A sneak preview of the latest book by David Mitchell, the popular author of the bestselling novels Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten, is on offer at the University of St Andrews this week as part of an academic conference on his work.
In a public event, the author of Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, number9dream and Ghostwritten will read from the provisionally entitled Psalms of Dejima (due to be published in May 2010) and take part in a Question & Answer session before a roundtable discussion on 21st Century Literature.
One of Britain’s foremost contemporary writers, and popular with critics and the reading public alike, Mitchell has won numerous awards for his fiction as well as topping bestseller lists. His debut novel, Ghostwritten, won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize and was shortlisted for The Guardian First Book Award, whilst his second book, number9dream, was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
The acclaimed Cloud Atlas won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the South Bank Show Literature Prize, Best Literary Fiction in the British Book Awards and the Richard and Judy Best Read of the Year. It was also shortlisted for a further six awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Mitchell’s most recent novel, Black Swan Green, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and the Quill Book Award.
The event is part of an academic conference on Mitchell’s work being held at the University of St Andrews on 3rd and 4th September that will see academics from across the world gather to explore the novelist¿s contribution to 21st Century fiction.
Organiser Dr Sarah Dillon said “Mitchell’s fiction has achieved a rare feat – it is popular with literary prize judges, the reading public, and academic scholars working on contemporary fiction – a range of readers whose tastes are not always in alignment. His fiction combines the investigation of ideas crucial to the contemporary world with innovative narrative experimentation whilst at the same time still doing what all fiction in the end should do – tell a damn good story.”
Mitchell’s texts have recently increasingly become the subject of academic attention, with his novels appearing on university reading lists, papers being presented on his work at academic conferences, and doctoral work proceeding at a number of institutions.
The conference hopes to develop the critical body of work currently underway on Mitchell’s writing and lead to the first edited collection of essays on his novels, to be published in September 2010 by Gylphi: Arts and Humanities Publisher.
“The St Andrews David Mitchell Conference was organised as a response to this growing body of work, with the aim of bringing those scholars working on David Mitchell’s writing together,” Dr Dillon explained.
“I am also delighted that the conference will end with a public event, bringing together the different readers of his work.”
‘An Audience with David Mitchell’ will take place at 5pm on Friday 4th September 2009 at the Buchanan Lecture Theatre, Union Street, St Andrews.
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