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Literary Festival 2014: Voices of the Great War


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Speaker(s): Tobias Hill, Michael Longley, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Louisa Young
Chair: Peter Parker

Recorded on 1 March 2014 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

One hundred years after the outbreak of the Great War, Sebastian Faulks, whose novel Birdsong has sold over 2.5 million copies, introduces four writers, and the pieces of First World War literature that mean most to them. The poet and fiction writer Tobias Hill, described by A.S. Byatt as one of the ‘most original and interesting’ novelists writing in Britain today, looks at Alain Fournier’s Le Grand Meaulnes. The Northern Irish poet Michael Longley, whose father was awarded the Military Cross for Gallantry during the First World War, reads from the poetry of Robert Graves, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon and Edward Thomas. Timberlake Wertenbaker, whose most recent play, Our Ajax, looks at the trauma of modern warfare, explains how she was marked by Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy. And Louisa Young, author of the bestselling First World War novel My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You, considers The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West.

Tobias Hill has been selected as one of the country’s Next Generation poets and shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. What Was Promised is his fifth novel.

Michael Longley is one of Northern Ireland’s foremost contemporary poets, awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2001.

Timberlake Wertenbaker is a British playwright, screenplay writer and translator. Her plays include most recently Our Ajax which looks at the trauma of modern warfare.

Louisa Young (@rileypurefoy) is author of the bestselling First World War novel My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You.

Peter Parker is the author of The Last Veteran, The Old Lie: The Great War and the Public-School Ethos and biographies of J.R. Ackerley and Christopher Isherwood.

This event is organised in association with the Royal Society of Literature (@RSLiterature).

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.

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