Category: Readings and Events

Video/ Books I Wish I’d Written

Video/ Books I Wish I’d Written.

The literary world is famous for its bitter feuds: Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, V.S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux. Professional jealousy is often at the heart of literary rivalries – and these rivalries can be toxic indeed. But a healthy rivalry can be a strong motivational tool – as the saying goes, envy aims high. In this discussion hosted by Stephanie Convery, Ramona Koval, Shane Maloney and Sonya Tsakalakis broach an uncomfortable issue from a civilised, non-combative perspective, revealing the books they wish they’d written and why. We also explore some broader questions on the topic: Is the green-eyed monster more prevalent in the literary world than in other fields? Are envy and admiration two sides of the same coin? And what are the differences between artistic and commercial literary jealousy?


Video/ Edna St. Vincent Millay: Greenwich Village and Beyond

Video/ Edna St. Vincent Millay: Greenwich Village and Beyond.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), recipient of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was a daring, versatile writer whose work includes poetry, plays, essays, short stories, songs, and a libretto to an opera that premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Writing poems about social equality and personal freedom, Millay brought new hope to a generation of youth disillusioned by the social and political upheaval of the First World War. Her free-spirited life in the early 1920s in Greenwich Village, where her suitors included Edmund Wilson, John Dos Passos and other literary names of the day, is well- documented by historians. Yet her poetry adds a more vibrant personal dimension to the era’s social history by illuminating the Bohemian lifestyle she and her friends enjoyed. We met with Holly Peppe, Millay’s Literary Executor and Mark O’Berski, Vice President of the Millay Society, who presentwd an illustrated talk about Millay’s life and career from her early days in the Village to her country life at Steepletop in Austerlitz, NY, where her house and gardens are now open for visitors. Dr. Peppe, who edited the Penguin and Harper’s editions of Millay’s poems, also shared stories about her friendship with the poet’s sister and included selected readings from the poet’s work.


Video/ The Victorian ‘Grand Tour’ – Professor Richard J Evans, Gresham College history lecture

Video/ The Victorian ‘Grand Tour’ – Professor Richard J Evans, Gresham College history lecture.

Tourism for the Victorian era was something very different from what it is today, and a part of this was their belief in the ‘backwardness’ of Europe in comparison to England. Gresham College Professor, Richard J Evans, explains the sorts of attitudes that Victorians taking a Grand Tour held with regards to the countries they visited.

This is the 2nd part of ‘The Victorians: Empire and Race’. The full lecture is available (in 10 parts) here on YouTube, or it can be downloaded (along with the other lectures by Professor Evans, and all of our other lectures) in its complete form from the Gresham College website, in video, audio or text formats:…

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website.


Video/ Penelope Lively @ 5×15 – A Life of Reading


Penelope Lively

Video/ Penelope Lively @ 5×15 – A Life of Reading.

November 23rd 2011, The Tabernacle Penelope Lively is an acclaimed novelist, who has won many major book awards including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Carnegie Medal. She was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent her childhood there. She came to England at the age of twelve, in 1945, and went to boarding school in Sussex. She subsequently read Modern History at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. In 1957 she married Jack Lively (who died in 1998). They had two children, Josephine and Adam. Jack Lively’s academic career took the family from Swansea to Sussex and Oxford, and eventually to Warwick University, where he was Professor of Politics. Penelope Lively now has six grandchildren and lives in London. She has reviewed regularly and written articles for most major newspapers and magazines. Penelope lively is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a member of PEN and the Society of Authors, of which she is a former chairman. She is a former member of the Arts Council Literature Panel and of the Board of the British Library. She has been a member of the Board of the British Council and of the Council of Goldsmiths College. She was awarded the OBE in 1989 and CBE in 2002.