Tag: contemporary literature

BookTalk event, 6 Mar 2017: Meet the Author—Laura Powell

theunforgottenJoin 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 MagazineSunday 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.

All welcome! Book your free tickets via Eventbrite by clicking here.

About the author

laura-powellLaura 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.

Simon Mawer 2

From an Interview with Simon Mawer

But it was Mendel’s Dwarf that saw him come into his own as a writer. A dozen years on, his voice still lifts when he talks about it. The novel—which tells the story of the molecular biologist Benedict Lambert, great-great-great nephew of Gregor Mendel, who suffers from achondroplasia (dwarfism)—tackles science with tools that have become hallmarks of his writing: multiple timelines; an exploitation of the slippages and spaces between languages; a fascination with memory. ‘I’m distant enough from it now to say it’s a bloody good book,’ he grins. ‘I was fascinated by Mendel, but he led a fairly dull life, if intellectually extraordinary. So I had Lambert tell Mendel’s story while telling his own. It clearly wasn’t going to be a biography . . . I’m a novelist. I don’t want to tell the truth. I want to manipulate things as I choose. I want to lie.’

— Interview from The Guardian, 3 October 2009

Photo: HN – Lukáš Bíba

Simon Hawer

From a Review of Mendel’s Dwarf 

Mendel’s Dwarf is an unusual piece. It’s a work of science fiction in the strict sense, but without any of the familiar traits of the genre. It is scientific literature in the literary sense but not the scholarly one; it’s a novel with footnotes that is in a hurry. Its narrator annotates his text with references because he is a scientist and that is how scientists write. But they do not write with the overtone of horror, and the unmistakable implication of looming disaster, that Simon Mawer sustains throughout his story.

— Marek Kohn, writing in the Independent, 18 July 1997