BFDay23: Never Was Here feat. Amy Arnold, H. Gareth Gavin, Guy Gunaratne

BFDay23: Never Was Here feat. Amy Arnold, H. Gareth Gavin, Guy Gunaratne

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Sat 23 Sept, 1.30-2.30 pm, St Peter's Church, De Beauvoir Sq.
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Amy Arnold, H Gareth Gavin and Guy Gunaratne in conversation, chaired by Adam Zmith.

Welcome, everyone, to nowhere and everywhen! Grab your chance to listen in to a conversation about conversation, as three writers talk about the intense chats in strange places on which their new novels centre. Amy Arnold hovers between monologue and lifelong miscommunication as Lori walks the Lakes and remembers her marriage to Joe in Lori & Joe, while H. Gareth Gavin’s Never Was Here refracts the otherworldliness of a mining childhood with the vivid reality of an after-afterparty portal, and in Mister Mister, Guy Gunaratne delivers a responsive, brilliantly sustained monologue from a prison cell both real and subjective. What does it mean to speak in place?


Amy Arnold was born in Oxford in 1974. She studied neuropsychology at Birmingham University and has worked in a variety of jobs from packing swedes to teaching and lecturing. She lives in Cumbria, and her debut novel, Slip of a Fish, won the 2018 Northern Book Prize and was shortlisted for the 2019 Goldsmiths Prize. Her second novel, Lori & Joe, was published by Prototype in April 2023.

H. Gareth Gavin is the author of Never Was: A Novel Without A World published by Cipher Press in 2023, and Midland, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize. He also writes short fiction and criticism and teaches a course on trans studies. He was born in Birmingham and lives in Manchester, where he works in the Centre for New Writing. 

Guy Gunaratne is the author of IN OUR MAD AND FURIOUS CITY, which won the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Author's Club First Novel Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Goldsmith's and Gordon Burn, and longlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Booker. Their most recent novel is MISTER, MISTER. They are a Trustee on the Board of English PEN, and have been a judge for the Goldsmiths Prize and for the Folio Prize. In 2019, the Financial Times included them in its list of the '30 Most Exciting Young People on the Planet'.

Adam Zmith is the author of Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures (Repeater Books, 2021), which won the Polari First Book Prize in 2022 and was a finalist in LGBTQ+ Nonfiction at the Lambda Literary Awards 2022. Adam is a co-director of the podcast production company Aunt Nell, and he wrote and produced The Film We Can’t See for the BBC. Adam is the editor of And The Sissy Lived by George Hodson (Polari Press, 2024), and he co-edited the anthology Unreal Sex with So Mayer (Cipher Press, 2021). He is a former literature programmer for Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest.

H. Gareth Gavin headshot © Lee Baxter

Guy Gunaratne headshot © Ali Jehad