Debut Novelists | Holly Pester, Andrew McMillan, & Sinéad Gleeson
Sun 21 Apr 2024 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Be the first to discover the best fiction publishing this year! Bestselling essayist Sinead Gleeson presents her haunting book Hagstone, whilst celebrated poets Andrew McMillan and Holly Pester each share their first novels: Pity, a tender exploration of queer masculinity, and The Lodgers, set within the precarious world of the housing crisis.
Selected by and in conversation with Alex Clark.
Venue: Old Divinity School
Duration: 1 hour
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Holly Pester is a poet, novelist and academic. She has worked in sound art and performance, with original dramatic work on BBC Radio 4, and collaborations with Serpentine Galleries, Women’s Art Library and Wellcome Collection. Her poetry has been published extensively, appearing in Poetry Review, the White Review, Poetry London and Believer Magazine. Her fiction has been published in Granta and anthologised in Protest (Comma Press, 2018). Comic Timing, her Forward Prize shortlisted first full collection of poetry, was published by Granta, 2021.
Andrew McMillan was born in Barnsley in 1988. His debut collection of poetry, physical, was ‘the sort of once-in-a-generation debut that causes everyone to sit up and take notice’ according to Sarah Crown. physical was the only poetry book to ever win the Guardian First Book Award; it was also awarded a Somerset Maugham award, an Eric Gregory Award, the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and in 2019 was voted as one of the Top 25 Poetry Books of the Past 25 Years by the Booksellers Association. His second collection, playtime, won the inaugural Polari Prize. A third collection, pandemonium, was published in 2021 and in 2022 he co-edited the acclaimed anthology 100 Queer Poems, which was shortlisted in the British Book Awards. He is professor of contemporary writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Sinéad Gleeson’s essay collection Constellations: Reflections from Life was published by Picador in 2019 and won Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2019 Irish Book Awards and the Dalkey Literary Award for Emerging Writer. It was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and Michael Deon Prize. She is editor of The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers (named for a line from Maeve Brennan, which includes a story by Brennan), The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland and The Art of Glimpse: 100 Irish Short Stories. Sinéad also collaborates with artist and musicians, with commissions from The Wellcome Collection, BBC, Frieze and various galleries. In 2022, with Kim Gordon, she co-edited This Woman’s Work: Essays in Music, published by White Rabbit Books. Hagstone is her first novel.
Alex Clark is a broadcaster and journalist, who writes for many publications including the Guardian, the Observer, and the Times Literary Supplement. She is a co-host on the Graham Norton Book Club for Audible and hosts the TLS podcast. She is a professional chairperson and appears all over the UK at Cheltenham, Hay and the Southbank Centre. Alex is a festival honorary patron.