The Political Novel

Hosted by the Royal Society of Literature and LSE Literary Festival

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building,


Robert Harris

Robert Harris


Peter Kemp

Growing up on a Nottingham council estate, Robert Harris's burning ambition to write was matched only by his deep fascination with politics. Aged 30, he became political editor of The Observer; aged 35 he published Fatherland, in which he imagines a world in which the Nazis have won the war. It sold over 3 million copies. Harris was an early and enthusiastic backer of Tony Blair, but they fell out over the Iraq war, in the wake of which he wrote The Ghost, about a man murdered in the middle of ghost-writing the autobiography of a recently unseated Prime Minister. Last autumn, he published Dictator, the final book in a trilogy about Cicero. In conversation with Peter Kemp, Chief Fiction Reviewer of the Sunday Times, he explores his belief that politics is “the essence of life”, discusses which other writers have influenced him, and questions whether he was ever tempted to turn to parliament rather than the pen.

Robert Harris (@Robert___Harris) is the author of eight bestselling novels including The GhostThe Fear Index and most recentlyDictator, the conclusion to his Cicero trilogy. Several of his books have been filmed, including The Ghost, which was directed by Roman Polanski.

Peter Kemp is Chief Fiction Reviewer of the Sunday Times,  a position he has held since 1991.  He was also Fiction Editor of the Sunday Times from 1994 to 2010 and theatre reviewer for the Independent from its launch in 1987 to 1991. He is Visiting Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford.

This event is organised in association with the Royal Society of Literature (@RSLiterature). Membership of the Royal Society of Literature is open to all. For just £50 per annum, it offers free entry to over 20 events each year. Speakers for 2016 include Simon Armitage, Gillian Clarke, Claire Harman, Alan Hollinghurst, Mimi Khalvati, Paul Muldoon, Don Paterson, Jo Shapcott, Michael Symmons Roberts and Rowan Williams.

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 Political Novel

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