As part of the Inside Out Festival, I’ll be chairing a debate tomorrow night at Somerset House in London on the literature of the New Labour years with the writers Blake Morrison and John O’Farrell, and the academics Robert Hampson and Shahidha Bari.
Morrison and O’Farrell appeared on the Today programme this morning to discuss the topic. You can listen to their conversation with presenter Justin Webb here (their contribution starts 2 hours and 54 minutes in). Among the works they discuss are Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday, set on the day of the massive anti-Iraq War demonstration in February 2003, Jonathan Coe’s The Closed Circle and The Ghost by Robert Harris – not to mention Morrison’s own novel South of the River, which opens on 2 May 1997, the day after Tony Blair’s first landslide election victory.The dimming of that glorious “new dawn” explains, Morrison suggested, the “rather disenchanted tone of a lot of the literature [of the period]”.
We’ll have an opportunity to explore that analysis in rather more detail tomorrow night. The event starts at 7pm and tickets are still available. They can be ordered from the Inside Out website.