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Writers Roundtable

Saturday 2 April 2016

1 Hour


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Ticket price

Three debut novelists destined for big things – army veteran Harry Parker, journalist David Savill and actress and former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis – discuss their writing under the chairmanship of journalist, writer and literary critic Erica Wagner.

Former soldier and Afghanistan veteran Parker has won praise for his battlefield story of patriotism, heroism and humanism, Anatomy of a Soldier. The stories of the characters, including Captain Tom Barnes and two local boys caught up in the war, are told not as they see themselves but through a series of inanimate objects that surround them including boots, a helmet, a drone and an improvised explosive device.

Former BBC current affairs journalist Savill’s first novel, They are Trying to Break Your Heart, ranges from the cruelties of the Bosnian War to the devastating tsunami that wreaked havoc in Thailand. It features Marko Novak, who has fled the Bosnian war after the death of his best friend, and Anya Teal, a human rights researcher seeking a Bosnian man with blood on his hands.

Ellis, a presenter of the BBC children’s programme Blue Peter in the 1980s, has published The Butcher’s Hook, a dark tale set in 18th-century London. Georgian London is seen through the eyes of Anne Jaccob, a young woman intent on defying her well-to-do parents’ wishes and pursuing a passion for Fub, a butcher’s apprentice.

Wagner is consulting literary editor of Harper’s Bazaar and writer of short stories and a novel, Seizure. She has been a judge of the Booker, Orange, Whitbread First Novel, and Forward prizes and was literary editor of The Times between 1996 and 2013.