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Andrey Kurkov & Maaza Mengiste: The Responsibility of Writers (and Readers)

Andrey Kurkov & Maaza Mengiste: The Responsibility of Writers (and Readers)

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A panel discussion about the responsibility of writers and their readers presented in association with the London Review of Books.

Exactly a century ago, the first copies of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ to make it across the Channel in bulk from Paris were impounded by customs officials in Folkestone and burned for obscenity.

100 years later, one of the most courageous writers of our era was attacked in upstate New York. How do the examples of Joyce and Rushdie illuminate the responsibilities of writers in a consistently illiberal world, and of readers too?

Two celebrated writers answer that question through the lens of their own novels and essays, linked by the awful coincidence of two wars: Andrey Kurkov, the Ukrainian author of, most recently, 'Diary of an Invasion', and Maaza Mengiste, whose 'The Shadow King' was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and who has written about the Tigray War in the London Review of Books (LRB)

This event will be chaired by Sam Kinchin-Smith. Andrey will be on screen.


The Shape of Things to Come, our forward-thinking Book Festival returns this autumn. Running from Friday 18 November to the following Sunday 27 November 2022, Folkestone Book Festival will present a celebration of writing, reading, thinking and debate.

Stay up to date with all the latest Book Festival news and share your experiences and follow us:


We are delighted to welcome the return of NewsNow as our principal partner. Thank you to NewsNow and all of our funders for their continued support.

How’s your reading list? Look no further than the Canterbury Christ Church University Book Shop for all of your essential Folkestone Book Festival reads. Click here for more information and to buy books.


Mill Bay,
CT20 1BN

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