Secret Life of Novels Guests Announced

December 10, 2018 | Events, Other News

In the second part of TLC’s already acclaimed event series, initially launched as part of Free Word Centre’s ‘This is Private’ season, we invite three authors at the top of their game to speak about their creative process, creatively. From overarching structures to the minutiae of notebooks, graphs, sketches and scribbles, we lift the lid on creativity itself and get under the skin of the most private part of the writing process.

The theme for our March event is books drawn from life. We are delighted to announce that the guest novelists at this event will be Kelleigh Greenberg, Michael Donkor, and Nell Stevens. Each writer will be speaking candidly about their writing and drafting process, following which they will be chaired in an intimate sofa chat about creativity, writing, and their techniques for approaching both, with TLC Director Aki Schilz.

This event will take place March 6th 6.30-8.30pm. You can book by going to our Events Page

Our guest writers

Michael Donkor was born in London in 1985. He was raised in a Ghanaian household where talking lots and reading lots were vigorously encouraged. Michael read English at Oxford where he developed a particular interest in the works of Woolf, Lessing and Achebe, and later undertook a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. Michael worked in publishing but retrained as an English teacher in 2010. Since then he has taught A Level English, trying to develop a curious excitement about books and storytelling within his students.

In 2014 Michael was selected by Writers Centre Norwich for their Inspires Mentoring Scheme, and worked with mentor Daniel Hahn. His first novel, Hold, which explores Ghanaian heritage and questions surrounding sexuality, identity and sacrifice, was published by 4th Estate in 2018.

“At times, there are flashes of Jane Eyre in Belinda’s role as a “governess” of sorts, but there is no Mr Rochester to save her from her life, nor a sugary ending. The focus is on the love that flows between women and the need for Belinda to find a place that feels like home … Their lives are hard, yet a profound sense of hope resonates from within Donkor’s warm and accomplished novel.” Arifa Akbar, Observer

“Donkor’s principal achievement is the dignity and generosity of spirit with which he imbues a central character from a largely invisible seam of African society.” Guardian

“Donkor’s debut novel concerns itself with those who don’t traditionally get much of a look-in when it comes to fiction: two Ghanaian house girls… A warm and intelligent story, offering full-bodied characters and a fortifying examination of courage.” Mail on Sunday

Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott was born and raised in Houston, Texas, before coming to call first Los Angeles, then London her adopted homes. She holds a BFA Drama (Directing) from Carnegie Mellon University and studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California. In 2006 Kelleigh was the recipient of the Abroad Writers’ Conference Fellowship in Provence, where the germ of an idea for a book about Truman Capote’s betrayal of his Swans was born. Swan Song was named the winner of the 2015 Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel. The work was additionally shortlisted for the 2015 Myriad Editions First Drafts Competition, the 2015/16 Historical Novel Society New Novel Award and the 2016 Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize. It was pre-empted in a six-figure deal by Hutchinson, and published in 2018.

“Brilliantly captures Capote’s acid wit and his dramatic downfall.” The Times (Books of the Year)

“A dazzlingly assured first novel… This clever book, with the moreish astringency of a negroni, is a perfect summer cocktail.” Sunday Times

“A whirlwind of a first novel. There is great pathos in the Swans’ woundings and in their inevitable decline. And the character of Truman himself shimmers through the novel in a wonderful blaze of eccentricity and excess. Outstanding.” Rose Tremain 

Nell Stevens writes memoir and fiction. She is the author of Bleaker House (2017) and Mrs Gaskell & Me (UK) / The Victorian & the Romantic (US/CAN) (2018), published by Picador (UK), Doubleday (US) & Knopf (Canada). Nell has a PhD in Victorian literature from King’s College London, and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University.

“Bleaker House swirls text, subtext, and context into a single narrative, a mesmerizing literary levitation act . . . lovely and thoughtful.” Vogue.

“Stevens is a very artful writer—the structure she chooses is inspired—and the book builds to a surprising, and surprisingly moving, ending.” The New Yorker on Mrs Gaskell & Me 

“One of the most original, entertaining, and thought-provoking books I have ever read” The New Yorker on Bleaker House