Sam Leith is literary editor at the Spectator, a columnist at the Financial Times and Prospect, and his work appears regularly in the Guardian, The Times and the TLS among others. His books include You Talkin' to Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama.
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World
Dubbed ‘one of the best writers in the world today’ by author Hanif Kureishi, novelist Elif Shafak has produced a work of great power and beauty. Sex worker Leila is dying, her body abandoned in a rubbish dump. In the last ten minutes 38 seconds of her life she recollects precious memories: spiced goat stew; bubbling vats of lemon and sugar; the cardamom coffee she shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Ea fading memory evokes her bittersweet life. Elif dis...
Going behind Closed Doors: Judging Book Prizes
Book prizes are almost as commonplace as book festivals. Shortlisted authors enjoy exposure and prestige and the winner tops it all with a substantial reward. But how are decisions actually reached? This event brings together literary award judges to disclose the inner secrets of book prize panels. Lisa Appignanesi, Natalie Haynes, Sam Leith and Erica Wagner will be held in check by neuroscientist Daniel Glaser...
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths that Explain our World
Evolutions, ‘a breath-taking race through the immense scope of time and space that is our universe’, brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, our journey from a single cell to the intricate complexities of the human mind. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies.
The Creation of a Female Writer
Is the novel an inherently feminine form? And is it a distinctive thing to be a female novelist or is that in itself a misogynistic idea? Focusing on the writing that best illustrates their careers, Tracy Chevalier, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen and Fay Weldon — with literary critic and token male Sam Leith — explore these and other questions such as: where do the voices in their fiction come from, and what does it give them (and take away)? Do they feel connected to fellow female novelists, liv...