The Manchester Writing School at Man Met has teamed up with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation to launch a new series of in-conversation events called The Longer Read. Taking a career-wide look at the lives of authors and unpicking the techniques and habits that writers use in their everyday work, the free events aim to dig deeper than a straightforward reading, hoping to find out what it takes to be a successful novelist and what it means to lead a life in writing.
The first in the series features special guest Alan Hollinghurst chatting to poet and Man Met lecturer in creative writing Andrew McMillan. We’ll hear how Alan initially set out to be a short story writer, as well as dabbling in poetry, but quickly found his feet with longer-form fiction, immediately tasting success when his debut novel, The Swimming-Pool Library, was published in 1988. Going on to win the coveted Somerset Maugham Award, the book paints a picture of London gay aristocratic life, unraveling a tragedy of 20th-century gay repression as it goes.
We’ll hear how Alan initially set out to be a short story writer, as well as dabbling in poetry, but quickly found his feet with longer-form fiction.
The 1994 follow-up, The Folding Star, picked up the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was followed by The Spell in 1998. His 2004 novel The Line Of Beauty won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and was adapted for BBC Television and 2011’s The Stranger’s Child was longlisted for the Man Booker. His most recent novel, The Sparsholt Affair, was his sixth. Published in 2017, it explores intimate relationships across three generations and the changing attitudes towards homosexuality in England. The Guardian called it ‘the novel that other novelists were all talking about this year’.
As well as conversation and questions, The Longer Read will also feature a signing and bookstall by Blackwell’s Bookshop.