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Listen: Arguing with Reality

  • By Sophie Freeman
  • 7th March 2017
How do writers reflect current pressures in characters, in their work? How do they engage with alleged realities when creating their own fictional versions? Listen to John Freeman in conversation with Benjamin Markovits and Joanna Kavenna.

How have political ideologies and crises impacted families throughout history? With new austerity measures under discussion, a refugee problem continuing, the aftermath of the Brexit vote and more to come, it is one the most relevant questions today. How do writers reflect these pressures in characters, in their work? And how do they engage with alleged realities when creating fictional versions of their own?

Two of Britain’s most talented young novelists, Benjamin Markovits (You Don’t Have to Live Like This) and Joanna Kavenna (A Field Guide to Reality) discuss these and other issues in light of the recent work they’ve written for the literary journal Freeman’s, edited by former Granta editor John Freeman.


Listen now


Speakers at this event included:

John Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary biannual, and author of How to Read a Novelist. The former editor of Granta, he lives in New York and teaches at New York University (NYU).

Joanna Kavenna is the author of several novels and one work of non-fiction. Her latest, A Field Guide to Reality, was published in 2016. In 2013 she was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

Benjamin Markovits is the author of seven novels, most recently You Don’t Have to Live Like This which won the 2016 James Tait Black Fiction Prize. In 2013 he was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.


This event took place on 18 October 2016 at Free Word Centre and you can view the original listing here.

Presented by Freeman’s in collaboration with Free Word.

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