ONLINE – Vital Discussions: RSL Remembers Kay Dick
Rediscovered after forty years, Kay Dick’s radical dystopian novel, They (1977), is a stunning meditation on art, memory, and nonconformity.
To celebrate the timely new edition of They, Claire-Louise Bennett will be joined by poet Jay Bernard and Kay Dick’s family friend, actor Natascha McElhone, in a conversation led by literary critic and publisher, Lucy Scholes.
Kay Dick (1915–2001) was a novelist, journalist and editor. She was the first woman director in English publishing, a tireless campaigner for the Public Lending Right, and a friend and confidant of many of the twentieth century's most notable writers, including George Orwell and Ivy Compton-Burnett.
In this exclusive event, live at the British Library, hear from a panel of admirers and friends as they dust off a forgotten gem and remember the remarkable Kay Dick.
Claire-Louise Bennett grew up in Wiltshire and studied literature and drama at the University of Roehampton, before moving to Ireland where she worked in and studied theatre for several years. In 2013 she was awarded the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize and her debut book, Pond, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2016. Her fiction and essays have appeared in a number of publications including White Review, Stinging Fly, gorse, Harper's Magazine, Vogue Italia, Music & Literature, and New York Times Magazine. Her new novel, Checkout 19, was shortlisted for the 2021 Goldsmiths Prize.
Jay Bernard is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Jay is the author of the pamphlets Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl, English Breakfast, and The Red and Yellow Nothing, which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award in 2017. Jay was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2005 and a winner of SLAMbassadors UK spoken word championship. Their collection Surge was shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize; Costa Poetry Award; T.S. Eliot Prize; Forward Prize for Best First Collection and Dylan Thomas Prize. In 2020 they won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.
Lucy Scholes writes about books, film and art for a variety of publications including the Financial Times, The Telegraph, the New York Review of Books and the New York Times Book Review. She hosts OurShelves, a podcast from the legendary feminist publishing house Virago, writes ‘Re-Covered’, a monthly column for the Paris Review about out-of-print and forgotten books that shouldn’t be, and is an Editor at McNally Editions, a new series of paperbacks devoted to hidden gems that launches in February 2022 with the American re-issue of Kay Dick’s They.
Natascha McElhone established herself as a leading actress when she left drama school to play the lead in her first film, Merchant Ivory's Surviving Picasso, opposite Anthony Hopkins. She quickly followed this with Peter Weir's film, The Truman Show; Alan J. Pakula's The Devil's Own, with Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford; and John Frankenheimer's action epic Ronin, in which she co-starred with Robert De Niro. She also played Rosalind to Kenneth Branagh's Berowne in his musical version of William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost. In the futuristic love story Solaris, she co-starred with George Clooney directed by Steven Soderbergh. For TV McElhone has starred in TNT's mini-series The Company, a Golden Globe-nominated drama, NBC's Emmy-nominated mini-series, Revelations but is probably best known for her role of Karen in seven series of the cult comedy drama Californication. Other TV credits include The First, Designated Survivor, Saints and Strangers, Thorne:Sleephead, The Company, Revelations.
Presented live at the British Library and online via the British Library Player, and in collaboration with Curtis Brown Heritage and Faber Editions.
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