A Biography Masterclass at the University of St Andrews this week (21 and 22 April 2006) will bring five prominent life-writers together to discuss the art and craft of literary biography.
The School of English event is the first in an innovative series of masterclasses designed to stimulate public debate and share literary skills. It is free and open to all.
The five invited authors are Muriel Spark’s biographer Martin Stannard, Janice Galloway, Kenneth Johnson, Anne Wroe and Duncan Wu.
Anne Wroe will begin the event on Friday 21 April at 3.30pm with a talk on ‘Searching for Shelley: The Challenge of a Poet’s Biography’. She is the author of well-received biographies of Pontius Pilate and Perkin Warbeck. Duncan Wu, a professor at the University of Oxford and a leading Romanticist, will then speak, at 5.15pm, on ‘Writing the Life of William Hazlitt’. A question-and- answer session and a wine reception will follow.
Professor Kenneth Johnson, author of The Hidden Wordsworth, will kick off proceedings on Saturday 22 April at 9.30am, revealing new clues about ‘Unusual Suspects: the Biography of a Lost Generation’, followed by Professor Martin Stannard, biographer of Evelyn Waugh, at 11.30 am, with a cautionary tale of’ ‘The Executor Over Your Shoulder: Waugh and Estate Management’. After further opportunities for discussion and a lunch break, the final attraction will be the novelist Janice Galloway, at 2pm, discussing ‘Fictionalised Biography’ in light of her sensational 2002 novel about the turbulent life of the pianist and composer Clara Schumann.
“We want everyone to feel welcome at the Masterclass”, said Professor Nicholas Roe, Head of the School of English at the University of St Andrews. “We hope to attract a mixture of people who read biographies and people who’d like to write them, people with an academic interest in biography or in Romantic literature, and people who are simply curious about process of digging up buried authors and the blurred lines between fact and story. People can come for just one of the days, or just one of the talks. The main thing is that they enjoy themselves and join the debate. I hope some people will come for an hour and find they are so fascinated they stay with us right to the end.”
All events take place in Kennedy Hall Room 1 in the School of English, The Scores, St Andrews. Refreshments will be served.
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