Novel Nights: Telling Other People’s Stories. Where does the writer draw the line?

  • Burdall’s Yard
  • October 12
  • 19:30 - 21:00
  • 8.50
Event Website

Guest novelist, Xan Brooks will discuss the ethics of writing and the responsibilities of writers. Q&A and readings by three writers from the South West.

“My novel (The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times) was prompted by the traumatic childhood experience of my late great aunt. She never spoke publicly about this trauma and my father suspects that he might be the only person she ever mentioned it to. He told me and I then went off and wrote a book about it, effectively exposing her worst secret to the world.

In what sense was this my story to tell? To widen the issue, what’s the responsibility of any writer when telling the story of a person, a place or a history they have no first-hand experience of. Such questions of cultural appropriation have come to the forefront of literary debate and today we all stand on notice. Should a heterosexual author ever write in the voice of a gay character, or a white male author in the voice of a black female heroine? At what point does creativity and empathy shade into exploitation? ” Xan Brooks.

Xan’s debut novel, The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award and the Authors’ Club prize, and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and the Desmond Elliot award.

Reading at this event : Sean Lusk, Alision Clink and Mary Monro.