Sat 23 Sept, 4.30-5.30 pm, St Peter's Church, De Beauvoir Sq.
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Octavia Bright and Rebecca May Johnson in conversation, chaired by Peter Scalpello
What happens when we’re intimate with ideas? We’re joined by powerhouse thinkers Octavia Bright and Rebecca May Johnson to get physical with the big questions of how we write the messy stuff, and what that writing – as political as it is personal – feels like. Both Octavia Bright’s This Ragged Grace and Rebecca May Johnson’s Small Fires live their titles with sensory intensity and openness to the reader: these are books that pull us into conversation with repetition, consumption and care, asking what we take in and what we give, through a rigorous compassion that unfurls in the connectedness of poetic language. Generative and generous, This Ragged Grace chews over philosophies of being as a response and route to recovery and through caring, while Small Fires asks what if recipes are philosophies and food (writing) a form of care work. How do we live with living? This panel may not have the answer, but the questions will get under your skin.
Octavia Bright is a writer and broadcaster. She co-hosts Literary Friction, the literary podcast and NTS Radio show, with Carrie Plitt. She also presents programmes for BBC R4 including Open Book, and hosts literary events for bookshops, publishers, and festivals – such as Cheltenham Literature Festival and events for The Southbank Centre. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The White Review, ELLE, Somesuch Stories and Harper’s Bazaar, amongst others. She has a PhD from UCL where she wrote about hysteria and desire in Spanish cinema. Her first book This Ragged Grace is published by Canongate.
Rebecca May Johnson has published essays, reviews and nonfiction with Granta, Times Literary Supplement and Daunt Books Publishing, among others, and is an editor at the food publication Vittles. Small Fires is her first book.
Peter Scalpello (they/them) is a writer and psychotherapist from Glasgow, based in London. Their work has appeared in Five Dials, Granta, The London Magazine and the New York Times, among other publications. Peter’s poetry collection Limbic was Highly Commended by the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards.