Hilary Mantel & Pat Barker: Rewriting the Past

In July 2018, we 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. 


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