Lionel Shriver in conversation with Fiammetta Rocco


Filed under: Fiction

“Ferociously intelligent, uncompromising, independent, opinionated, driven, scorchingly funny, contrary, passionate” is how one interviewer has described Lionel Shriver. Her first six novels, whose subject matter included rock-and-roll drumming, the Northern Irish Troubles, epidemiology and tennis, were critically acclaimed but not commercially successful, and she struggled to make a living. Then, in 2003, she published We Need to Talk About Kevin, a controversial study of maternal ambivalence and high-school shooting. It won the Orange Prize, and was made into a prize-winning film starring Tilda Swinton. In conversation with Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor of the Economist, Shriver reflects on being an American novelist who has chosen not to live in America, on the state of American fiction and her scepticism about creative writing degrees, and on why she likes to craft characters who are hard to love.

We are grateful to the Hawthornden Charitable Trust for sponsoring this event.