Literature Matters: In the Moment

Photographs of Jay Bernard and James Graham

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With Jay Bernard, James Graham and Ali Smith. Chaired by Matthew Sweet.

Making art from real events is as old to writing as the pen; older. But what happens when the events you are writing about have taken place recently, or are happening as you write? What are the writer’s duties to fact? And how does a writer bring insights from current events to bear on the historical contexts of their work? 

Ali Smith has published three novels in a four-novel seasonal cycle, Autumn, Winter and Spring, exploring time, society and art in the context of Brexit Britain. Her books take the most of-the-moment political and social developments into the world of the novel.
Jay Bernard’s collection, Surge, is a fearless exploration of the black British archive, drawing its enquiry into the New Cross Fire in 1981 alongside the 2017 Grenfell disaster.
James Graham’s play The Vote takes place in the last 90 minutes before polls close in the 2015 General Election, and was broadcast live on Channel 4 on election night. His recent drama for Channel 4, Brexit: The Uncivil War, explored the very recent history of the Brexit referendum.
Matthew Sweet is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His book Shepperton Babylon: The Lost Worlds of British Cinema is a history of the British film business from days of silent film. He is a regular presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking

This event will be British Sign Language interpreted.

This event will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme and available as an Arts and Ideas podcast.

In partnership with The Royal Society of Literature


Copy of 2019 Cultural Events Running EMR (Edna)
In partnership with The Royal Society of Literature
Screen reader support enabled.
In partnership with The Royal Society of Literature


Name: Literature Matters: In the Moment
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £16.00
Member: £16.00
Senior 60+: £14.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Disabled: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
18-25: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546