London Literature Festival News!

11745608_1048375738508949_1090609126980349689_nI’m excited to share that I’ll be donning two guises at the London Literature Festival this October: co-conspirator (pixels and sharp angles) and moderator/fangirl (spectacles and exclamation points).

For the next edition of Local Transport, Michael Salu and I have lined up a trio of exciting artists who will explore Data and Desire. What can all the data in the world tell us about the unknowable, the intangible, the essential mystery of life? Dystopian graphic novels, love at first sight, the S.O.U.L…. Give your weekend some byte.

Friday, October 9. 20.00-21.00. Festival Village below the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre. Get more info and buy tickets.




bretRGB-300x460I’m delighted to be sharing the stage once again with Lina Wolff for the First Look Book Club, where you’ll get a preview of her excellent novel Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs (translated by Frank Perry for And Other Stories). She’s one of my favorite Swedish authors. And her book. Oh. Divas. Death. Despair. Desire. Stories nestled into stories. From Mexico to Madrid. Check out an interview we did for Granta here.

Tuesday, October 6, 19.45, Foyer Spaces, Southbank Center. Get more info and buy tickets.

Join us! Local Transport: 15 January at the ACE Hotel

my dark places_LTFrom shadowy alleyways and glittering towers to fighting demons in your damp bedsit LOCAL TRANSPORT asked filmmaker JAMES BATLEY and authors ZOE PILGER and BEN LERNER to reveal their DARK PLACES.

One hour of cultural adventure, a fully-stocked bar, and communion with the darkest spirits in London. Doors at 7pm, Act One soon thereafter.

We kick off the night with a screening of JAMES BATLEY‘s short film Kneel Through The Dark, a riff on Aleister Crowley and all that is hidden, whichDazed and Confused Magazine called “elegantly laced together oneiric soundscapes, animal totems and occult motifs.”

ZOE PILGER, the novelist and art critic that Deborah Levy said “might be the heiress to Angela Carter”, will be digging deep into the pictures, words, and sounds that make up male and female realms–from an asylum to the hedgerows in your local common–and how we learn to take up space in a city. http://

BEN LERNER shows us the character that is New York in his latest novel 10:04: “the liquid sapphire and ruby of traffic on the F.D.R. and the present absence of the towers”, “bundled debt” and “trace amounts of antidepressants in the municipal water”.

Watch.Listen.Groove. Local Transport at the Ace Hotel

Dialogue and Salu are kicking off a new event series at the Ace Hotel Shoreditch on 18 September. Come along!

3.171703ACT I: WATCH
Get under the skin of Lorenzo Vitturi’s acclaimed photographic series Dalston Anatomy with an exclusive multimedia performance in collaboration with poet Sam Berkson, currently exhibited at The Photographer’s Gallery. From found objects to street scenes and portraits of locals, these technicolor images capture the threatened spirit of Dalston’s Ridley Road Market.


Listen to writer Chimene Suleyman unpicks the memories, tastes and sounds that inspired three poems from her debut poetry collection Outside Looking Onexplores the positive and negative side of loneliness and boredom, using the Docklands as allegory and symbol: a constant presence of reminder and reassurance.











Groove to |dds|. |dds| are a 3-piece born and bred in London whose soundscapes meet at the junction of minimal and psychedelic and take you through an intensely atmospheric sonic journey. Let them move you.

Exploding Maps at the Ace Hotel, 2 April


Visual Editions is exploding their book of maps, Where You Are, inside the Lobby Bar at Ace Hotel Shoreditch. VE and I have been working with Ace’s excellent cultural engineer Vickie Hayward on a live Great Looking Story with Londoners/authors/mapmakers/so-much-more Adam Thirlwell, Joe Dunthorne and Dazed and Confused’s Stuart Hammond.

 It’s all happening on Wednesday 2 April. Doors and drinks at 18.30 and readings and conversation at 19.00. Email Leah [at] visual-editions [dot] [com] if you fancy joining, just so we can manage numbers a bit. Or if you can’t make it then, come see the literary explosion throughout April. Oh, and it’s free, free, free.

Hang Out with Visual Editions in Houston and Online


Visual Editions’ (VE) Where You Are live events give you the chance to hear Geoff Dyer and Joe Dunthorne, and Sheila Heti and Tao Lin tell you all about growing up in Cheltenham, mapping literary landscapes, modernising the I Ching to help find your way when you’re lost, and mapping crazy sci-fi hamsters in 2027.

It’s their very first venture into the world of Google Hangouts (and mine, too). Geoff will join VE from the US, Joe will be in the VE in the office, Sheila from Toronto and Tao in Manhattan.

Nov 14th at 4pm GMT/ 11am EST with Geoff Dyer and Joe Dunthorne
Nov 19th at 4pm GMT/ 11am EST with Sheila Heti and Tao Lin

Join us if you can. And join the conversation on Twitter using #whereyouare.

For Houstonites, Peter Turchi will be live and in person at Brazos Bookstore on 15 November  at 19:00. They’re also selling Where You Are for $30 (instead of $50). Good deal!

Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge – Edinburgh Edition

This August, I’ve curated a day of Granta events for Hendrick’s as part of their feast for curious minds: the Carnival of Knowledge. Join us on 9 August at One Royal Circus. Lots is free (Liars’ League storytelling salon, a collage workshop with Kanitta Meechubot, writer and former Granta editor John Freeman and neuroscientist Dr Carmen Lefevre on how to read people…). Some events are ticketed, but include a cocktail. Bramble, one of the finest cocktail bars in the world, will be serving up fine gin concoctions in the parlour. Here’s a preview of the day from

In anticipation of Granta’s day at the Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge, Edinburgh on 9th August, we’ve gathered together features, interviews and stories from some of the participants.

Best of Young British Novelists Jenni Fagan and Steven Hall will be talking to Stuart Kelly and John Freeman, two of the judges of the list, for a discussion on their writing and writing lives.

Steven Hall will be talking with academic David Hermann on literary endings and humankind’s obsession with the apocalypse. See below for a podcast with Steven on his novel and on being a Granta Best of Young British Novelist.

There will also be a workshop hosted by Suzanne Azzopardi (Literary Death Match executive producer) and comedienne and author Viv Groskop on ‘How to Read a Story’: part stand-up comedy, part acting workshop, and the actors from Liar’s League will be hosting a storytelling salon featuring some of their favourite stories from the Granta Archive.

Henrietta Clemett from Liar’s League reads ‘After the Hedland’ by Evie Wyld.

There will also be a free collage-making workshop with illustrator Kanitta Meechubot, featured in Granta: Horror, and a contributor to several other issues, who’ll guide you through mapping the forest of your imagination in paper, ink and glue.


Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge with Granta takes place on 9 August, noon to 11.30pm, One Royal Circus, Edinburgh EH3 6TL. Some events are free and others are ticketed (£12, including a cocktail) please click here for the full programme.

Granta’s Best Young British Novelists

Granta Best of Young British Novelist 4 on BBC News at Ten from Granta magazine on Vimeo.

I’ve been silent on social media and generally keeping my nose to the grindstone while working on the launch of Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4. A little shamelessly, here’s some of the coverage I’m most proud of: the BBC News at Ten, a New York Times feature, NPR’s Morning Edition (with one of my favourite writers, Sarah Hall) and this great article from the Globe and Mail. If you’re in LA, we have an event tonight at ALOUD, and tomorrow we’re in Seattle, in May we come to NY, Boston and Washington DC. We’re also doing events across the UK this week and through the summer and around the world with the British Council. Here’s the full event list. Phew. Hope you can join us!

Granta ‘Britain’ events next week

So, Thursday and Friday were filled with fun and literature. Last night, Don Paterson, Jim Crace and Cynan Jones spoke with Granta editor John Freeman at the British Library. The conversation moved from Britain and landscape to the craft of poetry and prose. The night before, we were at Waterstones Piccadilly with Andrea Stuart, Jamie McKendrick and Adam Foulds for readings, conversation and plenty of wine to follow. Authors, readers and journalists were seen climbing out the window onto a ledge to smoke–with a view of the Shard, the Eye and verdigris domes. And of course, our ‘Is Britain Still Great?’ debate at the Brighton Festival on 9 May. You can see the event here. Not one seat was empty in the 320-seat house. With a great event partner, there’s little you can’t do. 320 people. I’m still smiling. Speaking of which, have you seen Kris Hoffman’s  teaser film for the issue? Can you guess who’s been at our party? (Hint: You’ll need to have the Granta issue.)

If you’ve missed these or live outside of London, we’ll be coming to a town near you (most likely) on the rest of our 40-event tour. Next week, we’re in Glasgow, Birmingham, Bath, Liverpool, York, Nailsworth, Manchester, Bristol and Leeds. In the US, we’re in Washington DC and Chicago. I can’t wait to go to Manchester. With Jeanette Winterson taking up a professorship in creative writing at the university and Jesca Hoop‘s decampment from LA, I’m looking forward to feeling the Mancunian vibe. If you’re reading this blog, check out the Granta events page, and if an event is ticketed, I’d be happy to see if I can offer you a pair of tickets to join us. Just email me.