Ali Smith’s Debut Writers – Online

Sat 6 May - Mon 29 May 2023

Nell Stevens
Jyoti Patel
Michael Magee
Ali Smith
Jyoti Patel front cover
Michael Magee book
Nell Stevens book

Recorded at Spring Festival 2023

Always a highlight, this year’s debut writers panel is a cracker! Ali Smith welcomes three new novelists to Cambridge: Nell Stevens (Briefly, a Delicious Life), Michael Magee (Close to Home) and Jyoti Patel (The Things That We Lost).  

From acclaimed writer Nell Stevens, the richly witty, and utterly compulsive Briefly, a Delicious Life is about creativity, yearning love and the surprising consequences of one woman wearing a suit and wandering into a Mallorcan village, smoking a cigar. 

Drawing from his own experiences, Michael Magee examines the forces that keep young working-class men in harm’s way. Close to Home shines with intelligence and humanity on every page, asking: how do you decide what kind of a man you want to be?  

Jyoti Patel’s deeply moving coming-of-age story The Things That We Lost is both a profound meditation on what it means to be a person of colour in Britain today, and a beautifully tender exploration of family, loss, and the lengths we go to to protect the ones we love. 

Be amongst the first to hear from these three remarkable writers. 

Venue: Online

Duration: 1hr

Tickets available soon.

Author biography

Nell Stevens writes memoir and fiction. Her debut novel, Briefly, a Delicious Life, is out now. She is the author of Bleaker House and Mrs Gaskell & Me (UK) / The Victorian & the Romantic (US/CAN), which won the 2019 Somerset Maugham Award. She was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, 2018. Her writing is published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vogue, The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Granta and elsewhere. Nell is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. 

Jyoti Patel was born in Paris to British Indian parents and grew up in North West London. She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Prose Fiction MA and winner of the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize. Her writing has previously been published as part of We Present’s ‘Literally’ series and in the anthology for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize, for which she was shortlisted. The Things That We Lost is her debut novel. 

Michael Magee is the fiction editor of The Tangerine and a graduate of the PhD Creative Writing programme at Queen’s University, Belfast. His writing has appeared in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, The Lifeboat and in The 32: AN Anthology of Working Class Writing. Close to Home is Magee’s first novel and he lives in Belfast. 

Chair Biography

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. She is the author of Spring, Winter, Autumn, Public library and other stories, How to be both, Shire, Artful, There but for the, The first person and other stories, Girl Meets Boy, The Accidental, The whole story and other stories, Hotel World, Other stories and other stories, Like and Free Love. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Bailey’s Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Autumn was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017 and Winter was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2018. Ali Smith lives in Cambridge and is an Honorary Patron of Cambridge Literary Festival.