Iain Sinclair on the habit of Hackney

Filed under: Non-fiction

Iain Sinclair discusses Hackney. Chaired by Victoria Glendinning.

‘It’s a habit I can’t break, the habit of Hackney,’ writes Iain Sinclair. In a talk combining reading and reminiscence, he reflects on the genesis of Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire, published this month, offering an account of a life unfolding, over 40 years, in a part of London that seems to be on the point of headlong transformation or self-erasure. He describes a number of overlapping quests: to recover reforgotten authors, legends of lost films, rumours of underground tunnels, vanished utopian communities. He celebrates the spirit of active dissent, running back through the centuries. And he exposes and challenges the complexity of the present moment, the invasion of computer-generated visions of a future that may never arrive. Iain Sinclair, a newly elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, is a novelist, poet and film-maker, and one of the greatest chroniclers of London writing today. ‘Sentence for sentence,’ says John Lanchester, ‘there is no more interesting writer at work in English.’

Recorded on Monday 23 February 2009.

Related RSL Fellows

Iain Sinclair 2009
Victoria Glendinning 1982