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Rewriting the past: Sarah Dunant and Kate Mosse

Festival of Ideas


Saturday 4 May 2019
1.30 — 2.30pm

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Sarah Dunant and Kate Mosse

Acclaimed historical novelists Sarah Dunant and Kate Mosse discuss how the past can shed light on the present.

Can historical fiction reveal a greater truth than history itself; how do you connect a personal story with the collective past; and what can novelists reveal that eludes historians? Two of the UK’s best-selling historical novelists Sarah Dunant, the author of several novels set in Renaissance Italy that explore women’s lives through art, sex and religion, and Kate Mosse, the author of the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy, discuss their very different approaches to their exploration of the past.

Sarah Dunant

Dunant studied history at Newnham College, Cambridge from where she went on to become a writer, broadcaster, teacher and critic. She has written twelve novels, four of which have been shortlisted for awards, and she has edited two books of essays. Dunant’s last five novels have been set in Renaissance Italy and include the acclaimed trilogy The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan and Sacred Hearts as well as Blood and Beauty and In the Name of the Family about the Borgias family. She has also devised and is currently presenting a BBC Radio 4 programme on history, When Greeks Flew Kites.

Kate Mosse

Mosse studied English at New College, Oxford. The author of three works of non-fiction, four plays and eight novels and short story collections – including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and the No. 1 bestseller The Burning Chambers, her fiction has been translated into 37 languages and published in more than 40 countries. Mosse is currently working on the second in her quartet of novels inspired by the French Wars of Religion. Set in 16th and 17th century Paris, London and Amsterdam, The City of Tears will be published in May 2020.  Mosse is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and a Visiting Professor at the University of Chichester. In 2013, she was awarded an OBE for services to literature. She divides her time between Carcassonne in southwest France and Chichester in West Sussex.

This event will be chaired by broadcaster and journalist Alex Clark.

This event will be accompanied by British Sign Language and Stagetext interpretation.

Sarah Dunant and Kate Mosse will be signing books after the event in the Burlington Gardens entrance hall, outside Pace Gallery after the event.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Saturday 4 May 2019

1.30 — 2.30pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£15, £9