The Wapping Project in association with The New Statesman present Skylight Soirées — a series of engaging and entertaining talks curated and presented by Erica Wagner( former Literary Editor, The Times, Man Booker judge 2014) in the gorgeous surroundings of 18th-century Ely House in London.
Novelists, journalists and historians, a wonderful singer — and even a brain surgeon — make this a very special run of events in an extraordinary setting.
Thursday March 12 — Ali Smith
From her very first collection of short stories, Free Love and Other Stories — winner of the Saltire First Book of the Year Award in 1995 — Ali Smith’s original voice simply leapt off the page. Her most recent novel, How to be both, was the winner of the Goldsmith’s Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; it was the winner of the Costa Novel Award. Writing in the Guardian, Laura Miller called it simply “unforgettable”, and Smith is an unforgettable presence making a rare London appearance.
Thursday March 19 — Henry Marsh
Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh is one of the country’s most eminent physicians, a senior consultant at St George’s Hospital in south London; his voluntary work in the Ukraine was filmed for a wonderful documentary, The English Surgeon. This year he burst onto the literary scene with his gripping memoir, Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery, which was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and for the Costa Biography Award. An evening with Marsh is one full of frankness and fascination.
Thursday March 26 — Andrew Marr
Andrew Marr is an eminent broadcaster, political commentator, editor and author. His televised histories of Britain have made him the voice of a nation; viewers and listeners across the land admire his thought-provoking arguments and judgements. He’s now added another string to his bow — that of novelist, having just last year published Head of State, an eerily believable political thriller. Fiction, politics, the state of the world — there’s much to cover in an evening in Marr’s company.
Thursday April 16 — Kate Mosse
Kate Mosse’s novel Labyrinth, the first book in what would become her Languedoc Trilogy, brought her world renown; it’s been translated into thirty languages — and her latest novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter, has been finding fans all over the world too. She is one of the founders of what was the Orange Prize, and is now the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction; her support for women’s writing — and all writing — from around the world has been unflagging. She’s an inspiring and brilliant conversationalist.
Thursday April 23 — Ian Kelly
Ian is an award-winning actor and writer whose most recent book is the authorized biography of the designer Dame Vivienne Westwood. His biography of the 18th-century theatrical impresario, Samuel Foote, — Mr Foote’s Other Leg — won the Theatre Book Prize in 2012, and his play of the book is slated for the West End in 2015 with Sir Richard Eyre directing. As an actor, Ian is perhaps best known from the NT/Broadway hit The Pitmen Painters and from the Harry Potter films — as Hermione’s dad. He’s at work on a book about Shakespeare, and appears on Shakespeare’s birthday — surely auspicious.
Thursday April 30 — Tracey Thorn
Tracey Thorn is one of our great singers, songwriters and writers: she’s known as one half of the duo Everything But the Girl, but has also released four solo albums and collaborated with artists such as Massive Attack. Her first book, the memoir Bedsit Disco Queen, was published to rave reviews; our Skylight Soirée will be the first event to mark the publication of her new book, Naked at the Albert Hall, a unique insider’s take on singers and singing.
Ely House, 3rd Floor, 37 Dover Street, London W1S 4JN
Information 0771 254 5981
Bookings: all tickets £10 (£5 off any book purchased on the night)