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Friday, 15th September, 7:45pm
St Peter's Church Oundle, PE8 4AL
Nadar was the first great portrait photographer, a pioneering balloonist, the first person to take an aerial photograph and launch an air mail service, he was one of the first celebrity artist-entrepreneurs. A kind of 19th-century Andy Warhol, he knew everyone worth knowing and photographed them all, leaving for posterity psychologically compelling portraits of Manet, Sarah Bernhardt, Delacroix, Daumier and countless others - a priceless panorama of Parisian celebrity.
Nadar became known to all of Europe and even across the Atlantic after he launched "The Giant," a hot air balloon as tall as a twelve-story building, the largest of its time. His ballooning exploits, which include a catastrophic crash that made headlines around the world, inspired his friend Jules Verne create one of his most dynamic heroes.
The Great Nadar illuminates a larger-than-life figure, a visionary whose outsized talent and canny self-promotion put him way ahead of his time.
Adam Begley is the author of Updike (Harper, 2014). He was the books editor of the New York Observer from 1996 to 2009. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, and The Times Literary Supplement.
Claire Fuller: Swimming Lessons
Thursday, 5th October, 7:45PM
St Peter's Church, Oundle
Church Street, PE8 4AL
Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, presumed drowned, leaving behind her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.
Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, Flora, who has existed in a limbo of hope and grief, imagination and fact, wants answers. She returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid, not realising that what she’s looking for is hidden in the books that surround her.
Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.
Claire’s short stories have been published in many literary journals and shortlisted in prizes. Baker, Emily and Me, won the 2014 BBC Opening Lines competition and my story, A Quiet Tidy Man, won the Royal Academy and Pin Drop short story award 2016.
Claire is the author of Swimming Lessons (published 2017), and Our Endless Numbered Days (2015) which won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction and was a 2016 Richard and Judy Book Club Pick.