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The Healing Power of Literature

Thursday 26 March 2015

1 Hour


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Ticket price

Lord Melvyn Bragg’s latest novel Grace and Mary is a moving tale of ageing and our helplessness in the face of dementia The novel spans the last century and is informed by his own experience of his mother’s life and especially her last years, and his imagined life of a grandmother he did not know. He talks to biographer Paula Byrne about the origins of the book, the importance of reading aloud and the wider healing power of literature. Byrne is founder and chief executive of a new charity, The Bibliotherapy Foundation, to be launched later this year: it will work with doctors, in schools and with others to explore how poetry and fiction can help in the battle against stress, anxiety and even dementia and depression.

Bragg is an author and broadcaster best known for his long stints as editor of The South Bank Show and writer/presenter of In Our Time. He has written more than a score of novels including The Soldier’s Return and Remember Me.  His non-fiction includes The Adventure of English.  Byrne is a fellow in creativity at the University of Warwick and author of several bestselling biographies including Mad World, about the crucial time in the literary life of Evelyn Waugh. Her most recent book was Belle: The True Story of Dido Belle.