Ballard's High-Rise at the British Library


• Original manuscripts and letters from the JG Ballard archive to go on display at the British Library, alongside key props and creative materials from the new film adaptation of High-Rise
• Special preview screening of High-Rise on Friday 11 March, a week ahead of its release in cinemas on 18 March
• Post-screening Q&A with director Ben Wheatley, producer and long-term associate of Ballard, Jeremy Thomas, and the author’s daughter, Bea Ballard
• A day of events celebrating the world of JG Ballard on Sunday 13 March, also including a preview screening of High-Rise

The British Library is proud to present a selection of special events to celebrate the film adaptation of JG Ballard’s modern classic High-Rise (certificate 15A), directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elisabeth Moss.

The British Library has been home to the JG Ballard archive since 2010. Ballard’s manuscripts, notebooks, letters, photographs and ephemera span 50 years and cover the full range of his output from The Drowned World (1962) to Miracles of Life (2008).

As part of his research before shooting High-Rise, director Ben Wheatley visited the British Library to view the archive, demonstrating what an important and influential source of insight and inspiration it continues to be to filmmakers, writers and researchers.

Wheatley said of seeing the archive:

“Seeing the manuscript for High-Rise was a giddy moment. I’ve never seen a real book before in the raw. To touch something the author has handled seemed serious and monumental. To see the amendments, the final settling of the text felt very personal. In the end the book is the book but it helped me feel closer to the author."

The Library will host a special preview screening of High-Rise at 18.30 on Friday 11 March, which will be followed by a Q&A with Ben Wheatley, daughter of the author Bea Ballard, and producer Jeremy Thomas – a close friend and collaborator with Ballard, and who also produced David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Crash (1996).

This will be followed by a day of Ballard-related events, Inner Space: JG Ballard in the Seventies, on Sunday 13 March,

This will be followed by a day of Ballard-related events, Inner Space: JG Ballard in the Seventies, on Sunday 13 March, including panel discussions with Ballard’s daughter, Fay Ballard, as well as writers, academics, collaborators and the creative team behind the film, covering topics such as the Brutalist architecture that forms the backdrop to much of Ballard’s work, and how the world of High-Rise was brought to the screen. There will also be another special preview screening of the film. For the full schedule, please visit the British Library’s What’s On pages.

To coincide with these events, from Monday 7 March visitors to the British Library will be able to view items from the Ballard archive, including the manuscript of High-Rise, alongside props and materials from the film, on display in the British Library’s free exhibition space, the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery.

Fay Ballard said of her father:

“My father believed that as a species, human beings need to be approached with caution, being at heart a half-civilized race and having more in common with our nearest relatives, the chimpanzees, than we like to think. He said we are brilliant, violent, romantic, cruel – superb parents and dangerous neighbours.

I am delighted to take part in this series of events celebrating his work at the British Library where his archive is open to all, and the fact that it is used widely would make my father smile."

Bea Ballard said:

“The British Library is a wonderful home for my father's manuscripts and papers, and so it is fitting that they are going to be celebrating the upcoming release of the movie adaptation of High-Rise. I'm delighted that they will be hosting this special screening and panel afterwards, with director Ben Wheatley and producer Jeremy Thomas - it will be fascinating to hear them discuss the challenge of bringing my father's work to the big screen, and I look forward to taking part in this discussion.

I'm also delighted that the British Library is holding a special day of events to explore my father's work in the Seventies in more depth. Both events should be unmissable for Ballard fans and for those discovering his work, and the unique contribution he has made to British and world literature."

To buy tickets for the preview screening on Friday 11 March or the day of events on Sunday 13 March, please visit the British Library website.

For press images from High-Rise, please visit STUDIOCANAL’s online press office.

Notes to Editors

High-Rise will be in cinemas from 18 March. Running time 118 minutes. You can view the trailer here:

Inner Space: JG Ballard in the Seventies - Sunday 13 March

10.30 -18.30, Conference Centre, £40, (£32, £28 concessions)

10.30   Registration. Coffee served

11.00               JG Ballard in the Seventies

An exceptional panel looks at the key themes and striking images of

Ballard’s 1970s oeuvre. With artist and elder daughter of JG Ballard Fay Ballard; Jeanette Baxter (Anglia Ruskin University, author of Visions and Revisions among other books on Ballard) and celebrated writer Iain Sinclair, who published a book on David Cronenberg’s Crash). Chaired by journalist Chris Hall, who interviewed Ballard on a number of occasions.

12.15               Crash

A screening of Crash (1971, 17mins) introduced by Harley Cokeliss, who directed it – and Ballard himself as lead actor – early in a long and varied career in film and television.

Followed by an introduction to the Crash archive at the British Library by curator Chris Beckett, who is preparing a forthcoming edition of the text that will incorporate draft material.

13.15               Lunch break

14.00               Brutalist architecture: its pleasures and its discontents

Writer and broadcaster Travis Elborough chairs a discussion on the powerful, controversial, and at their best, beautiful urban buildings characteristic of the 60s and 70s, which form a striking backdrop to Ballard’s novels of the period.  Speakers include John Grindrod, author of Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain.

15.10               High-Rise 

A special preview screening of High-Rise (Cert. 15A, 118 minutes), directed by Ben Wheatley, and starring Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Elisabeth Moss.

17.20               Creating High-Rise. Post screening Q&A

Meet the acclaimed designers behind the stunning visual impact of High-Rise – from its slick 70s stylings to everything that follows after.

18.30               Event ends.


The feature film High-Rise is a Jeremy Thomas, HanWay Films, Film4, BFI presentation, in association with Northern Ireland Screen, Ingenious Media, Scope Invest Producteurs and S Films, of a Recorded Picture Company production.



For more information:

Elsie King
The British Library
t: +44 (0)20 7412 7105

Evenings and weekends:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150

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