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?
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.