HOW I FELL IN LOVE WITH OPERA
17 October on BBC Radio 3 (at 22:45 then listen online)
Patricia will be talking about Death in Venice, the novella by Thomas Mann and the opera by Benjamin Britten. She uses operas in her own novels as metaphors which inform the meanings of her books. She has been in love with opera since her first visit to Covent Garden in 1975 when she heard Sir Peter Pears singing Aschenbach in Britten's Death in Venice.
Monday 16 - Friday 20 October 2017
In a special edition of The Essay, five individuals reflect on how they fell in love with opera for the first time. The contributors include journalist and writer Rachel Cooke and award-winning novelist Julian Barnes, who examines how he came to opera through the a bereavement. Actor David Threlfall (best known for portraying Frank Gallagher in the television series Shameless) and writer Garth Greenwell consider the impact of their experiences with the art form, the latter discussing how opera provided him with the "antidote" for his "training" in the ideals of masculinity he was taught growing up in Kentucky. Novelist Patricia Duncker explores the relationship between opera and the novel as art-forms.
FICTION: TUTORED RETREAT
7-12 August at Lumb Bank, West Yorkshire
Patricia will be tutor on this Arvon writing retreat. Co-tutored with Andrew Cowan and Guest Reader, Rose Tremain.
CONTEMPORARY BRITISH FICTION
11-14 June at Paderborn University, Germany
Patricia will be visiting the University of Paderborn Germany to work with Professor Merle Tönnies' students on contemporary British Fiction.
(More details to follow)
MEET THE AUTHOR
31 March at the English Language Library in Angers, France
Patricia will be appearing at two events in the library, an informal talk in the morning followed by a discussion with a small group in the afternoon (limited places).
FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR
Patricia will be appearing at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 21st October.
SOPHIE AND THE SIBYL, GERMAN EDITION
Sophie und die Sibylle, the German translation by Barbara Schaden, will be published by Berlin Verlag in October 2016. To coincide with the publication Patricia will be doing a reading tour in Germany.
VICTORIANS TRENDING ON TWITTER!
Reports from BAVS 2016 'Consuming (the) Victorians'
We have compiled some of our favourite memories into a Storify thread for each day of the conference, so you can re-live them along with us. BAVS Postgraduates representative Emma Butcher has also put one together for the PGR/ECR workshops on 31 August:
2 August 2016, BBC Radio (17:45 Imperial College Union)
Patricia will be talking about George Eliot, her travels in 19th-century Germany and the music she refers to in her novels and diaries as part of the BBC Proms Extra series. In conversation with Clare Walker-Gore of Trinity College, Cambridge. The discussion will be broadcast on Radio 3 during the Proms interlude.
Listen Now download the discussion as a podcast from the BBC website
BAVS 2016 'CONSUMING (THE) VICTORIANS'
31 August 2016, Cardiff University, Wales
Patricia will be one of the keynote speakers at the annual British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) event in Wales with a paper entitled 'Imagining George Eliot'.
What is the difference between an historical novel and a Neo-Victorian historical novel? And what are the ethical, indeed metaphysical issues, that arise when a writer takes on a person who once lived, and whose life has generated many bio-graphies, and transforms them into a fictional character? Read More on the BAVS website...
24-26 June 2016 St Clémentin, France
Patricia will be appearing as keynote speaker at the bilingual literary festival in the west of France.
EDITING A NOVEL
9-14 May 2016 Arvon, Totleigh Barton, Devon
Patricia will be one of the tutors on the fiction course at the Arvon centre.
CLECKHEATON LITERATURE FESTIVAL
21 April-1 May 2016 Cleckheaton, Yorkshire
Patricia will be talking about her latest novel Sophie and the Sibyl and also leading a workshop- Beginning Writing on Saturday 30 April.
KING'S LYNN FICTION FESTIVAL
11-13 March 2016 Town Hall, King's Lynn
Patricia will be in conversation with DJ Taylor on 11 March
Sophie and the Sibyl has been shortlisted for The Green Carnation prize 2015
More information on the prize website.
GEORGE ELIOT FELLOWSHIP ANNUAL LECTURE
10 October 2015. Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre, Nuneaton
Patricia will be giving this year's lecture at 2:30pm
LIFESPANS AND LEGACIES
17 October 2015. University of Brighton
'Historical Figures and Fictional Lives'
Patricia will be the keynote speaker at the 10th Anniversary Conference of the Contemporary Women's Writing Association.
NORTH CORNWALL BOOK FESTIVAL
24 October 2015. Stone Barn, St Endellion, Cornwall
Patricia will be making two appearances on Saturday, in the morning hosting a fiction workshop on the theme of 'Beginnings' and later in the day she will be talking about her own work.
The Madonna at the Midland by Patricia Duncker is the Weekend Read on the For Books' Sake website.
WOMEN WRITING PLEASURE
3 July 2015. Liverpool John Moores University
Patricia will be the keynote speaker at the Women Writing Pleasure event in Liverpool.
MATERIAL TRACES OF THE PAST IN CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE
6-8 May 2015. Malaga, Spain.
Patricia will be a keynote speaker at this international seminar at the University of Malaga in Spain.
CAMBRIDGE LITERARY FESTIVAL
19 April 2015. Cambridge Union Chamber
Two of our most inventive and original writers come together to talk about their new novels, Sophie and Sibyl and The Lost Child, in which both draw on giants of English literature: Duncker on George Eliot and Phillips on Emily Bronte, to create their own new and exciting works, yet drenched with the genius of the past. With Margaret Drabble in the chair this is an unmissable treat for literature lovers.
LONDON BOOK AND SCREEN WEEK
15 April 2015. The Bloomsbury Institute, London
To celebrate the London Book Fair and London Book and Screen Week, the Bloomsbury Institute invites you to spend an evening with John Mullan and Patricia Duncker as they explore the relationship between publishers and their authors, through Patricia's entertaining new novel Sophie and the Sibyl a lively imagining of the great, unconventional novelist George Eliot as well as a witty tale of love, literature and liberal thinking.
MADEIRA LITERARY FESTIVAL
16-22 March 2015. Municipal Theatre Baltazar Dias, Funchal
Patricia will be appearing at the 2015 Madeira Literary Festival which is presented by Portuguese publishers Nova Delphi, she gave a short interview for the Madeira Literary Festival magazine which you can read from the link below.
JODRELL BANK LAUNCHES A NEW DISCOVERY WEBSITE
My love affair with the giant dish at Jodrell Bank, also known as the Lovell telescope, began decades ago when I first saw the massive white circle looming above the empty winter fields on a visit just after Christmas. The visitor's centre at that time seemed a rudimentary affair of coffee and postcards. But we stayed for hours, standing in the cold, staring at the dish. The sheer scale of the thing and the sinister slow movement of its rotating wheels carved themselves into my memory. The great white disc with its extended proboscis searching the infinite sky stood vertical in winter, peering over the edge of the earth. In summer the creature lay flat on its back, like an exhausted cup, gazing upwards. The great telescope appeared to be watching, and listening; the sounds made by thing, concentrated and subtle, intensified its mystery. I have written a novel, The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge, and a short story, 'The Bellini Madonna', that directly address the astonishment I still feel in relation to the secrets of the universe revealed at Jodrell Bank. The climax of my novel actually takes place beneath the telescope.
The huge uncanny structure towered above the trees. No houses or lights disturbed the white presence that lifted its perfect face toward the heavens. As they drove closer they saw that the dish was supported by two massive watch towers, tall as pylons, and a network of iron girders, forming another curved mass beneath the solid, parabolic circle. Far beneath the dish a small herd of black and white cows grazed on the dark grass. The gigantic shape loomed over the quiet fields, blanched white as a unicorn in the moonlight, its great horn interrogating the stars.
The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge (Bloomsbury, 2010)
If we believe in the Big Bang, and I do, then it seems like common sense to imagine that the ever-expanding universe would be slowing down. But it's not. All the parts of this great mass are flying away from each other at ever increasing speeds. This was the vision I described in The Bellini Madonna.
And then something strange overtook her - a rushing movement, slight, distant, gathering. There in the unguarded deep of the night sky she saw the reeling stars, the pale glow of light that had taken two thousand years to reach her, the massed galaxies and planets, spinning outwards into eternity, hurtling away from the gigantic explosion of creation, the distant binary stars and their attendant planets, moving at fantastic speeds away from the centre, glorious, beautiful, unfettered, hurtling into the vastness of eternity. Her eye caught the whirling moons of Saturn, the miraculous trailing gas of the Crab Nebula, thousands of spinning pulsars, the great streaming winds of particles, belching forth from the mass of exploding stars.
'The Bellini Madonna' is published in When it Changed: Science into Fiction Ed. Geoff Ryman (Comma Press, 2009), pp. 221-233.
NEW NOVEL SOPHIE AND THE SIBYL IN APRIL 2015
Berlin, September 1872. The Duncker brothers, Max and Wolfgang, own a thriving publishing business in the city. Clever, irresponsible Max is as fond of gambling and brothels as the older, wiser Wolfgang is of making a profit. When Max's bad habits get out of hand, Wolfgang sends him to the Spa town of Homburg, to dance attendance upon a celebrity author - the enigmatic Sibyl, also known as George Eliot. As enthralling and intelligent as her books, she soon has Max bewitched. Yet Wolfgang has an ulterior motive: for his brother to consider Sophie von Hahn, daughter of a wealthy family friend, as a potential wife. At first, Max is lured by Sophie's beauty and his affectionate memories of their shared childhood. But Sophie proves to be nothing like the vision of angelic domesticity Max was expecting. Mischievous, willful and daring, Sophie gambles recklessly and rides horses like a man. Both women have Max in thrall - one with her youth and passion, the other with her wisdom and fierce intelligence. Out of his depth, Max finds himself precariously balanced between Sophie and the Sibyl. What's more, Sophie worships the great novelist of questionable morals - and is determined to meet her. A compelling Victorian novel and a playful meditation on the creation of literature, Sophie and the Sibyl balances a tale of courtship and seduction with a fascinating, lively imagining of the writer George Eliot at the end of her boldly unconventional life, and the height of her fame.
'I was transfixed. It's not just the fiendishly clever blending of real-life and fiction' I was completely gripped all the way through. I love Sophie and Max. They are an Eliot hero and heroine but written for now. But most of all of course I love George Eliot, the Sibyl - I'm not sure now that I'll ever be able to read any novel by her in the same way again'
VICTORIAN 'STRUCTURES OF FEELING' IN LATE 20TH AND 21ST- CENTURY CULTURAL PRODUCTS
12-14 June. University of Paderborn, Germany
Patricia will be reading and in conversation with Merle Tönnies (Paderborn) at the conference on 13 June.
LITERARY NARRATIVES OF THE HOLOCAUST
Monday, 7 October. IWM North (Imperial War Museums) Manchester
The Nature of Antisemitism
This conference will explore the dangerous and harmful phenomenon of antisemitism. Though antisemitism seems a constant feature in European history, the nature of antisemitism has not remained the same. How was Nazi antisemitism different to pre-Nazi antisemitism? How can the persistence of antisemitism in the 21st Century be explained?
The Centre for Jewish Studies and the Department of History, University of Manchester and IWM North (part of Imperial War Museums)
A LITERARY READING
Thursday, 26th September. Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts
Literary readings by Patricia Duncker and Lars Iyer at the Culture Lab, Newcastle University.
WRITING SHORT FICTION: A MASTERCLASS
Saturday, 21st September. The Writers' Centre, Norwich
Do you feel you've got more to learn about the art of writing short-stories? This Masterclass is part workshop, part manuscript consultation and is led by a master stylist; expert novelist and short-story writer Patricia Duncker. An invaluable opportunity to get not only expert advice but also individual feedback on 4000 words of your work.
Good News from Wales - a new press for young readers and young adults.
BEGINNING YOUR BOOK: FICTION AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Extended Course - for Women
Monday 6th to Saturday 11th May. Ty Newydd, Wales
Guest: Francesca Rhydderch. This course is supported by Honno.
Are you beginning to write a book? This course is for writers embarking on a full-length book project: fiction in all genres, for adults or children, autobiography, memoir or travel. Have you completed a substantial section of your book? Or are you still working on your first draft? Are you trying to revise a more polished version and have you run into problems? Do you have a plan that isn't working? Are you stuck? We are here to help with genre, structure, plot, point of view, organisation and advice on how to keep going.
Participants will be selected.
WOMEN AND THE NOVEL
Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd March, Newnham, Cambridge
Literary Archive Event
Saturday at 10.30am: Jenn Ashworth and Patricia Duncker in conversation 'The deadly spaces of women novelists' Chaired by Dr Pam Hirsch
This event is sold out but will be filmed and available later on the college website. Please also visit the site if you would like to be added to the waiting list and for further details.
Monday, 14th January. Paderborn university, Germany
Patricia will be Guest Speaker at the University of Paderborn and will be speaking about her own work to the staff and students of the English Department. Dr Merle Tönnies has been teaching her work to one of her contemporary fiction seminars.
GUILDFORD BOOK FESTIVAL
Friday 26th October 7-9 pm. Farley Room
Patricia will be appearing at the Guildford Book Festival this autumn and teaching a class on How to Begin!
ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS: Getting Started (Practical Class rather than a workshop)
Do you have a story to tell or a poem to write but don't know how to turn your fragments into forms? I shall be giving suggestions and advice on how to get started and how to keep going. Bring pen and paper.
WORK IN PROGRESS: FICTION
9-14 July 2012. Arvon Foundation course at Totleigh Barton, Devon
Stuck somewhere in the middle? Worried your plot has saggy bits? Wondering if it's ready to submit or why your submission was rejected? Dr Duncker and Mr Gale will see you now! Fine-tuning and editing is addictive but Keep/Polish/Axe is a challenging game. We'll aim to give you the confidence to make bold changes and help you develop your editing skills to show your writing to its best advantage.
Patricia Duncker's novels include Hallucinating Foucault and The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge, shortlisted for the Golden Dagger Award. She is Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of Manchester.
Patrick Gale is the author of 13 novels, including Notes from an Exhibition, The Whole Day Through and Good People.
Guest Sarah Savitt is an editor at Faber & Faber. Her authors include Maria McCann and Louise Doughty.
THE TRANSIT OF VENUS: PILATE'S WIFE
3 June 2012, 7:45pm. BBC Radio 4
The BBC asked me to write a story to celebrate the forthcoming Transit of Venus which is the last one we will all see in our lifetimes as the transit only occurs every hundred years or so. And then happens twice within eight years. My story, Pilate's Wife, will be broadcast on Sunday 3rd June at 7.45 on Radio 4. Here is some information from the last event in 2004:
NASA joined the world in viewing a rare celestial event, one not seen by any person now alive. The planet Venus appeared to cross in front of the Sun as seen from Earth. The last 'Venus transit' occurred more than a century ago, in 1882, and was used to compute the distance from the Earth to the Sun. If people missed the June 8 Venus transit, they will have another chance in 2012 (June 6). After that, there will not be another Venus transit until 2117 (December 11).
WRITING A BOOK: FICTION AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
28 May - 2 June 2012. Tw Newydd (National Writers' Centre for Wales)
(Extended Course - for Women).
Patricia Duncker and Janet Thomas. Guest: Lindsay Ashford
Are you writing a book? This course is for writers working on a full-length book: fiction in all genres, for adults or children, autobiography, memoir or travel. Have you finished a draft? Are you stuck? Or have you written short fiction up till now and you are now beginning to write a full-length novel? We are here to help with structure, plot, viewpoint, description, and all the technical details. Participants will be selected.*
Supported by Honno, the Welsh Women's Press
Janet Thomas is a freelance editor who works for a range of publishers in Wales and London, working on fiction, non-fiction and children's books. She was Honno Editor and has been on the Honno Management Committee for the last eight years. She has also had short fiction published and her children's book Can I Play? (Egmont) won a Practical Pre-School gold award.
HONNO 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Honno, Welsh Women's Press, is launching its twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations this spring with an anthology of great women's writing from the last quarter of a century.
Fiction writers such as Patricia Duncker, Sian James, Sarah Jackman and Jo Mazelis contribute tales of tangled relationships, discovery loss and love, told with wit and compassion, while non fiction ranges from the horror of Belsen through the eyes of a Welsh nurse, to the swinging sixties with Molly Parkin. The book will be published on the 17th May
HAY FESTIVAL EVENT
Honno is celebrating its 25th anniversary at this year's Hay Festival featuring Patricia Duncker, Stephanie Tillotson, Sian Melangell Dafydd, Catherine Merriman and Jane Aaron
25 April 2012. Aspex Gallery, University of Portsmouth
Transvestites, King Kong and the Virgin Mary at the Centre for Studies in Literature Celebration
By Matt Wingett
Internationally renowned writer Patricia Duncker gave a fascinating talk and reading at the Aspex Gallery on the evening of Wednesday 25th April to celebrate recent publications by members of Portsmouth University's Centre for Studies in Literature. The evening kicked off with an introduction by Christine Berberich, in which she showcased the website for the CSL and, by way of introduction, spoke about the works and career of award-winner academic and novelist Patricia Duncker. Duncker soon took the floor, and with great relish revealed that she grew up in Petersfield, describing fond memories of "behaving very badly" on most weekends in Portsmouth, and admitting that it felt like home to be back in the city. Duncker gave a short talk about publishing and writing, commenting on the changes to publishing in the last few years, and describing the threat to the print book from Amazon and new structures of publishing, and the erosion of livelihoods from Google's digitization of works. She described her passion for "real" printed books, and her love of the hardback - and was delighted to see such an active and successful collection of writers and editors under the CSL umbrella. Duncker went on to read one of her own short stories, which was peppered with literary allusions and spiced with a strong sense of the absurd and of fun - including transvestites, King Kong and the Virgin Mary turning up at a fancy dress party. At the end of her reading, she congratulated the success stories she was there to celebrate, including writers Theo Savvas and Christopher Pittard and editors Petra Rau, Ben Dew, Christine Berberich, Arthur Aughey, Neil Campbell and Robert Hudson, as well as Bronwen Price, Bran Nicol, Patricia Pulham and Eugene McNulty for their academic works. All the books, including Duncker's novels, are available from Blackwell's bookshop. In all, a fascinating evening showing how vibrant the cultural scene is in Portsmouth, and the great academic work that is going on here.
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH FICTION NETWORK
The new University of Portsmouth Fiction Network (1950s to the Present) website is now up and running. This network is designed to foster debate, academic collaboration and exchange on topics within the broad field of contemporary fiction. It aims to bring together scholars with interests in the field in order to maximise synergies between their current research projects, exploring both Ôliterary studies' perspectives and other multi-disciplinary approaches. These webpages and the associated mailing list also offer a range of resources for those interested in contemporary fiction, such as information about conferences and events in the field.
SCARBOROUGH LITERATURE FESTIVAL
Patricia will be the 2012 writer in residence at the Scarborough Literature Festival. She will be hosting a writer's day, workshops and also giving a lecture. Please see the festival brochure for details and booking.
HAMPSHIRE WRITERS SOCIETY
Tuesday, 14th February
Speaker, Patricia Duncker, author and Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of Manchester.
Choosing English. Would you choose to write in a language other than your mother tongue? The most important element in my writing...and indeed in all writing is the literary language that I choose to inhabit. But many writers now choose English even when it is not the first language they spoke as children or the language within which they live. This is the story of how I came to choose English.
GENEVA WRITERS CONFERENCE
8th Geneva Writers Conference workshop
Beginnings / Patricia Duncker
Your opening pages establish a complex relationship with your readers. Is this the book they want to read? Why should they read on? What is your book about? Not what happens, but what it's about. Bring an A4 sheet with your outline describing what your book is about and the first few pages.
GREEN CARNATION PRIZE
The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge has been shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize 2011. The 2011 shortlist has been announced with an accompanying article in The Guardian.
THE MADONNA AT THE MIDLAND
Patricia was Writer in Residence at the Midland over the summer and here is the commissioned story she performed at the Manchester Literary Festival on October 19th 2011. The venue was the French Restaurant and the story is set in the Hotel.
BODY OF WORK
UEA and Full Circle Editions launch Body of Work: 40 Years of Creative Writing at UEA edited by Giles Foden (launch event by invitation only) The occasion also marks the opening of the Writers' Centre Norwich and the UEA creative writing website.
6TH MANCHESTER LITERATURE FESTIVAL
19th October (3pm). Midland Hotel, Manchester
AFTERNOON TEA WITH PATRICIA DUNCKER
Midland Hotel: Fact & Fiction
Patricia Duncker was recently appointed Writer in Residence at Manchester's famous Midland Hotel, and has been jointly commissioned by MLF and the Midland to write a short story set in the hotel. Patricia Duncker is the author of the acclaimed novels Hallucinating Foucault, Miss Webster and Cherif, and The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge. Come and hear her read her new story over tea and scones. For those who wish to know more about the Midland, there will also be an optional tour of the hotel at 1pm with historian Barbara Frost.
BLUECOAT LITERATURE FESTIVAL, LIVERPOOL
15th October. Bluecoat, Liverpool
Patricia will read from her acclaimed novel The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge.
ILKLEY LITERATURE FESTIVAL
PATRICIA DUNCKER MASTERCLASS: Thinking about Contemporary Fictional Narratives
What kind of book are you reading or writing? We shall be considering genre, audience, target age, gendering the genre (vampires, historical romance, swashbucklers!) and comfort zone reading. What does the opening of a piece of fiction set out to do? What is it that you want the reader to absorb and remember? This workshop addresses the crucial questions of beginnings and the ways in which writers need to take the reader into account. We'll be discussing examples and looking at the big issues.
Lasts 2 hours. For all levels. Please bring pen and paper. (Places limited - please book in advance.)
Sunday, October 2nd, 2:00 pm at Craiglands Hotel - Conservatory
PATRICIA DUNCKER TALK
Award-winning novelist Patricia Duncker, acclaimed author of Hallucinating Foucault, talks about her new, powerful, multi-layered metaphysical mystery, The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge. We are drawn into a world of complex family ties, seductive music and ancient cosmic beliefs, journeying from the vineyards of France to the gabled houses of Lubeck and cobbled streets of an Alpine village.
Patricia Duncker website launched