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John Le Carré: The Biography SOLD OUT

Saturday 9 April 2016

1 Hour


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Ticket price

Biographer Adam Sisman explains how he uncovered the real man behind John Le Carré, the author of some of the bestselling and most influential novels of the last 50 years.

Sisman had exclusive access to David Cornwell, the writer behind the John Le Carré pen name, and to his private archive, his friends, enemies, ex-lovers and ex-intelligence colleagues. The result is an insightful biography that finds the origins for the themes of love and abandonment in Le Carré’s fiction in a difficult childhood when he was left in the sole care of his conman father. Sisman recounts Cornwell’s recruitment by MI5 and MI6, his marriages and his emergence as the master of the spy novel. He also explores the human significance of espionage reflected in Cornwell’s life and work, including of betrayal, love and the need for forgiveness.

Sisman has written biographies of AJP Taylor and Hugh Trevor-Roper. His Boswell’s Presumptuous Task was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize and won the US National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. Le Carré appeared at the 2010 Oxford Literary Festival.

Here he talks to writer and journalist Paul Blezard.

This event is part of the festival’s leadership programme sponsored by HSBC.