Talks & debates

Howard Jacobson: Why the Novel Matters

Part of Man Booker 50

Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson delivers a keynote lecture on why we need the novel.

In the age of Twitter and no-platforming, Jacobson argues that the novel has never been more necessary.

For the last 300 years, it has been the most expressive medium of our humanity. It is the novel that has made us question our certainties, taught us to attend to voices other than our own, prefer reason to rage, value doubt above conviction, and to step beyond ourselves.

The keynote lecture is followed by an interview and Q&A with the audience.

Introduced by British writer, academic and critic Shahidha Bari.

This lecture is being recorded by BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking for broadcast on July 12 at 10pm and will be available as a BBC Arts and Ideas podcast.

Howard Jacobson won the Man Booker Prize in 2010 for The Finkler Question and was shortlisted for J in 2014. He is a novelist, critic and broadcaster.

Jacobson is the author of six works of non-fiction and 15 novels, including his latest, Pussy. From 1998 to 2016, he was a columnist for The Independent. A second collection of his columns – The Dog's Last Walk and Other Pieces – has just been published. Jacobson was born in Manchester and now lives in London.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Purcell Room


Free, but ticketed

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Age recommendation
For ages 16+.

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