June 2017 marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in the series that was to change the landscape of children’s literature publishing worldwide. To celebrate this anniversary, the final BookTalk of the session is inviting three literature scholars to explore the phenomenal growth and global impact of the series in the years since the release of The Philosopher’s Stone.
Our May 2017 BookTalk event celebrates the 2017 Year of Legends initiative by bringing together four Cardiff University scholars who will discuss the Welsh legends and tales gathered together as Y Mabinogi/The Mabinogion.
Join us for a special BookTalk event focused on Tony Jordan’s television series Dickensian, a mashup based on Charles Dickens’s immortal Victorian novels. Prof. Holly Furneaux, the academic adviser to the series, will be in discussion with Dr Ruth McElroy, a specialist in broadcast media and adaptation.
Join us for a special ‘Meet the Author’ BookTalk that welcomes Cardiff-born writer, Laura Powell, who will be in conversation with Dr Sophie Coulombeau about her debut novel The Unforgotten (2016), described as ‘a clever first book by a remarkable new voice’ (Sogo Magazine). As well as giving selected readings from the novel, Laura will discuss her inspiration for and the creative process behind The Unforgotten, which blends a coming-of-age drama with a multifaceted crime mystery. The novel was selected as one of Sainsbury’s Summer Book Club for 2016 and longlisted for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize.
Here’s a description of The Unforgotten from the publisher’s website:
Betty has a secret. One she must keep forever.
Summer, 1956. Fifteen year old Betty Broadbent has never left the Cornish fishing village of St Steele or ventured far beyond the walls of the Hotel Eden, the boarding house run by her erratic mother. But when a string of brutal murders brings London’s press flooding into the village, Betty’s world changes. She is instantly transfixed by one of the reporters, the mysterious and aloof Mr Gallagher.
An unlikely friendship blossoms between Betty and Mr Gallagher. But as their bond deepens, and they become entangled with the murders, each is forced to make a devastating choice – one that will change their lives forever. Fifty years later, the devastating consequences of Betty and Gallagher’s secrets finally unravel.
Split between 1956 and present day, The Unforgotten is a stunning debut novel. With her skilfully drawn characters and evocative language, Laura Powell is an exciting new voice.
What reviewers have said about The Unforgotten:
- ‘Forbidden love. A serial killer on the loose. A huge moral dilemma… Bid your to-do list goodbye because you’re not going to be able to put it down.’ (Stella Magazine, Sunday Telegraph)
- ‘Assured and intriguing … with a slight Broadchurch feel.’ (Sunday Herald)
- ‘An eerie and sorrowful tale, beautifully-told: a hugely impressive debut.’ (Joanna Kavenna, novelist)
- ‘Gripping from the first page, this is a remarkable debut. I highly recommend it.’ (Katie Fforde, novelist)
The main event (7pm) will be preceded by a reception with tea, coffee and biscuits at 6.30pm in Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Maindy Road, Cardiff CF24 4HQ.
About the author
Laura Powell is a Commissioning Editor at the Daily Telegraph. She has worked as a Features Writer at the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, and as Deputy Editor of Economia, the UK’s largest monthly business magazine. Laura grew up in Cardiff and studied at Warwick University. She later completed an MA at Goldsmiths, University of London, for which she was granted a Scott Trust Bursary from the Guardian Media Group. Several of her poems and short stories have been published in small literary magazines and anthologies, and she was awarded a New Writer’s Bursary from Literature Wales in 2013. She has also written features and interviews for the Guardian, the Evening Standard, and various women’s magazines. She lives in London. You can find out more about Laura on www.laurajaynepowell.com and follow her on Twitter.
The first BookTalk of 2017 will focus on Shirley Jackson’s classic ghost story, The Haunting of Hill House (1959). Using the gothic motif of the haunted house, Jackson’s novel explores the complex gender politics of mid-20th-century America and their impact on the psyche of its protagonist, Eleanor Vance.
Our second 2016/17 event is a special BookTalk in collaboration with the Paristamen CIO funder-initiative on death and dying, as part of the Being Human festival. We welcome acclaimed writer, Cathy Rentzenbrink, for a ‘Meet the Author’ session in conversation with Jenny Kitzinger about love and loss and her remarkable memoir, The Last Act of Love, which was both a Sunday Times bestseller and shortlisted for The Wellcome Trust Prize.
In the centenary year of the Battle of the Somme, Cardiff BookTalk returns for 2016/17 with an exciting event considering David Jones’s First World War classic, In Parenthesis (1937).
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the composition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, our June 2016 event will be a screening of the iconic 1931 film adaptation directed by James Whale.
The May BookTalk event will focus on Man Booker shortlisted author Simon Mawer’s controversial novel Mendel’s Dwarf, which weaves together a reimagining of the life of Gregor Mendel, the father of genetic science, with contemporary geneticist Benedict Lambert, who is both a dwarf with achondroplasia and a distant relation of Mendel.
It’s a brave writer who will take on Henry James, but John Harding’s publishers trumpet his debt to The Turn of the Screw. So Flora and Miles become Florence and Giles, and Bly House becomes Blithe House, a mansion set in New England in the 1890s. Fortunately, however, Harding rings enough ingenious changes on James’s study of perversity to produce his own full-blown Gothic horror tale.