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The Founders' Tradition: literature as social commentary

LSE Space for Thought Literary Weekend Launch Event

This event marks the launch of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Weekend, the LSE's first ever Literary Festival, celebrating the completion of the New Academic Building, a discussion about not only the links between the social sciences and the arts, but the role of the arts in the LSE’s past, present and future. Is literature relevant today?

Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School and worked for several years as a management consultant in New York. His first novel, Moth Smoke published in ten languages, won a Betty Trask award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His latest novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which deals with the aftermath of 9/11, was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Nicholas Hytner became Director of the National Theatre in 2003. Under his directorship, the National has brought in a new community of artists, produced in equal measure the classical repertoire and new work, and introduced the Travelex £10 ticket seasons. He has directed many productions at the National including Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing, Rafta Rafta…, The Man of Mode, The Alchemist, Southwark Fair, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, His Dark Materials, The History Boys, Stuff Happens, Henry V, The Winter’s Tale, Mother Clap’s Molly House, Ghetto, The Wind in the Willows, The Madness of George III and Carousel. He was educated at Cambridge University and worked widely in repertory theatre, at the Northcott Theatre Exeter, Leeds Playhouse, the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. His film credits include The History Boys, The Madness of King George and The Crucible. He has directed opera productions for Kent Opera, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, the Paris Opera, the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, the Geneva Opera and the Bavarian State Opera, Munich. He has received, in addition to the BAFTA and Evening Standard awards for best British film, many other awards including three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, the London Critics’ Circle Award, two NY Drama Desk Awards and two Tony Awards. He was Visiting Professor of Theatre at Oxford University in 2000, and is Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall Cambridge.

Boyd Tonkin studied English and French literature at Cambridge University. He taught literature in higher and adult education before becoming an award-winning magazine journalist, as feature writer and features editor of the weekly magazine for social-services professionals, Community Care. Already a freelance writer and interviewer for The Observer, he became social policy editor of the New Statesman, and then Literary Editor, before moving to The Independent as Literary Editor. In addition to working as organiser and judge on the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize since 2000, he has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and (in 2007) the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature. He has reported on literary and artistic issues from more than 20 countries on four continents, and his cultural essays have been published widely; most recently, in the British Council anthology New Writing 15 (Granta).


Mohsin Hamid | talks
Nicholas Hytner | talks
Boyd Tonkin | talks
Chair: Howard Davies | talks


Date and Time:

27 February 2009 at 8:00 pm


1 hour



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

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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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