The Book Grocer

By Julie PH Last edited 126 months ago
The Book Grocer

Yet another reason our love runs deep for literary London: this happy little subculture is as diverse as the city itself. On offer this week is an eclectic mixture ranging from an Asian literature festival, to a panel discussion of the utility of creative writing courses, to a talk with a well-known American memoirist. As always, the difficulty is in choosing which events we just can’t bear to miss.

Monday: Blame last week’s summer-like temps, but we neglected to tell you about the Asia House’s ongoing Festival of Asian Literature. Naughty us. It’s not too late to catch some of the events on the festival lineup, though: Guardian journalist Duncan Campbell will discuss his recently published debut novel, The Paradise Trail, which combines tales from India’s hippy trail in the 1970s with the whodunit plot of a detective story (review here). Campbell will be in conversation with writer and UCL visiting fellow Pankaj Mishra (6.45pm, £8 nonmembers/£5 members and concessions).

Also on: Chris Patten, last British governor of Hong Kong, interviewing authors Ha Jin and Zhu Wen at the Southbank Centre, as part of the China Now festival (7pm, £10, 50% off concessions).

Tuesday: Leo Hollis’s The Phoenix: St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Men Who Made Modern London sounds like the kind of read to set London history buffs’ hearts aflutter. Hollis will be at Waterstone’s Notting Hill Gate this evening along with Adrian Tinniswood, author of By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London (7pm, £3).

Wednesday: How useful are creative writing courses to the budding writer? What’s the key to success? Is it natural talent? Stubborn determination? Practise and instruction? Julia Bell, Marion Urch, Toby Litt and Drew Gummerson will represent both sides of the debate in Writing Courses: Pain or Gain? at the Guardian Newsroom (6.45pm, £6/£3 concessions). Our 2p: We have no formal training and get paid nothing to write for Londonist, so, uh, take that as you will.

Also on: The Counterculture in Print at the British Library (6.30pm, £6/£4 concessions) takes a look at the role of the underground press in the spread of the 1960s counterculture. Time Out founder and owner John Elliott will be among the panelists in this discussion. And in case you missed him last night, Leo Hollis is at Daunt Books tonight (7pm, £5).

Thursday: Though dogged by doubts of authenticity, Augusten Burroughs is back with yet another memoir. In A Wolf at the Table, a prequel to Running with Scissors, Burroughs examines the dysfunctional nature of his relationship with his father. You can hear the author discussing his work at Waterstone’s Piccadilly (6.30pm, £3).

Also on: Allen Fisher, Tom Pickard and the ubiquitous Iain Sinclair, in a special poetry reading at the Southbank Centre. The three pay tribute to the avant-garde poetry scene of the 1960s in commemoration of the spirit of ’68 (7.45pm, £10, 50% off concessions).

Friday: Former Under-Secretary General of the UN Shashi Tharoor will be at the Festival of Asian Literature to discuss The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cellphone, his examination of the changes undergone by India in the past 25 years in politics, economy, culture, society and sport (6.45pm, £8 nonmembers/£5 members and concessions). Food for thought for your weekend!

Know of an event that belongs in the Book Grocer listings? Please e-mail us at londonist-at-gmail-dot-com.

Image courtesy of tezzer57’s photostream via the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 19 May 2008