer Eley Williams

7:30 pm, Nuffield Theatre Café  – Campus venue

eley williamsEley Williams’Attrib. and other stories (Influx Press, 2017) was awarded the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize 2018. With stories anthologised in The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story (Penguin Classics, 2018) and Liberating the Canon (Dostoevsky Wannabe, 2018), she is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony and the Royal Society of Literature.

Monday 11 March, Guardian journalist Gary Younge

7:30 pm, Nuffield Theatre Café  – Campus venue (verifying venue)gary younge

Gary Younge is an award-winning author, broadcaster and columnist for The Guardian, based in London. He also writes a monthly column, Beneath the Radar, for the Nation magazine and is the Alfred Knobler Fellow for The Nation Institute. He has written five books: Another Day in the Death of America, A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives; The Speech, The Story Behind Martin Luther King’s Dream; Who Are We?, And Should it Matter in the 21st century; Stranger in a Strange Land, Travels in the Disunited States and No Place Like Home, A Black Briton’s Journey Through the Deep South. He has made several radio and television documentaries on subjects ranging from gay marriage to Brexit.

 

VENUE INFORMATION

As two of our venues have yet to be confirmed, please follow our twitter and facebook for updates and information.

 

Patrice Lawrence, Katherine Stansfield and more for Autumn 2018!

Tuesday 9 October 2018: Patrice Lawrence

Patrice Lawrence is an award-winning writer, whose debut YA novel, Orangeboy, won the Bookseller YA Prize and the Waterstones Prize for Older Children’s Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and many regional awards. Indigo Donut, her second book, was shortlisted for the Bookseller YA Prize, was Book of the Week in The Times, The Sunday Times and The Observer, and was one of The Times‘ top children’s books in 2017. Both books have been nominated for the Carnegie Award.

Patrice was born in Brighton, brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian family in mid-Sussex, and now lives in East London with her daughter, partner and Stormageddon, the tabby.

“Lawrence is a vibrant, accomplished storyteller… but what really sets her writing apart is her skill in getting to the raw heart of her characters.” – The Observer

Lawrence will read from Indigo Donut followed by a q-and-a with Carole Burns, head of creative writing at the University of Southampton and herself a writer.

Tuesday 30 October 2018: Katherine Stansfield

Katherine Stansfield is a novelist and poet who grew up in Cornwall and now lives in Cardiff. Her historical crime series Cornish Mysteries is published by Allison & Busby: think X Files meets Sherlock Holmes meets Daphne du Maurier. Book two in the series, The Magpie Tree, is out now. Her literary novel, The Visitor, was published by Parthian; her poetry, including her debut collection, Playing House, and the upcoming We Could Be Anywhere By Now, is published by Seren Books.

Stansfield is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Cardiff University, where she also teaches the Writing Crime Fiction course for the university’s School of Continuing and Professional Education. She is an Associate Lecturer for the Open University’s new MA in Creative Writing, a Writing Fellow at the University of South Wales, and a mentor for Literature Wales.

She will read from The Magpie Tree before talking about writing in such diverse forms with Carole Burns, head of creative writing at the University of Southampton and herself a writer.

Tuesday 27 November 2018: Four Writers from Southampton’s PhD Creative Writing

The English department at the University of Southampton has a thriving PhD programme, including a Creative Writing pathway. Two writers who have completed their PhDs – Dr. Jenn Shaller and Dr. Aiysha Jahan – join two writers who are still studying in the programme – Alice Stinetorf and Kostas Kalstas – in this special Writers in Conversation that explores how writing can be expanded, explored and developed with a PhD programme.

Aiysha Jahan is a short fiction writer who completed her PhD in 2017: I Cast no Shadow, a collection of short stories inspired by Dubai’s unique third culture kid experience. She has worked as at associate lecturer in English at the University of Southampton and her fiction has been published in Critical Muslim and elsewhere.

Alice Stinetorf’s work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Best of Ohio Short Stories, and elsewhere, garnering awards including an Arkansas Arts Council literary arts fellowship. She is currently drafting a historical novel and editing her collection of linked short fiction.

Kostas Kaltsas’s PhD is funded by the AHRC via the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. His translations into Greek include Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn and David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (forthcoming).

Jenn Shaller is a short fiction writer who completed their PhD in 2018: Kiss Your Comrades, a set of linked trans narratives exploring the intersections of gender, neurodivergence, and queer kinship. They are interested in the short form, representations of marginalised experience, and storytelling as a political act. Most recently, they were published with Persephone’s Daughter’s Literary Magazine.

 

All events will be held at the John Hansard Gallery and FREE for everyone. We hope to see you there!

Jennifer Egan Headlines Autumn Season

Jennifer Egan 3Best-selling American novelist Jennifer Egan will read from her first book since A Visit From the Goon Squad won her the Pulitzer Prize this autumn, headlining our Writers in Conversation autumn season.

Egan will read from her new novel, Manhattan Beach, at a special WiC event on Sunday 12 November at 6:30 pm, being co-sponsored by the University of Southampton’s Human Worlds Festival.

Egan is joined by three other wonderful writers this autumn.

Booker-shortlisted novelist Rachel Seiffert, named one of the Granta Best of Young British Novelists, will read and discuss her new novel, A Boy in Winter, on Monday 16 October, in our usual location at the Nuffield café.

Alex WheatleLondon writer Alex Wheatle, winner of the 2016 Guardian children’s fiction prize, will read from and discuss Straight Outta Crongton, the latest of his award-winning Crongton sequence of books for teen-agers, on Monday 30 October.

Renowned Southampton writer and University of Southampton creative writing professor Philip Hoare will read from and discuss his new book, RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR, on Monday 4 December.

Tickets are just £5 for non-University guests, and can be purchased at the Nuffield Southampton Theatres Web site.

All events are held on campus at Nuffield Southampton Theatre’s cafe, except for  Jennifer Egan’s event, which is starting at 6:30 p.m. at the university’s Avenue campus.

 

 

 

Claire Fuller, Tyler Keevil, Evan Placey Featured in Spring

Novelist and short story writer Tyler Keevil, winner of the $10,000 Journey Prize for a story in his recent collection, Burrard Inlet, will read and discuss his work on Monday 30 January at NST Theatres to kick up our Spring Writers in Conversation events.

evan-placey_avatar_1429535618
Evan Placey

On February 13 by prize-winning playwright and University of Southampton lecturer Evan Placey, who will talk about his work after members ofthe NST Youth Theatre perform a scene from his play, Consensual. Consensual is being performed at NST Jan. 19 – 21.

claire-fuller-colour
Claire Fuller

 

 

Claire Fuller, winner of the 2015 Desmond Elliot prize for her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, will read from her new novel, Swimming Lessons, on March 13.

Tickets for our events with Tyler Keevil, Evan Placey and Claire Fuller may be purchased now via the NST Theatre Website.

Hope to see you at an event soon, and in the meantime, happy reading!

Win a Book by a WiC author

Writers in Conversation is so pleased with the fabulous turnout we’ve had this semester jane-austen-writers-club2for Rebecca Smith and Philip Hensher’s events at Nuffield Theatre, we’d like to thank you — by giving away a book.

You may win a free download of Rebecca Smith’s The Jane Austen Writers’ Club by simply emailing us at WritersInConversation@gmail.com.  Put  ‘Audio Book Competition Entry’ in the Subject line.

But be sure to enter before our next event:  On Monday 5 December, we have Helen Macdonald, the author of H Is for Hawk, reading at the Nuffield Theatre. Tickets for Helen’s event are £12,h-is-for-hawk-with-costa-sticker bookable at the  Nuffield Web site.

Please note, by entering the competition you are agreeing to be added to our mailing list. We will not share your details with any third parties. If you don’t wish to be added, simply let us know in the email.

The competition will close at midnight on Monday 5th December, and a winner will be chosen at random and notified via Facebook and email on Tuesday 6th.

Autumn Series 2016 – New Semester, New Line Up, New Blog

(Helen Macdonald photo credit: Marzena Porgozaly)

A new semester here at the University of Southampton sees the return of Writers in Conversation, with a brand new line up of brilliant authors ready to read from and discuss their work.

The series begins on Monday 3rd October with University of Southampton lecturer Rebecca Smith, author of three novels as well as Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas. Rebecca will be discussing her newest book, The Jane Austen Writers’ Club, offering new insights into the writings of one of the world’s best-loved novelists. A must for any Austen fans!

In November, we then welcome Philip Hensher, whose novels have won the Somerset Maugham Award and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He also edited The Penguin Book of the British Short Story: 1: From Daniel Defoe to John Buchan. He writes that he is drawn to the rich techniques of realism, as well as to disruptive forms and incomplete gestures more characteristic of contemporary writing. He also writes regularly for the Independent, the Mail on Sunday and the Spectator. Sure to be a very interesting evening of discussion.

To finish this autumn series, in December we make a brief move from our normal home of Nuffield Kitchen to the main Nuffield Theatre, where we welcome Helen Macdonald, author of the best-selling H Is for Hawk, the moving account of her grief over her father’s death and her training of the goshawk Mabel which won the Costa Book Award 2014 and The Samuel Johnson Prize 2014. Besides being a writer, poet and illustrator, Macdonald is also a naturalist, historian and professional falconer. A very special event, and definitely not one to be missed.

Our line up is not the only new appearance at Writers in Conversation. Alongside our existing Facebook page, we now have our own Twitter account, as well as this brand new blog. New photos, write-ups and updates will be regularly posted here and on our other social media accounts, so check back regularly to keep up to date with all our literary goings-on! To the right-hand side you can also find a list of upcoming dates and links to our social media accounts, so you’ll never need to look far to find your next fix of Writers in Conversation.

Hope to see you at an event soon, and in the meantime, happy reading!