Hilary Mantel & Pat Barker: Rewriting the Past

We recently welcomed not one, but two Booker Prize-winning writers to join us for a conversation about historical fiction. Hilary Mantel, who has twice won the prize for Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012); and the 1997 winner Pat Barker, who received the accolade for The Ghost Road.

In a special talk, chaired by the radio and news presenter James Naughtie, the two masters of the genre discussed how historical fiction can shed a light on our present. Mantel and Barker’s conversation moved from the practical challenge of writing trilogies to asking if historical fiction is able to reveal a greater truth than history itself?

Hilary Mantel & Pat Barker: Rewriting the Past by Southbank Centre: Think Aloud

We all have these moments in our lives, and the historian can’t do anything about them because it’s not recorded. It’s only a novelist that can do full justice to these memories.
Hilary Mantel

This talk was just a small part of Man Booker 50, a weekend-long festival of talks, readings and masterclasses at Southbank Centre to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize, featuring leading authors from the Prize’s rich history. 


Southbank Centre is the home of literature and spoken word events in the UK. See what’s coming up this month in our literature and poetry programme.

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