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World Literature: Claire Messud (USA) & Andrew O’Hagan (Scotland)

June 24 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Our World Literature series continues with not one but two acclaimed novelists & friends.

In this program curated by Anderson Tepper, Booker Prize finalists and friends Claire Messud and Andrew O’Hagan take the City of Asylum stage together to talk about their life and work. Claire’s This Strange Eventful History follows one family over the course of 70 years; acclaimed novelist Yiyun Li describes the story as a “tour de force…the War and Peace of the 20th and 21st century.” Andy’s Caledonian Road follows five interconnected families and offers a biting critique of the British class system; Peter Morgan, creator of The Crown, calls it “Dickens and Wolfe and Thackeray and Hogarth and Amis.” These novels do what the best novels do: explore, question, and help us make sense of the human condition.

“How fortunate we are that Claire Messud and Andrew O’Hagan, two true literary masters, have new books out this Spring—and that they’ve picked Pittsburgh as the place to rekindle their transatlantic friendship. Messud’s This Strange Eventful History delves into a family history that sweeps across decades, from World War II to the 21st century, and moves from Algeria to Australia, Massachusetts and beyond. While O’Hagan’s Caledonian Road brilliantly captures—and skewers—the mores and pretensions of contemporary London. What a joy to bring them together at City of Asylum!” —Anderson Tepper, Curator of World Literature

This exciting program will be moderated by none other than James Wood, literary critic for The New Yorker. We are thrilled to welcome James, Claire, and Andrew for this can’t miss discussion,

You can purchase your own copy of Claire’s book This Strange Eventful History and Andrew’s book Caledonian Road at City of Asylum Bookstore.

About the Authors:

Claire Messud is the author of six works of fiction. A recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she teaches at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Andrew O’Hagan, a Scottish novelist and essayist, is a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, a three-time nominee for the Booker Prize, the editor-at-large of the London Review of Books, and a contributor to The New Yorker. He lives in London.

About the Moderator:

James Wood has been a staff writer and book critic at The New Yorker since 2007. In 2009, he won the National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism. He was the chief literary critic at the Guardian, in London, from 1992 to 1995, and a senior editor at The New Republic from 1995 to 2007. His critical essays are collected in “The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief”; “The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and “The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays.” Wood is also the author of the novel “The Book Against God”; a study of technique in the novel, “How Fiction Works”; and a collection of essays, “Serious Noticing: Selected Essays, 1997-2019.” His latest novel, “Upstate,” was published in 2018. He is a professor of the practice of literary criticism at Harvard University.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but a cash wine bar will be available.

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June 24
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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