Posted on 18/11/2013
The second instalment of the Lunchtime Reading series at Royal Holloway sees young writer Iphgenia Baal tell the stories of freaks and outsiders and their battle against respectable society, in Gentle Art.
On Thursday 21 November, Iphgenia will read extracts from the book of short stories, which uses characters such as “marvellous George” and “the petrol-drinker” – based on real-life Londoners - to examine how the ideas of success and failure determine our lives.
Gentle Art was published in November last year, following the success of Iphgenia’s debut novel The Hardy Tree, which saw her nominated for Granta magazine’s list of Britain's 20 best young writers. Set in 1846, The Hardy Tree follows the story of Thomas Hardy before he became a famous novelist and poet, when he was employed to help clear an estimated 10,000 graves that stood in the way of the rail link into St Pancras.
Iphgenia began her career as a journalist, writing about music and the arts, before turning her hand to fiction. As a Londoner, she frequently uses the capital for inspiration.
“I have a very contrary nature, so I am inspired to write by people I despise, such as posh pop stars, Dalston thugs and policemen”, she said. “Writers can only use what we know and, of course we can make believe if we want to, but imaginary spaces can seem lacklustre compared to reality. Alternatively, we can also use reality without presenting it as such and this is what I’ve done in Gentle Art.”
Iphgenia will read from Gentle Art at 1pm on Thursday 21 November, in the Students' Union Main Hall. This will be followed by a Q&A. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. For more information, visit the Lunchtime Reading series webpage.