Beginning, middle and end

Tens of thousands of novels are published in the UK every year – so how do new voices get heard? Two well-established authors, Michael Holroyd and Deborah Moggach, introduce two outstanding young writers with novels coming out this month. Karin Altenberg’s first novel, Island of Wings, was set on St Kilda, and was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Prize. Her second, Breaking Light, is set on Dartmoor. ‘I am a hard rock of a reader,’ says Michael Holroyd, ‘but this has more than once moved me to tears.’ Jessie Burton’s debut, The Miniaturist, set in the 17th Century, follows a young woman as she travels to Amsterdam to marry an illustrious merchant trader, and finds herself in a closed and dangerous world. It is, says Deborah Moggach, ‘complex, involving and deeply atmospheric’. As well as talking about their own work, Altenberg and Burton ask Holroyd and Moggach about their lives in literature. Michael Holroyd’s novel A Dog’s Life, started when he was 19, is re-released today (rather too hurriedly, he believes), and Deborah Moggach’s Tulip Fever – also set in 17th-century Amsterdam – is currently being made into a Hollywood film.

This meeting is generously sponsored by Richard and Jenny Davenport-Hines, and is held in memory of their son Cosmo.

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