30th Nov 2015 6:00pm
Sallis Benney Theatre
Prize-winning author Linda Grant visits the University of Brighton as part of the 'Big Read', an initiative in association with Man Booker to encourage first year students of all disciplines to read a Booker nominated novel.
The University of Brighton is again one of the select group of institutions taking part in the Man Booker Prize Foundation’s Universities Initiative, who this year are reading Linda Grant's The Clothes on Their Backs. This event is open to everyone.
In a red brick mansion block off the Marylebone Road, Vivien, a sensitive, bookish girl grows up sealed off from both past and present by her timid refugee parents. Then one morning a glamorous uncle appears, dressed in a mohair suit, with a diamond watch on his wrist and a girl in a leopard-skin hat on his arm. Why is Uncle Sándor so violently unwelcome in her parents’ home?
This is a novel about survival – both banal and heroic – and a young woman who discovers the complications, even betrayals, that inevitably accompany the fierce desire to live.
Set against the backdrop of a London from the 1950s to the present day, The Clothes on Their Backs is a wise and tender novel about the clothes we choose to wear, the personalities we dress ourselves in, and about how they define us all.
Linda Grant was born in Liverpool on 15 February 1951, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. Her first novel, The Cast Iron Shore (1996), won the David Higham First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize.
Remind Me Who I am Again (1988) an account of her mother’s decline into dementia, won the MIND/Allen Lane Book of the Year award and the Age Concern Book of the Year award. Her second novel, When I Lived in Modern Times won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize and the Encore Prize.
Her novel, Still Here (2002) was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her non-fiction work, The People On The Street: A Writer’s View of Israel, published in 2006, won the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage. Her Booker Prize shortlisted novel, The Clothes On Their Backs (2008) won the South Bank Show award. We Had It So Good was published by Virago in January 2011, and her latest novel Upstairs at the Party was published in July 2014.
Linda Grant lives in North London.
For further details on the Brighton Big Read contact: