Conversation: Searching for Reality and Authenticity in the Modern World w/Francesca Ramsay and Emily Bootle

Conversation: Searching for Reality and Authenticity in the Modern World w/Francesca Ramsay and Emily Bootle

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Wed 1 May


Join Francesca Ramsay and Emily Bootle at Burley Fisher on 1st May for Searching for Reality and Authenticity in the Modern World. The authors will be discussing their books Pinch Me and This Is Not Who I Am, both of which are interested in the impact of the modern world on how we live our lives. The self, art, authenticity, reality... It promises to be an evening brimming with ideas.


PINCH ME: Trying to Feel Real in the 21st Century

'I loved following Francesca's attempts to feel real in the twenty-first century. Enlightening, insightful, thought-provoking, and still often laugh-out-loud funny.'  Claire Fuller

There have been moments, see; pinpricks in time that have given me such an essential and triumphant feeling of realness I am for that one split second jolted directly back into myself. I have found it when immersed in bodies of very cold water, when face-to-face with a vast and beautiful view. I have found it in print, loud noise and in utter silence. I have found it in darkness too. But most of all, most consistently, I have found it in art.

This is a book about how it feels to exist. About the moments we come off autopilot and engage fully with the world around us. The fleeting moments in which our minds and bodies connect totally to one another and to our environment.

Intimate, impassioned and full of humour, PINCH ME follows art historian Francesca Ramsay’s far-reaching journey in search of answers to one of life’s most complex and essential questions: What does it mean to feel real?

Tackling this ancient subject through a contemporary lens,  is a raw, lyrical reflection on finding connection with oneself, one another and the modern world. Ramsay investigates what it is to experience reality, the reasons so many of us are feeling the lack of it today, and crucially, how we might be able to get it back.

This Is Not Who I Am: Our Authenticity Obsession

'A very elegant and sharp-eyed series of essays. Emily Bootle asks all the right questions about the changes social media is forcing upon our sense of self, what the public now expects from its celebrities and artists, and the extent to which the modern world has turned us all into performers.' Jonathan Coe

In contemporary culture, there is no stronger imperative than to be authentic. But what does authenticity actually mean? Everywhere we turn, we are urged to “live our truth”: an element of Western culture that is almost never questioned. Authenticity in all its contexts is becoming more significant than ever as digital culture breeds fakery and capitalism offers the illusion of infinite choice. In this climate, finding and being yourself is a more complex idea than it sounds - one that should not necessarily be taken as doctrine.

In this set of six sharp, lively essays, the writer and journalist Emily Bootle explores how authenticity has pervaded every facet of our culture, from modern celebrity and identity politics to Instagram captions and wellness. Blending pop culture and philosophy, this book dismantles the ideology surrounding being ourselves at all costs, and questions what fuels our authenticity obsession.