Piranesi-esque

Here is a quick link to Karen Regn’s excellent review (for the Manchester sustainability portal, Platform) of my event last week at Manchester Literature Festival. It’s a great piece, and Karen has really engaged with Shackleton’s Man Goes South:

White’s novel is structured with a converging dual narrative in which a fact-based strand telling of the discovery of an “overlooked” short story, written in 1911 by polar explorer and scientist George Clarke Simpson, plays off and adds tension to what White calls the “melodrama”, a tale of refugees fleeing south, who are undertaking Shackleton’s journey in reverse. In this second strand, Emily and daughter Jenny are traveling to meet John, Emily’s husband, who has gone ahead to find work. They travel with Browning, a sailor who has already saved their lives more than once. In the slang of their post-melt world, Emily and Jenny are known as “mangoes”, a corruption of the saying “man go south”.

The dual structure reflects White’s belief that science and human experience are inextricably linked … 

Karen Regn is also a photographer and took this fantastic shot of me in mid-reading, framed by the beautifully lit and Piranesi-esque stairs and vaults of Manchester Museum’s Life Gallery.

Photo: © Karen Regn, 2013

Photo: © Karen Regn, 2013

Interestingly, Karen also uses the review to discuss the Festival’s policy and approaches to climate change and sustainability. Issues that may be of interest to artists and audiences just as much as arts organisations. Karen points out that:

Manchester Literature Festival organisers chose White’s novel as part [of an] ecologically-minded commitment to sustainability in the hopes that through this event and others of climate change-themed literature audiences will engage with sustainability agendas.

I was really impressed with Manchester Literature Festival’s use of Twitter to promote the event to climate change and other environmental interest groups and networks, as well as to the Manchester Museum Book Club who had chosen the novel for their September read. The Festival also collaborated with event sponsors Gaeia, who held an ethical investment workshop earlier in the day. The event was very well chaired by novelist Gregory Norminton, editor of the Beacons short story collection, which I am now looking forward to reading. I enjoyed my visit enormously.

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Shackleton’s Man Goes South is available free and DRM-free from the Science Museum at http://bit.ly/ShMGSth

A London event at the Science Museum at 2pm on Thursday 24 October has been organised by future-publishing consultants The Literary Platform. Booking is essential, and the modest ticket price of £15.00 includes a tour of my exhibition and a signed copy of the limited edition paperback. Info and booking here.

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