Events - Turning the Political into Fiction

Turning the Political into Fiction
Chaired by Lucy Popescu
Waterstones Gower st, Friday 12 October, 6.30pm
Tickets £8/£6 incls wine

Lucy Popescu presents an evening of readings and discussion on the subject of turning political events into compelling literature and, in times of censorship, using fiction to write about political repression with Héctor Abad, Georgina Harding, Hamid Ismailov and John McGhie.

Héctor Abad was born in Medellín, Colombia, in 1958, where he studied medicine, philosophy and journalism. After being expelled from university for writing a defamatory text against the Pope, he moved to Italy. In 2008, Abad was a guest of the DAAD‘s Artist-in-Residence Programme in Berlin. He now lives in Colombia. He will be reading from his bestselling novel, The Farm, about a Colombian family defending their mountain home against guerrillas and paramilitaries. It’s been hailed as “today’s literary response to Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Georgina Harding is the author of five novels: The Gun Room, Painter of Silence, a devastating portrait of Romania during and after the Second World War (shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize), The Solitude of Thomas Cave, and The Spy Game (a BBC Book at Bedtime and shortlisted for the Encore Award). Her first book was a work of non-fiction, In Another Europe, recording a journey she made across Romania in 1988 during the worst times of the Ceausescu regime. It was followed by Tranquebar: A Season in South India, which documented the lives of the people in a small fishing village in the Coromandel coast. She will be talking and reading from Painter of Silence and will give us a sneak preview of her most recent novel, Land of the Living, which explores the isolation impact of war, loss and survival and will be published on 1 November.

Hamid Ismailov is an Uzbek journalist and writer who was forced to flee Uzbekistan in 1992 for what the state dubbed ‘unacceptable democratic tendencies’. He came to the UK and works with the BBC World Service. His works are banned in Uzbekistan. Several of his Russian-original novels have been published in English translation, including The Railway, The Dead Lake, long listed for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and The Underground. He will be talking about and reading from The Devils’ Dance the first of his Uzbek novels to appear in English, described as “a beautiful evocation of different Central Asian historical worlds.”

John McGhie was an investigative journalist for the BBC, Channel Four News and the Observer where he was Political Correspondent. In 2003, he made a BBC documentary White Terror, on which his remarkable debut novel White Highlands, is partly based. Set in Kenya, it is an outstanding evocation of colonial imperialism and its aftermath, “full of high drama, raw emotion and great descriptive power.”