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ReaLITy: creative responses to social realities

LSE Literary Weekend/Student Recruitment prize-giving event, with the Royal Society of Literature

The culmination of a creative-writing competition for London state schools, this panel discussion looks at how authors find inspiration in contemporary social issues- from gang culture and knife crime, to the more timeless problems of being a teenager. The panel of popular and award-winning teen authors have dealt with topics as wide ranging as Ethiopian street children and Nazi Germany, with a mixture of reality, comedy and fantasy. Teenagers and adults alike should enjoy this event.

Award-winning children’s author Morris Gleitzman is celebrated for his ability to wrap difficult issues within easily accessible books. With great sensitivity and lightness of touch he has covered AIDS and cancer in Two Weeks with the Queen, asylum seekers and immigration in Boy Overboard and Girl Underground, and most recently the Holocaust in Once and his latest novel Then. Beginning his literary career as a promotions writer, Morris Gleitzman was soon writing comedy scripts for the top rated Norman Gunston Show. His first novel for children – The Other Facts of Life – was published in 1985, followed by the hugely successful Two Weeks with the Queen for which he won the Children’s Book Award. He is a bestselling author of more than 27 books for children.

Elizabeth Laird has published many books for all ages and has won and been shortlisted for many prestigious awards. In 2008 Crusade was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book of the Year and the CILIP Carnegie Medal; Jake’s Tower was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and in 2004 The Garbage King won the Scottish Arts Council Book Prize. Elizabeth has spent many years living and working abroad, including long spells in Lebanon, Ethiopia and India. She and her husband now divide their time between London and Edinburgh.

Before turning to writing full-time, Anthony McGowan gained a PhD in Philosophy, worked as a nightclub bouncer, an Open University tutor, a journalist and a civil servant. In 2006 he won the Teenage Booktrust Prize for Henry Tumour, which was also shortlisted for the Sheffield Children's Book Award, Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award, Redbridge Teenage Book Award and the Catalyst Award. His new, highly controversial and topical young-adult novel, The Knife That Killed Me, was released on April 1 2008. It deals in a hard-hitting, intensely realised way with the problems of knife crime and youth violence.

Patrick Ness is an American who lives in England, after a peripatetic childhood that included a spell living in Hawaii at the same time as Barack Obama. He had his first story published in Genre magazine in 1997. He has published two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I know Nothing. His first book for teenager, The Knife of Never Letting Go, won the 2008 BookTrust Teenage Prize in November 2008.

Meg Rosoff had three or four careers in publishing and advertising before bursting onto the literary scene in 2004 with one of the most highly acclaimed debut novels of recent years. How I Live Now won the Guardian and Branford Boase Awards, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Fiction as well as the Whitbread and has sold over 200,000 copies in the UK alone. Just in Case, published in 2006, was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and won the prestigious Carnegie Medal 2007. She moved from New York to London in 1989, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Peter Florence is the director of the Hay Festivals in Wales, Colombia, Spain, Lebanon, Ireland and Kenya. He holds an honorary Doctorate from the University of Glamorgan and was awarded an MBE for his services to Literature.

This event is supported by the LSE Annual Fund and the Royal Society of Literature.

This is part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Weekend, the LSE's first ever Literary Festival, celebrating the completion of the New Academic Building.


Morris Gleitxman | talks
Elizabeth Laird | talks
Anthony McGowan | talks
Patrick Ness | talks
Meg Rossof | talks


Date and Time:

27 February 2009 at 6:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Sheikh Zayed Theatre, London School of Economics
New Academic Building
Lincoln's Inn Fields

Show map

Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
See other talks organised by London School of Economics & Political Science...




Available from:

This event is free and open to all, but a ticket is required. One ticket per person may be requested from 10am on Tuesday 17 February.

Members of the public can request one ticket via the online ticket request form which will be live on www.lse.ac.uk/events from 10.00am on Tuesday 17 February.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.lse.ac.uk/collections/spaceForThought/literaryWeekend.

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