Stephen Spender Research Seminar - New Life in Life Writing

New Life in Life Writing?

Sarah Bakewell, Sir Michael Holroyd, Wendy Moffat, Max Saunders.

Panel Discussion hosted by the Stephen Spender Trust in conjunction with the Centre for Life-Writing Research, King's College London.

Is the 'Golden Age' of literary biography really past? How have changes in the ways we write the lives of authors responded to changes in the publishing industry? Are trends such as group biography, biographies focused on a part of a life, or 'biofictions' glimpses of the future, or symptoms of a declining interest in the genre? Four prominent and innovative biographers and academics discuss the recent and current state of life writing, drawing upon their own practice. Sarah Bakewell's biography of Montaigne, How to Live (2010), won the National Book Critics Circle Award in the Biography category. Sir Michael Holroyd, the doyen of British biographers, has published lives of Augustus John, Lytton Strachey, George Bernard Shaw; he has also turned to memoir in Basil Street Blues (1999) and group biography in A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families (2008) and A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers (2010). Wendy Moffat's E. M. Forster: A New Life (2010) won the Biographers' Club Best First Biography Prize, and reappraised the centrality of homosexuality to Forster's life. Max Saunders has written Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life (1996), and Self Impression: Life Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature (2010), and is co-director of the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King's College London.

Institute of English Studies
Sarah Bakewell, Sir Michael Holroyd, Wendy Moffat, Max Saunders
Event date: 
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 - 1:00am
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