The Lowlands - With Sarah Perry, Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Anjali Joseph

Monday 22 May
WCN, Dragon Hall
7 - 8pm
£8 / £15 joint ticket with 'No Dogs, No Indians'

Marking the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, we bring together British and Indian writers to explore writing and place from two lowland eastern regions with renowned and radical literary heritages: Kolkata and Norwich. Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent was named Waterstones Book of the Year in 2016 and sees a small village beset by an ominous threat from the sea. In multi-award-winning Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s Peculiar Ground, years of war results in the building of walls and a false sense of safety, while Anjali Joseph’s The Living reflects on everyday life, and the challenges in living well. Chaired by Sarah Bower.

About the writers

Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979. Her first novel, After Me Comes the Flood (2014), was shortlisted for the Folio Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and won the East Anglian Book of the Year award. She has been writer-in-residence at Gladstone’s Library and the UNESCO writer-in-residence in Prague. Her criticism and essays have been published in The Guardian, Slightly Foxed and the Financial Times, and her work has been broadcast on RTE1 and BBC Radio 4. She has a PhD in Creative Writing/the Gothic. Her second novel, The Essex Serpent, is out now.

*2017 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction longlisted*

*2016 Costa Novel Award shortlisted*

‘Had Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker come together to write the great Victorian novel, I wonder if it would have surpassed The Essex Serpent’ - John Burnside

‘The Essex Serpent is a novel to relish: a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author’ - Sarah Waters

The Essex Serpent beats Harry Potter to win Waterstones book of the year (Guardian, Dec 2016)

After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry, review: 'a dazzling new talent' (Telegraph, July 2014)


Lucy Hughes-Hallett is the author of The Pike, a biography of Gabriele d'Annunzio, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non Fiction, the Costa Biography Award, the Duff Cooper Prize and the Paddy Power Political Biography of the Year Award. Her other books are Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions which was published in 1990 to wide acclaim, and Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen, published in 2004, which garnered similar praise. Cleopatra won the Fawcett Prize and the Emily Toth Award. Lucy Hughes-Hallett is also a respected critic who has reviewed for all the major British newspapers, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She lives in London. Website


Anjali Joseph was born in Bombay, read English at Trinity College, Cambridge and taught English at the Sorbonne. She has been published in The Times of India and was commissioning editor of ELLE India. Her first novel Saraswati Park (2010) won the Betty Trask Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and was joint winner of India’s Vodafone Crossword Book Award for Fiction. Another Country was published in 2012 and was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. The Living, her third novel, was published in March 2016. Website


Sarah Bower is the author of three novels and many short stories, and her work has been translated into ten languages. Her first novel, The Needle in the Blood, won the Susan Hill Award 2007 and her second, The Book of Love, was a Toronto Globe and Mail bestseller.