Skip to main content

Award-winning author Sarah Waters visits Birkbeck

Last night, Birkbeck welcomed Sarah Waters, award-winning author of novels including Fingersm...

Last night, Birkbeck welcomed Sarah Waters, award-winning author of novels including Fingersmith and The Night Watch, both finalists for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize.  Sarah spoke about her latest novel, The Little Stranger, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2009.  The Little Stranger displays Sarah’s talent for atmospheric writing and brilliantly balances a historical portrayal of the crumbling English post-war class system with the evocative thrills of the haunted house genre.

This event was part of the Man Booker Prize Universities Initiative, which aims to bring high quality contemporary fiction to undergraduate students across the disciplines. Prior to the event, Birkbeck distributed a free copy of The Little Stranger to first year undergraduates across the College’s five Schools. Around 800 Birkbeck students and alumni attended the event.

Sarah joined Russell Celyn Jones, Professor of Creative Writing at Birkbeck, who was himself a Man Booker judge in 2002 when Sarah’s novel Fingersmith was shortlisted.  After reading some extracts from The Little Stranger, Sarah discussed with Russell her interest in historical writing, the way feminism informs her writing and the gothic precursors that inspired her novel.  Afterwards, there was a lively audience discussion that ranged from her writing process to reader reactions to her stories.

Professor Hilary Fraser, Executive Dean of Birkbeck’s School of Arts said: “I see many similarities between the Man Booker Prize and Birkbeck, in that they are both about making the very best intellectual and cultural experience accessible to a wide audience. This is the basis for an excellent collaboration. We are delighted to have been able to welcome Sarah Waters to Birkbeck and participate in this fantastic initiative. The discussion was illuminating and enriching and allowed our students to gain a deeper understanding of the novel and Sarah’s writing processes.”

Watch the podcast to find out more about this fascinating book.

More news about: