On Monday, 12th October, guests, trustees and team members from Gladstone’s Library gathered at the National Liberal Club in London to officially launch the 2016 Writers in Residence programme.
The National Liberal Club (NLC) was established by William Ewart Gladstone in 1882 to provide a location for Liberal Party campaigners to meet, relax and socialise. Today it exists to provide facilities for members whose interests vary from liberal politics to the liberal arts, so it was an apt place to hold our event!
Guests in attendance included sponsor of the Writers in Residence programme, Joanna Munro; Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti; Frank Brinkley from the Literary Review as well as a selection of Writers in Residence alumnae.
At Gladfest earlier this year, we revealed the four writers who had been chosen by our panel of judges as next year’s Writers in Residence.
They are (in chronological order):
After informal meetings and conversation, Warden of Gladstone’s Library (and trustee of the NLC) Peter Francis opened the evening, cordially welcoming guests and attendees before Damian Barr (who established the scheme with Gladstone’s Library in 2012) spoke about the conception of the programme and the form it has taken over its five year history. Director of Collections and Research at the Library, Louisa Yates, introduced each of the 2016 Writers in Residence in turn before they read from the works which won them their residencies.
Rebecca Farmer read, amongst others, ‘The Fridges of Ghosts’ and ‘The Diagnosis’ from her award-winning pamphlet, ‘Not Really’, which salvages a heartfelt beauty from the grief of bereavement. A tiny figure relative to the tall microphone, Rebecca’s reading left a loud and thoughtful quiet.
Next, Natasha Pulley began at the beginning, reading the opening chapter from her strange and magical historical fiction novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. Even from the short snippet Natasha read, why the book numbers accolades including Guardian Summer Read and Amazon Book of the Month was evident.
Susan Barker introduced us to taxi driver Wang, the narrator of her gritty The Incarnations, and teased us with snippets of sights seen on his back seat, before Amy Liptrot read an at once moving and funny excerpt from her forthcoming memoir, The Outrun, detailing her experiences swimming off the island of Orkney, where she was born.
Previous Writers in Residence Sarah Perry (After Me Comes the Flood) and Richard Beard (Acts of the Assassins) then joined Damian for an informal chat about their time, productivity and memories of Gladstone’s Library.
The Library would like to thank all who attended the launch evening of our 2016 Writers in Residence programme. We cannot wait to welcome our writers to stay.
Events led by our 2016 Writers in Residence are booking now. More information on each of these can be found in our 2016 What’s On Calendar.