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The Royal Literary Fund and the Struggling Author

David Williams (1738-1816) by John Francis Rigaud  © Royal Literary Fund

When: Fri 9 May 2014, 18.30-19.30

Where: Conference Centre, British Library

Price: £5, (£4 Over 60s) and £3

Book now for 09 May 2014

Writers, like artists, are often described as ‘struggling’. While this term is often linked to the creative process of their craft, it can also define the economic situation in which many writers find themselves. The Royal Literary Fund was set up in 1790 to provide aid to authors in financial difficulties. At this event, Sir Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning writer and the Fund’s President introduces a discussion on the Fund’s two centuries of assisting struggling authors chaired by James Walton. Claire Tomalin, Jeremy Lewis and Richard Holmes will made up this panel of distinguished writers exploring the perils of authorship.

James Walton writes and chairs Radio 4's literary quiz, The Write Stuff. His book reviews have appeared in the Spectator, the Daily Telegraph, the TLS and the New York Review of Books. He is the author of The Faber Book of Smoking and Sonnets, Bonnets and Bennetts: A Literary Quiz Book, also published by Faber.

Claire Tomalin has worked in publishing and journalism all her life, becoming literary editor of the New Statesman and then the Sunday Times. She is the author of many acclaimed biographies, including: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft; Shelley and His World; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life; The Invisible Woman, and authoritative lives of Samuel Pepys, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. She has been awarded many prizes and several honorary degrees.

Jeremy Lewis is a publisher and biographer. He was a director of Chatto & Windus and the deputy editor of the London Magazine. He is commissioning editor of the Oldie and the editor-at-large of the Literary Review. He has written three volumes of autobiography and biographies of Cyril Connolly, Tobias Smollett, Allen Lane and the Greene family. He is currently writing a biography of David Astor of the Observer for Jonathan Cape.

Richard Holmes is a British author best-known for his biographical studies of major figures of English and French Romanticism, including acclaimed biographies of Coleridge and Shelley.His book, The Age of Wonder won the Royal Society Science Books Prize, and has been translated into Arabic, Chinese and Russian. He was the first Professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia, and is now a Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.

In partnership with the Royal Literary Fund