RSL Events

Nov 2012
  1. Fully Booked

How novels are smart

Richard Ford

Kasia Boddy

Somerset House, 7pm


Richard Ford, one of America's greatest contemporary novelists, has described his sense of language as 'a source of pleasure in itself - all of its corporeal qualities,  its syncopations, moods, sounds, the way things look on a page'. In 1995, Independence Day, a sequel to The Sportswriter (1986), won the Pulitzer Prize. In June, Ford published Canada, rapturously received by the critics and praised by John Banville as 'one of the first great novels of the twenty-first century'. Despite success and international recognition, however, Ford claims that 'writing never came naturally and I still have to force my hand to do it.' In a talk written specially for the Royal Society of Literature, and chaired by Kasia Boddy, senior lecturer in English at UCL, Richard Ford considers specific ways in which novels introduce new intelligence into a reader's life and experience.

We are grateful to the Hawthornden Charitable Trust for sponsoring this event. 



Richard Ford photographed by Laura Wilson

Booking Information

There are no remaining tickets to this event. A recording will be available in our online Library in December.


Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, THe Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA.

Image of How novels are smart

Nov 2014

Memory and transformation

William Fiennes

Feb 2015


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