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“CABBAGES ARE IMPORTANT…” MAR 25 1.02PM

Lionel Shriver

What do they say? You should never meet your heroes?
What tosh.
Lionel Shriver was EVEN more brilliant and articulate than I ever imagined she’d be. And perhaps more importantly, warm, funny and deliciously self-deprecating.
From the heart and mind of someone who’s penned - among other novels - ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin”, “So Much for That” and her latest, “The Mandibles”, it was genuinely revelatory to see someone so relaxed, so comfortable and so…witty.
In Oxford to talk about “The Mandibles’, a dystopian tale of near future economic collapse, she admitted, gleefully, that she had experienced “almost a festive quality in bringing the whole of the United States to its knees.”
“After all,” she added, the scale of catastrophe in my previous novels had been very small and intimate so this was a riot!”
She also let slip, as she warmed to her audience, that her working title for “Kevin” was… wait for it… “Cradle to Grave”.
“If I’d stuck with that,” she admitted, “I probably wouldn’t be sitting her now.”
With “Mandibles” she says she strived for an “everyday apocalyptic feel” and admitted that cabbages - and their price - is integral part of its plot device.
For someone who prefers Kale, this came as something of a shock but I’ve bought the book all the same.

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford BBC World Service International radio partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Irish Embassy, London Supporters of the Irish programme Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. Sponsors of the programme of American literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Head of Zeus The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Italian Cultural Institute HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture British Academy BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner Earthwatch Europe Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Jill Dunsmore New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Jesus College St Hilda’s College St John’s College St John's College The Queen’s College The Queen's College Exeter College Exeter College Hertford College Keble College Keble College Oxford Brookes University The Feathers Hotel Said Business School University of Oxford Mathematical Institute Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design The Royal Society of Literature Royal Literary Fund Princeton University Press Felicity Bryan Associates University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Conference Oxford Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Press Floris of London Critchleys City Audio Visual Bayard Presse Eynsham Hall Macdonald Bear Hotel Sloane Club Ashmolean Museum British Humanist Association The Story Museum Oxford City Council The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Liaison Financial Services Steer

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival partners & sponsors

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford BBC World Service International radio partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Irish Embassy, London Supporters of the Irish programme Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press. Sponsors of the programme of American literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Head of Zeus The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Italian Cultural Institute HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture British Academy BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner Earthwatch Europe Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Jill Dunsmore New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Jesus College St Hilda’s College St John’s College St John's College The Queen’s College The Queen's College Exeter College Exeter College Hertford College Keble College Keble College Oxford Brookes University The Feathers Hotel Said Business School University of Oxford Mathematical Institute Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design The Royal Society of Literature Royal Literary Fund Princeton University Press Felicity Bryan Associates University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Conference Oxford Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Press Floris of London Critchleys City Audio Visual Bayard Presse Eynsham Hall Macdonald Bear Hotel Sloane Club Ashmolean Museum British Humanist Association The Story Museum Oxford City Council The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Liaison Financial Services Steer