The Talk: “The True Story of a Life-changing Trek on the Great Wall of China “
Béatrice Crawford will take you with her on the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China to climb thousands of steps in the grandiose scenery of the Yanshan Mountains. You will share her joy at throwing off the shackles of her past to walk under the bright sky of the future.
Béatrice Crawford comes from Paris, lived in California for seventeen years, and has lived in Oxford since 1998. She read German at the Sorbonne and at Stanford University, where she wrote an MA thesis in German on Kafka and a PhD thesis in French on Ronsard. She taught French literature at Stanford University and at Birmingham University.
Her familiarity with three cultures and languages makes her eager to explore the power of words. She is a narrative non-fiction writer who looks at her life from different angles in her travel memoir, Voices on the Great Wall.
The Talk: “Instead of a Memoir”
“Margaret Drabble talks about writing late in life. Many novelists and biographers turn to autobiography in their later years, but some find this very problematic. She will review her own long career in fiction, and what relationship fiction holds with biography and fact.”
“Margaret Drabble, D.B.E., novelist and critic, was born in Sheffield in 1939 and educated at Newnham College, Cambridge. After a brief and inglorious career as an actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she published her first novel, A Summer Bird-Cage, in 1963. This was followed by eighteen others, including The Millstone (1965), The Pure Gold Baby (2013), and The Dark Flood Rises (2016). Her short stories, A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, were published in 2011. She edited The Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985) and wrote biographies of Arnold Bennett (1974) and Angus Wilson (1995). She is married to the biographer Michael Holroyd.”
The Talk: “Having the Last Word”
“What are the ethics of writing about family history, particularly when your subjects are dead and can’t answer back?”
“Adam Mars-Jones is Research Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. Apart from the memoir Kid Gloves, his books include the semi-infinite novel series Pilcrow and Noriko Smiling, his book-length study of a classic Japanese film.”