Thu, 28 April 2022

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm BST

The Art of Life Writing

Frances Wilson Meets Howard Jacobson, Alba Arikha, Kathryn Schulz

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Biographer Frances Wilson meets three extraordinary memoirists: Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson, Pulitzer Prize winner Kathryn Schulz, and author and songwriter Alba Arikha.

Drawing upon her bestselling course in the practice of life writing, award-winning biographer Frances Wilson returns to How To Academy to host an evening with three extraordinary masters of the art.

Howard Jacobson, the Booker Prize winning author of The Finkler Question and The Mighty Walzer, will reveal how he became an author. He says, ”It’s my theory that only the unhappy, the uncomfortable, the gauche, the badly put together, aspire to make art. Why would you seek to reshape the world unless you were ill-at-ease in it? And I came out of the womb in every sense the wrong way round.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning New Yorker writer Kathryn Schulz will tell the story of losing her father and finding the love of her life in a profound meditation on love, grief and joy. Weaving the stories of her father’s life and death with the story of her marriage in the midst of the pandemic, she will explore how private happiness can coexist with global catastrophe, how we get irritated with those we adore, and how love and loss are themselves unavoidable inseparable.

And Alba Arikha will transport us back to Paris in the 1980s, where she grew up in a hub of literary and artistic flourishing that still reverberates today. Her tale plays out against the family memories of war and exile and the ever-present memories of the European holocaust.

Whether you are an aspiring author or simply fascinated by the eternal question of what it means to be alive, this unique livestream event is an unmissable chance to explore the human condition in all its richness and splendour.

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Frances Wilson

Biographer, critic and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Frances Wilson is a biographer and critic. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, her books include The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth, How to Survive the Titanic: Or, the Sinking of J Bruce Ismay, and Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey. She was a judge for the Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction, 2019, and was chair of the judges for the Goldmith’s Prize, 2020.

Howard Jacobson


Howard Jacobson has written sixteen novels and five works of non-fiction. He won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award in 2000 for The Mighty Walzer and then again in 2013 for Zoo Time. In 2010 he won the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question; he was also shortlisted for the prize in 2014 for J.

Kathryn Schulz


Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of Being Wrong. She won a National Magazine Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for ‘The Really Big One’, an article about seismic risk I the Pacific Northwest. Lost & Found grew out of ‘Losing Streak’, which was originally published in the New Yorker and later anthologised in The Best American Essays. Her other essays and reporting have appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Food Writing. A native of Ohio, she lives with her family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Alba Arikha


Alba Arikha is the author of four books: Muse and Walking on Ice, her memoir, Major/Minor, about her adolescence in Paris, and a narrative poem, Soon, which was set to music and performed as an opera at the Riverside Studios, London. In addition to her books, Alba is also a singer-songwriter, has performed in London and Paris and recorded two CDs.

Hannah MacInnes

Presenter, Podcaster and Host of How To Academy’s live programmes.

Hannah MacInnes is a broadcaster and journalist. Alongside hosting How To Academy’s live programmes and podcast, she presents a cultural show on Times Radio and interviews on-stage at a number of other major literary events. She is the host of The Klosters Forum Podcast series and has written for the Radio Times, the Evening Standard and TLS. Before going freelance she worked for 8 years at BBC Newsnight, as Planning Editor and as a Producer / Filmmaker.