The Allure of Happy Endings

Hosted by the LSE Literary Festival

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building,


Dr Molly Crockett

Dr Molly Crockett

Professor Paul Dolan

Professor Paul Dolan

Sinéad Moriarty

Sinéad Moriarty


Jonathan Gibbs

Jonathan Gibbs

Why do we like the escapism of “happily ever after”? Can a sad ending ever be enjoyed in the same way? And how can works of fiction have such a powerful hold on our emotions?

Molly Crockett (@mollycrockett) is Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology, Fellow of Jesus College, and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, University of Oxford. She holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge and BSc in Neuroscience from UCLA. Prior to joining Oxford, Dr Crockett worked with economists and neuroscientists at the University of Zürich and University College London, studying human decision-making with the support of a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Paul Dolan (@profpauldolan) is an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behaviour and public policy and has over 100 peer-reviewed publications. He has worked with Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman at Princeton University, written the wellbeing questions for the Office for National Statistics, was seconded to the UK Cabinet Office, and he regularly advises global corporations on Behavioural Science.He is currently a Professor of Behavioural Science in the Department of Social Policy at LSE and Director of the new Executive MSc in Behavioural Science. Paul’s book Happiness by Design was published in August 2014.

Sinéad Moriarty (@sinead_moriarty) is a best-selling Irish novelist. Her first novel, The Baby Trail, a bitter-sweet story of a couple struggling to have a baby (inspired by her own early difficulties conceiving) was published in 2004 and has been translated into twenty languages. Other books include Me and My Sisters, This Child of Mine, Mad about You  and, most recently, The Way we Were. Sinéad Moriarty's novels have sold over half a million copies in Ireland and the UK. 

Jonathan Gibbs (@Tiny_Camels) is a writer and journalist, author of Randall, or The Painted Grape. His award-winning short fiction has been widely published. He studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he was awarded a Malcolm Bradbury memorial bursary, and has written on books for the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the TLS and elsewhere. He blogs at

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2016, taking place from Monday 22 - Saturday 27 February 2016, with the theme 'Utopias'.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSELitFest


A podcast of this event is available to download from The Allure of Happy Endings

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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