Jen Campbell

October Events at Blackwell’s

Attenborough panorama high res

Queues round the Norrington Room when David Attenborough came to sign. Click on the photo to enlarge

James is our Events manager. He has been very busy:

We’re slowly creeping into our busiest and most exciting period in our events programme. October sees us welcoming in for talks, among many others, Peter F. Hamilton, Deborah Levy and Juliet Barker…in fact, we pretty much have some on everything single weekday throughout the month!

Marina-Keegan-portrait-009One special inclusion is a celebration of Marina Keegan’s book, ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’ on Saturday 25th October, the day that would have been Marina’s 25th birthday if she hadn’t been tragically killed in an accident, not long after writing her wonderful essay. Joining us for this special evening will be Jason Cowley, editor of The New Statesman and Suzanne Baboneu, managing director of Simon & Schuster. Marina’s parents will be flying over from the States and will read from the book. I can promise a very moving and yet incredibly uplifting talk.

October also sees the 3rd session in our ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ talks, from Monday 13th to Friday 17th at 3pm each day in the Norrington Room. See our talks from last October on our Youtube channel. These are FREE 20 minute talks  by leading academics. for this series we have Professor Danny Dorling, Will Hutton and Marianne Talbot. Keep your eyes on our events page for the full listing!

bambREADYBooks are my Bag, the national celebration of bookshops, takes place on Saturday 11th but for us begins with  a talk in the Norrington Room by legendary Science Fiction author Peter F. Hamilton for his new book ‘The Abyss Beyond Dreams’on Friday 10th. For the actual day we are flinging our doors wide open to visitors and authors alike! Confirmed honorary booksellers for the day include Robin Stevens, Ali Shaw, Susie Day and Sally Nichols. The day will be a celebration of books, reading and of course bookshops. There will be cake!

1472116666Following on from this we have a panel discussion on the 16th to ponder on the bookselling world in the year 2114, and how and if it will have drastically changed for better or worse. Our panel includes author of ‘The Bookshop Book’, Jen Campbell; founder of Oneworld Publications,Juliet Mabey;  author of the bestselling ‘Etymologicon’, Mark Forsyth; Manager of our famous Norrington Room Ulric Van Den Boegarde; Publisher and Author of ‘Turning the Page’, Angus Phillips; the author of ‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ Andy Miller and ex-bookseller Monty Kimball-Evans.

And that’s just the beginning. To see what other literary delights we have in store for you, including Marilynne Robinson and a unique presentation of War Horse with Michael Morpurgo, please visit our Oxford author events page  or pick up a leaflet when you next visit us. You can sign up to our mailing list by emailing oxford.events@blackwell.co.uk We’d love you see at one or more of our events!

Jen Campbell tells us why Alice means so much to her

This coming weekend Oxford dons top hats, blue dresses and all sorts of other weird and wonderful garb to celebrate all things Alice. Visitors flock from all over and the city becomes a wonderful hub of eccentricity, fun and activity. It is clear that Alice holds a very special place in the affections of people from all over the world, but why? Who better to answer this question than our very own Alice –  author, poet, blogger and all around ball of loveliness Jen Campbell.  Ahead of the day itself hear what it is about Alice that created such an impression on Jen:

I came to Alice (and Peter Pan, come to think of it), rather late in life – well, in my teenage years. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I should sue my parents. I did see the Disney version of both but, as we know, what Disney portrays is not really what the books are all about. The 1950s Disney Alice is good, but if you want to see something as weird, wacky and (quite frankly) screwed up as the book, then you should check out Jan Svankmajer’s ‘Alice’ Here’s the Jabberwocky If that doesn’t mess with your head then I don’t know what will.

 I wrote my English Literature dissertation on growing up as a sin in children’s literature [so: Peter Pan, Narnia, His Dark Materials, all that jazz]. It’s a fascinating subject. Is it the children who don’t want to grow up, or the adults who wish they hadn’t?

 ‘”Be a man, Michael,” Mr. Darling said.

“Won’t, won’t!” Michael cried naughtily.

Both Alice and Peter Pan have an underlying darkness. In the play of Peter Pan, stage instructions insist that Mr. Darling is played by the same person as Captain Hook, and that Peter is played by a girl. So, Peter is Wendy’s youth, fighting her father because he wants her to grow up and move into a single bedroom. A bit twisted, no?

Lewis Carroll wrote Alice for Alice Liddell, a young girl he was fascinated with. He didn’t want her to grow up and, consequently, Alice never really knows who she is, where she is, or how grown up she should be.

 ‘I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I must have changed several times since then!’

 “Speak in French when you can’t think of the English for a thing–
turn your toes out when you walk— And remember who you are!”

In the sequel, Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll himself is in the book as The White Knight, an old and frail man who Alice thinks is ridiculous. Alice Liddell herself had grown up and married. She’d hopped over the final gate and turned from a pawn into a queen. He wasn’t happy about it.

On lighter notes, Alice is a fascinating play on language, especially The Jabberwocky and the character of Humpty Dumpy. It’s like an Oscar Wilde feast.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,’ said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

 

“I see nobody on the road.” said Alice.
“I only wish I had such eyes,” the King remarked in a fretful tone. “To be able to see Nobody! And at such a distance too!”

 

Wonderland and the land beyond the Looking Glass are places to get lost in. To bury yourself in. To be pleasantly confused and surprised and completely swept away by. We’ve all got little [or large] parts of Alice inside us. Who the hell are we, and where exactly are we going? But, along the way, if there’s cake (hand it out first and cut it up afterwards!) and tea (happy unbirthday!), then uncertainty is quite ok with me.

 Jen Campbell
http://jen-campbell.blogspot.com 
http://www.twitter.com/aeroplanegirl

Jen will be with us on Saturday taking part in our continuous reading of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, along with a host of other authors, customers and booksellers. That is just one of the events that we have lined up on Saturday – do pop in and say Hi, you just never know who, or what, you might see…

 

Events in July at Blackwell’s Oxford

Another set of cracking bookshop events in July, music, storytelling, natural history, one of oue very best comic writers and Elizebetah espionage! It would be lovely to see you at any or all of these:

Tuesday 3rd July at 7pm

The Bookshop Band

Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford

Price: £5

The Bookshop Band write and perform songs inspired by books and the members of the band take it in turns to describe the inspiration for each song. During last year, they have completed 18 author events, and written 36 songs inspired by 21 diverse books.

The band is made up of three British musician/songwriters: Ben Please – part of indie-folk band Urusen who have recently recorded an album with platinum-selling producer Steve Osborne (KT Tunstall, The Happy Mondays, U2, Doves); Poppy Pitt – an artist and sculptor who also tours with her own band, Poppy and Friends; and Beth Porter – has played with Peter Gabriel, currently tours with Eliza Carthy and has recorded for Newton Faulkner, The Unthanks, and Maximo Park.

This promises to be a stunning evening and one that, we are sure, will be talked about for years to come…

Tickets cost £5 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. 01865 333623

 

 Thursday 5th July at 7pm

Walking the Landscapes of Britain

Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford

Price: £2

Philip Hughes will be joining us to discuss Tracks: Walking the Ancient Landscapes of Britain. This book focuses on eleven iconic walks across beautiful ancient areas in Britain, each expressed through Hughes’ artwork in paintings and drawings as well as maps, aerial photographs and short introductions about the surrounding area.

Tickets cost £2 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. 01865 333623

 

Saturday 7th July

Alice’s Day

Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford

Free activities throughout the day – come and join us!

Join us for a day of frabjous activities taking place in our magical children’s department here at Blackwell’s Bookshop from 11am – 5pm. Loose yourself in our all day storytelling of Alice in Wonderland or take part in our Alice trail in the Norrington Room. Be transformed by our face-painting artist or entertained by our comical Alice’s Day musicians. Have a balloon made by our balloon sculptress and get creative with our range of Alice themed craft activities, there’s lots to do for all the family and we hope you can join us!

Alice in Wonderland: The Big Story Read:

We’ll be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the telling of Alice in Wonderland with an all day reading of the story by a range of exciting special guests including children’s authors Sally Nichols, Steve Feasy, Jen Campbell and MG Harris! Drop in to listen to a chapter or stay all day to hear the story in full, join us in celebrating this wonderful occasion. If you are as mad as a hatter and would like to take part as a storyteller, a sign up sheet is on display in the children’s department, please sign up before Alice’s Day to have a guaranteed place

For further information, please telephone our Children’s Department: 01865 333694

 

Friday 13th July at 1.00pm

Lunchtime book signing:

Jasper Fforde / The Woman Who Died a Lot 

This is the new Thursday Next novel from Number One bestselling author Jasper Fforde.

The BookWorld’s leading enforcement officer Thursday Next is four months into an enforced semi-retirement following an assassination attempt. She returns home to Swindon for what you’d expect to be a time of recuperation. If only life were that simple.

Thursday is faced with an array of family problems – son Friday’s lack of focus since his career in the Chronoguard was relegated to a might-have-been, daughter Tuesday’s difficulty perfecting the Anti-Smote shield needed to thwart an angry Deity’s promise to wipe Swindon off the face of the earth, and Jenny, who doesn’t exist.

And that’s not all. With Goliath attempting to replace Thursday at every opportunity with synthetic Thursdays, the prediction that Friday’s Destiny-Aware colleagues will die in mysterious circumstances, and a looming meteorite that could destroy all human life on earth, Thursday’s retirement is going to be anything but easy.

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring out of the window and chewing the end of a pencil. He lives and works in Wales and has a passion for aviation.

All are welcome, no booking required, please just come along!

 

Wednesday 18th July at 7pm

Hugh Warwick / The Beauty in the Beast

Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford

Price: £2

The Beauty in the Beast is a delightful portrait of some of the UK’s best-loved wild animals and birds and the colourful enthusiasts who champion their causes. Meet the water vole-woman from Shropshire, the owl-man from Somerset and Gordon, the dancing toad-fancier. These and many other fabulously engaging characters carry a deep knowledge of their chosen species within a distinctly quirky shell. Other animals making an appearance include otters, bats, dolphins, dragonflies, foxes and adders. Hugh Warwick, animal enthusiast and hedgehog fanatic, writes a series of affectionate and lively homages to the animals of the British Isles, composed of fieldwork and interviews with the people who love and conserve them.

Tickets cost £2 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. 01865 333623

 

 

Thursday 19th July at 7pm

SJ Parris / Sacrilege

Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford

Price: £2

Perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom and The Name of the Rose, the third historical thriller featuring Giordano Bruno, heretic, philosopher and spy. In the pursuit of power, nothing is sacred! Summer, 1584. The Protestant Prince William of Orange has been assassinated by a fanatical Catholic, and there are whispers that Queen Elizabeth will be next. Fear haunts the streets of London, and plague is driving many citizens away. Giordano Bruno, radical philosopher and spy, chooses to remain, only to find that someone is following him through the city. Confronting his stalker, he realizes it is the woman he once loved — she is on the run, having been accused of murder. Bruno travels to Canterbury to help clear her name, and also on behalf of Sir Francis Walsingham. The Queen’s spymaster has long suspected Catholic influence in the ancient centre of pilgrimage, and instructs Bruno to work to expose any enemy plots. As Bruno begins his hunt for the real killer, he is drawn into the heart of a sinister conspiracy hiding in the shadow of England’s holiest shrine!

Tickets cost £2 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. 01865 333623

Bank Holiday joy, a day off?

A day off from the shop and thank you rain! A gloomy Bank Holiday Monday meant that I was able to have a guilt free day catching up on some of my favourite bookish blogs before settling down to get my teeth properly into a new biography of Ryszard Kapuscinski that Verso are publishing in September.

So where did I start? As is often the case I went first to The Guardian books pages – their commitment to the printed word cannot be doubted. A few things worthy of mention are a recently published interactive map of literary map of the UK (they are also wanting reviews of YOUR favourite bookshops – hint, hint!), a new noticeboard for local events, offers and literary landmarks and this review of Robert Macfarlane‘s ‘The Old Ways’ – after Mountains of the Mind and Wild Places the third in his self-described “loose trilogy about landscape and the human heart” I am not really an outdoorsy type but I cannot get enough of the writing of MacFarlane and his new book has the added bonus of a central character being one of England’s greatest poets, Edward Thomas. I also hopped over to the Guardian Books Blog where I had previously missed this article about how winning the Guardian First Book Award had a marked benefit for And Other Stories – a new publisher that deserves every break going. Remarkably, every single book that has so far been published by And Other Stories deserves to be bought, savoured and proselytised about. In fact buy two of each and give one to a deserving reader. They. Are. That. Good.

Then I saw this:

I forget now how I came across it but it made me smile. Then I saw another thing that made me smile – Bjork reading a book bigger than she is:
This photo was on AnOtherMag which I came to via Rare Autumn, a favourite blog of mine that is beautiful, gentle and always fresh. I also noticed their ‘I pledge to read the printed word’ button that I immediately added to our sidebar – it would gladden my heart if you were to do the same 😉
Ali Shaw is one of my favourite people in the world and his most recent post inspired by Franz Kafka, Vincent van Gogh, Douglas Hofstadter, DM Smith and Mother Nature did exactly what his posts always do to me – it made me feel humble, inspired and honoured to count him as a friend.
Another author that I am honoured to call a friend is the phenomenon that is Dan Holloway. His new blog The Cynical Self Publisher gives self-published authors plenty of nourishing food for thought on how they can best succeed in the dynamic world of author-as-publisher. It is a subject that fascinates me on a professional level – I have no doubt that there is a major role for a bookshop like ours to play a vital role in this arena. I’m still mulling on the details, but watch this space! The energy, insight and selflessness of Dan will be a beacon for many self-published authors and, also, for me. I am sure that he won’t mind…
Onwards to another favourite books site of mine – Rob Around Books. Rob is a literary evangelist and discards the tag of blogger. I am not going to argue with him. He, like many others, has a deep emotional relationship with books. Unlike many others he has impeccable taste and the talent and wherewithal to be one of the proselytisers-in-chief of the printed word on the Internet. I adored his review of Kevin Barry’s ‘Dark Lies the Island’ a collection of short stories from one of THE most exciting voices around at the moment. Keep up that fantastic work Rob!
With an eye on our need to be ‘more than a bookshop’ I skipped over to Jen Campbell’s blog – her impeccable taste and love of all things bookish is an inspiration for finding new, pretty things that our customers will love. Jen didn’t disappoint. She never does. And she is going to be our very own shop Alice on Alice’s Day on July 7th. The shop cannot wait to see her again…
By now I was itching to dive into the Kapuscinski biography but one more essential blog had to be visited. Melville House are an independent publisher based in New York. I have been a fan of their books and their blog for a long time. I have started an email correspondence with Dennis Johnson, the co-founder, and am unfeasibly excited about some of the plans that we are cooking up for our respective blogs. More, much more, to come on this. In the meantime you can get a flavour of just how much books matter read this As they say ‘That whale is out there, man!’
So, a morning of joy, inspiration and friendship. I am so very lucky that my job is my love, that a day off is never really a day off. Spread the love, book-lovers…
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Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops Re-enacted

Just a little taster of the Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops evening. Here Jen and Debs play the roles of customer and bookseller. More video of the evening can be found here

Spring Events at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford

Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford continues to bring you a magnificent selection of author events through the Spring. We look forward to seeing you at one – or more – of these very soon!

Tickets cost £2 for most events and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. Telephone 01865 333623, unless otherwise stated. Alternatively, please email: events.oxford@blackwell.co.uk

Jen Campbell

Tuesday 17th April at 7pm

Post-event wrap: We had a wonderful day with Jen – in the evening she spoke about her passion for books and bookselling, recited five stunning poems inspired by each floor of the shop and also played out some scenes from ‘Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops’ A snippet can be seen here

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Jen Campbell is a writer and a passionate bookseller. She is the author of the just-published Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops. She is also a poet, a Twitter phenomenon and a book-blogger. Jen will be here in the bookshop undertaking a one day writer’s residency on Tuesday 17th April, culminating in an evening event where she will discuss her new book and recite poems inspired by her day at Blackwell’s.

The Current State of Chinese Fiction

Wednesday 18th April at 7pm

Post-event wrap: As expected, an intriguing and enlightening evening. Although Tash Aw and Bi Feiyu were unable to join us the panel of three authors, two translators and one chairperson were more than enough to give a superb flavour of the modern state of Chinese fiction. Thank you Rebecca for allowing us the chance to host such an eye-opening event. A review of the evening can be found here 

In 2011, two Chinese authors made the shortlist of the high profile Man Booker International Prize. Is Chinese fiction flourishing as China realises its new economic ascendancy? Or are there barriers to creativity? And what is the definition of a ‘Chinese’ writer?

We are bringing together five writers to take part in a very rare and special panel discussion about “The Current State of Chinese Fiction” – two acclaimed China-based novelists, Bi Feiyu and Li Er will be in conversation with renowned Chinese writers living in Europe, Ma Jian and Yan Geling, and Tash Aw, a Malaysian Taiwanese novelist who has been living in the UK since his teens.

Roman Krznaric: The Wonderbox

Thursday 19th April at 1pm

Post-event wrap: Really enjoyed a thought-provoking and charming presentation of how History can help us, on practical level, improve our lives day-to-day. The author focussed on Greek definitions of love and suggested 5 dead people to follow in 2012.

Drawing on his new book, The Wonderbox: Curious Histories of How to Live, cultural thinker and School of Life faculty member Roman Krznaric delves into the past to reveal the lessons that history offers for the art of living. What might we learn from the Ancient Greeks about the different varieties of love? What inspiration does the Renaissance offer for finding fulfilling work? How might a seventeenth-century Japanese Zen poet inspire us to live more deeply and creatively?

This is one of our lunchtime events which take place in the Norrington Room – there’s no cost and all are welcome.

Dennis O’Donnell: The Locked Ward

Thursday 3rd May at 7pm

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 The Locked Ward is an extraordinary memoir that sets out to reveal the true story of life in a psychiatric ward – the fear, the violence and despair, and also the care and the compassion. Recounting the stories of the patients he worked with, and those of the friends he made on the ward, O’Donnell provides a detailed account of day-to-day life behind the doors of the most feared and stigmatised environment in healthcare. We are hosting this event is in association with Mind Your Head Oxford, the mental health awareness campaign by Oxford University Student Union – http://mindyourheadoxford.wordpress.com/

Marilynne Robinson

Tuesday 15th May at 7pm

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 We are thrilled to announce a highlight of our Spring events calendar: Marilynne Robinson, one of our greatest living writers, will be in the shop at 7pm on Tuesday 15th May to talk about her new book, “When I Was a Child I Read Books”, a volume of essays about the big themes that permeate her writing – politics, religion, literature, human frailty. This is a rare opportunity to hear first-hand from the author of Houskeeping, Gilead, Home and Absence of Mind.

Tiokets cost £5. Please telephone our Customer Service Department on 01865 333623.

Diego Marani

Thursday 17th May at 7pm

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 Diego Marani is a man of many talents – a senior translator in the EU, a weekly columnist for a Swiss paper and creator of Europanto, a mock language. He also happens to be the author of one of this bookshop’s favourite novels of 2011 – New Finnish Grammar. It is therefore with great excitement that we are able to announce that Diego Marani will be with us talking about two newly translated novels “The Last of the Vostyachs” and “Las Adventures des Inspector Cabillot”.

“I can’t remember when I read a more extraordinary novel, or when I have been more tempted to use the word “genius” of its author” Nicholas Lezard on New Finnish Grammar

NEW EVENT ADDED:

Terry Eagleton

Tuesday 22nd May at 7pm

Is Marxism dead? Should it finally be buried? In ‘Why Marx Was Right’, controversial critic Terry Eagleton argues that Marx’s imperfect yet serious critique of capitalism is newly relevant in this global post-crash moment.

Terry Eagleton is currently Bailrigg Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster and Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Since the publication of ‘Marxism and Literary Criticism’ (1976) and ‘Literary Theory’ (1982) he has been recognised for producing highly informed, accessible works that explore the relationship between literature, history and society. Eagleton has also been praised for his humour, wit and graceful style. He was described byThe Independent as ‘the man who succeeded F. R. Leavis as Britain’s most influential academic critic.’

As he says in ‘Why Mark was Right’ “After all, if you do not resist the apparently inevitable, you will never know how inevitable the inevitable was.”

This promises to be a provocative and stimulating evening.

Tickets cost £4 and can be obtained by telephoning or visiting the Customer Service Department, Second Floor, Blackwell Bookshop, Oxford. 01865 333623

Wednesday 23rd May at 7pm

Tiffany Stern: ‘Such Place, such Men, such Language & such Ware’: The Theatre of London’s Fairs

It is often said that fairs presented cheap, secondary and ‘unliterary’ entertainment. Theatre, on the other hand, is said to be, though disliked by certain protestant factions, respectable, its high class literature ‘allowed’ by monarch and privy council. This talk will question both notions, reassessing fairground entertainments and showing how much they influenced drama – and vice versa. Looking at performing animals, puppets and magic tricks, it will show the role of popular culture in the works of Shakespeare and other playwrights. We are hosting this event is in association with OxBardFest 2012, the Oxford Shakespeare Festival, organised by the Oxford University Drama Society, which runs from 21st May-2nd June. http://facebook.com/oxfordshakespearefestival2012.

Liz Pichon: “Tom Gates”

Saturday 26th May at 10.30am

Pegasus Theatre, Oxford

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 Liz Pichon is the author of The Brilliant World of Tom Gates, Tom Gates Excellent Excuses and Everything’s Amazing (sort of) and this special event is guaranteed to have you laughing. Liz Pichon will be talking about her award winning series and how she created such a wonderful character. Before Liz Pichon went freelance “to do more illustration and less straight lines”, she studied graphic design at Middlesex Polytechnic and Camberwell School of Art in London and went on to work as a designer and art director for Jive records. She started writing her own stories when “the books I was being asked to illustrate didn’t make me laugh”. Liz Pichon has won National parent book award in the USA, the Smarties Book Prize Silver Award, and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2011.

Tickets cost £5 and can be obtained by telephoning the Pegasus Theatre Box Office on 01865 812150. Family tickets (max 4) are £15.

London in Verse

Wednesday 30th May at 7pm

London A History in Verse is the first anthology about London to offer a cultural history of the city through poetry, from its beginnings to present day. Poet Mark Ford has assembled the most capacious and wide-ranging anthology of poems about London to date, from Chaucer to Wordsworth to the present day, providing a chronological tour of urban life and of English literature. Many of the poems respond to large events in the city’s history—the beheading of Charles I, the Great Fire, the Blitz—but the majority reflect the quieter routines and anxieties of everyday life through the centuries. The result is a volume as rich and vibrant and diverse as London itself. This evening will feature readings from some of the more contemporary contributors: John Fuller, Jamie McKendrick, Heather Phillipson, and, of course, Mark Ford himself.

Iain Sinclair / Ghost Milk

Thursday 7th June at 7pm

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Following on from his extraordinary and bestselling documentary fiction, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire, Iain Sinclair sets out from the East London Olympic site – a ruin in the making – on the trail of other recent Grand Projects. The result is Ghost Milk. He presents a country-wide tour of grand projects, millennial follies and imposed-from-above schemes and presents portraits of visionary or subversive people clinging to the wreckage. Sinclair crosses territory and time like no other literary traveller, reporting back on the trouble to come and lamenting the ‘throwaway impermanence’ of our times. Iain Sinclair was born in Cardiff and studied in Dublin before moving to London. His early work was self-published, and he worked as a teacher and labourer while researching occult aspects of the city’s past. He is described on his website as “a British writer, documentarist, film maker, poet, flaneur, metropolitan prophet and urban shaman, keeper of lost cultures and futurologist.”