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York Festival of Ideas fosters new writing talent

Posted on 4 June 2013

Some of the country's brightest new writing stars will be heading to York later this month for an afternoon of debate and discussion designed to showcase their talents and give an insight into the inspiration and influences behind their prize-winning prose.

Part of the Festival of Ideas programme, the new writers’ event on Saturday 15 June at the University of York’s Ron Cooke Hub will feature 12 new authors who will be read from their novels, answer questions about the text and discuss how they got published.

The event includes an audience with three writers featured on the Best of Young British Novelists 2013 list compiled by Granta, one of Britain’s leading magazines for new writing. The Granta event features:

  • Ross Raisin from Silsden in West Yorkshire whose first novel, God’s Own Country, published in 2008, was awarded the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2009. It also won the Guildford First Novel Prize, a Betty Trask Award and shortlisted for six other awards including the Guardian First Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His second novel, Waterline, was published in 2011
  • Jenni Fagan whose critically acclaimed debut novel The Panopticon was published in 2012 and named one of the Waterstones Eleven, a selection of the best fiction debuts of the year. Her poetry has also been nominated for awards
  • Kamila Shamsie, the author of five novels including In the City by the Sea, published by Granta Books in 1998 and shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her most recent novel, Burnt Shadows, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and translated into more than twenty languages

The authors will be reading from their latest novels and discussing their experiences as young literary talents.

Dr Claire Chambers from the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York said: “I am particularly excited about Kamila Shamsie speaking at the Festival of Ideas. Not only is she one of Granta's Best Under 40 list, but she has also won or been nominated for numerous prizes. With five novels to date, dealing with her home city of Karachi, Pakistan, the United States, Afghanistan, Japan and Britain, Shamsie is one of the most accomplished writers of her generation. 

‌“This is a great opportunity to hear new and established writers read from and discuss their work, to learn how to get published and how to build up a career as a writer. Audiences will have a chance to find inspiration from the ideas and words of some of our most talented young writers.”

Saskia Vogel, Publicist at Granta, said the event will introduce readers to new writing talent: “Our events are all about creating a space where readers can deepen their connection with authors and stories and to discover writers they can’t wait to start reading. We’re especially looking forward to introducing the young novelists to audiences across the UK with events such as our panel at the York Festival of Ideas. From their narrative richness and stylistic vigour to peeling back the layers of history in ways that help us see life today more clearly, we hope that festival audiences will fall in love with Kamila, Jenni and Ross’s work, just as we did.”

The new writers’ events begin at noon with York alumnus Susie Steiner, author of Homecoming which documents the challenges of a Yorkshire family struggling to keep the family farm afloat. She will be joined by Elizabeth Day (Home Fires) and Gavin Weston (Harmattan).

At 1.30pm Kate Worsley, will read from She Rises, a romantic, maritime adventure alongside D W Wilson (Ballistics) and Matthew Reynolds (The World Was All Before Them).

At 2.45pm the discussion panel will feature Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow, a novel about a child dealing with the baffling world of adult grief; Abigail Tarttelin (Golden Boy) and Leonie Frieda (The Deadly Sisterhood).

The Granta Best of British Young Novelists 2013 event begins at 4pm. Tickets are free but booking is required. For more information and to book visit

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

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