Fact versus Fiction? The Spanish Civil War in the Literary Imagination

Hosted by the Cañada Blanch Centre and LSE Literary Festival

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building,


Professor Helen Graham

Professor Helen Graham

Eduardo Mendoza

Eduardo Mendoza

Professor Paul Preston

Professor Paul Preston

Marking the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, our panel of prominent historians as well as one of Spain's most important novelists will explore the effect of the war on the literary imagination from George Orwell to the present day and reflect on the challenges of incorporating real events into fiction.

Helen Graham is Professor of Spanish History at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her books include The Spanish Republic at War, The Spanish Civil War. A Very Short Introduction and The War and its Shadow. Spain’s Civil War in Europe’s Long Twentieth Century. She is currently completing Lives at the Limit, a set of innovative, interlocking biographies of five lives from Europe’s dark mid-twentieth century, all of which were involved in the defence of the Spanish Republic and its defeat in 1939. 

Eduardo Mendoza is a Spanish novelist, whose acclaimed works include The City of Marvels, No Word from Gurb, The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt  , The Olive Labyrinth and An Englishman in Madrid. He studied Law and worked as an U.N. interpreter in the United States for nine years. Widely considered to be one of Spain's leading contemporary novelists, he has won many literary prizes internationally.

Paul Preston is Professor of Contemporary Spanish Studies and Director of Cañada Blanch Centre at LSE. His many books include Juan CarlosThe Spanish Civil War  and The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain, which was selected as the Sunday Times History Book of the Year for 2012. In 2006 he was awarded the International Ramon Llull Prize by the Catalan Government. He was decorated by Spanish King Juan Carlos a ‘Comendador de la Orden de Mérito Civil’ and in 2007, the ‘Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica’. In 2000 he was awarded a CBE.

The Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies is part of the European Institute at LSE and is the focus of a flourishing interest in contemporary Spain in Britain.

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 Fact versus Fiction? The Spanish Civil War in the Literary Imagination

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