2024

2024 marked a first for Nottingham City of Literature as we welcomed not one but two internationally acclaimed authors to deliver the City of Literature Lectures: Tahmima Anam and Chris McCormick. Taking place at Nottingham’s fantastic new Central Library, which opened its doors in November 2023, the two lectures delivered over two consecutive days gave a fascinating insight into topics including identity, storytelling, inheritance, desire and nostalgia.

Plus, on 3rd May, Tahmima Anam and Chris McCormick were joined by Jon McGregor for a roundtable discussion on ‘The Art of Short Form Narrative’ chaired by Ruth Maxey, Associate Professor of Modern American Literature at the University of Nottingham. 

Tahmima Anam’s first novel, A Golden Age, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and went on to be translated into 27 languages. It was followed by The Good Muslim and The Bones of Grace. She is the recipient of an O. Henry Award and has been named one of Granta’s best young British novelists. She was a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and was recently elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, she attended Mount Holyoke College and Harvard University and now lives in London, where she is on the board of ROLI, a music tech company founded by her husband. Her most recent novel is The Startup Wife. Tahmima’s lecture explored themes of identity and storytelling through the lens of inheritance, both familial and national.

In his lecture entitled “Counterpoints: Desire and Nostalgia in the Art of the Short Story”, Chris McCormick discussed these forces as two colliding ends of a central pressurizing machine, intent on revealing the innermost soul of a character. Chris McCormick is the author of a novel, The Gimmicks (Harper, 2020), a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and a short story collection, Desert Boys, winner of the 2017 Stonewall Book Award—Barbara Gittings Literature Award. His essays and stories have appeared in The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and The Southern Review. The son of an Armenian mother and an American father, he grew up in the Antelope Valley on the California side of the Mojave Desert before earning his BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MFA from the University of Michigan. He is Associate Professor in the creative writing program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is at work on his next book with the support of a 2024 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

2023

In 2023, Nottingham City of Literature Lecture was delivered by Edmund de Waal, internationally renowned artist and writer, in the beautiful surrounds of Nottingham Castle. 

Edmund de Waal, who was born in Nottingham, is an internationally renowned ceramic artist with large scale installations at many of the world’s most famous museums, heritage sites and diverse spaces. He became an acclaimed writer after publishing his family memoir, ‘The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance’, in 2010. The book became an international bestseller, winning the 2011 Costa Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, the Galaxy National Book Award for New Writer of the Year, and the Independent Bookshop Week’s ‘Book of the Decade’ in 2016. In 2021, an exhibition based on the memoir took place at The Jewish Museum in New York, designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro. De Waal published his second book, ‘The White Road’ in 2015 – the same year that he won the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction by Yale University. In 2021, he published ‘Letters to Camondo’, a series of haunting letters written during lockdown, and he was awarded a CBE for his services to art.

2019

In 2019, award-winning author Robert Macfarlane gave the third Nottingham City of Literature Lecture at the Council House Ballroom.

Robert Macfarlane is renowned for his writing on landscape, memory, place and nature. His books have been widely adapted for film, television and radio, and he has collaborated with many artists, photographers and musicians. Robert Macfarlane’s Underland, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated non-fiction book of 2019, takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland’s glaciers to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into the planet’s past and future, and into darkness and its meanings. Global in its geography, gripping in its voice and haunting in its implications, it is both an ancient and an urgent work. 

2018

In 2018, we welcomed internationally acclaimed author and political commentator Elif Shafak to deliver our second annual lecture at the Djanogly Art Gallery Rotunda in Nottingham.

Elif Shafak is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey. She is also a political commentator, an academic, and an inspirational public speaker. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 15 books, 10 of which are novels, including the bestselling The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love and her most recent, Three Daughters of Eve. Her books have been published in over 48 languages.

2017

In 2017, Professor Sarah Churchwell delivered the inaugural Nottingham City of Literature Lecture at Lakeside Arts, part of the University of Nottingham.

Sarah Churchwell is Professor of American Studies and Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of London, and Director of the Being Human Festival. In her 2017 lecture, Sarah spoke about the aspirations that UNESCO is founded on and the vision of literature as a tool for peace.