12 May 2008

Don't Mention the War

From Writers and Readers Festivals, 6:00 pm on 12 May 2008

"Two World Wars and one World Cup," chant English football supporters at their German counterparts. On the pitch and elsewhere, the repercussions of World War II continue. In this programme three award-winning novelists - one English, one German, one New Zealander - discuss how the war has affected them, their writing and their respective countries. In the novels of Ian McEwan, including Black Dogs and Atonement, the conflict's legacy is frequently brought to bear on relationships, pressuring them into unexpected shapes and spaces. For Uwe Timm the spectre of Nazism casts a lingering pall over his family and his country. In My Brother's Shadow, based around the diary of his brother who was a soldier in the Waffen SS, attempts to understand his nation's commitment to duty, honour and obedience. These themes are echoed in The Invention of Curried Sausage, a delightful love story, and Midsummer Night, a macabre quest through post-reunification Berlin. For CK Stead the war is in part an absence as well as a presence. In Talking About O'Dwyer he examines the legacy of the Battle of Crete, and in The Secret Life of Modernism he explores young Antipodeans' post-war experiences in London. Chaired by Kate Camp. Chair: Kate Camp - Panellists: Ian McEwan, Uwe Timm, CK Stead.

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