Julian Barnes to speak about The Sense of an Ending

Thursday 18 September 2014

Julian BarnesJulian Barnes, the Man Booker-prize winning author, is to deliver a free public lecture at the University of St Andrews as part of a collaborative venture with The Booker Prize Foundation. Barnes will appear at the Buchanan Lecture Theatre, Union Street, St Andrews on Tuesday September 23, 2014, 5:30 pm.

Barnes’ novel The Sense of an Ending was gifted to every entrant undergraduate student joining the University this year as part of an ongoing scheme to spark the kind of debate and discussion on which universities thrive.

Barnes won the Booker prize in 2011, having been shortlisted on three previous occasions.

The Sense of an Ending is a novel about childhood friendship and the imperfections of memory. Narrated by a middle-aged man, Tony Webster, the book reflects on the paths he and his friends have taken as the past catches up with him via a bequeathed diary.

Ex-MI5 boss Dame Stella Rimington, and Chairwoman of the judging panel, described the novel as:

“Exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading.

“We thought it was a book that spoke to the humankind in the 21st Century.”

The visit is the sixth in an annual initiative designed to offer new students a common topic for discussion.

Launched in 2009, the St Andrews Man Booker Prize Project involves entrant undergraduate students being sent a copy of a Man Booker Prize shortlisted book, distributed by Wardens and their teams through Halls of Residence.

Conceived by University Principal Professor Louise Richardson and the chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation, it is hoped that the project will engage entrant students in intellectual debate.

Students, staff and the public are all welcome to attend. There will be a limited supply of copies of the book for sale on the night.


Julian Barnes was born in Leicester in January 1946.

He is the author of eleven novels, including Metroland, Flaubert’s Parrot and Arthur & George. He has also written three books of short stories, Cross Channel, The Lemon Table and Pulse; and three collections of journalism, Letters from London, Something to Declare and The Pedant in the Kitchen. His latest book, Levels of Life, was published in 2013 and was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller.

His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert’s Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). In 2004, he received the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, and in 2011 he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature. He lives in London.

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