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Cardiff BookTalk announces new season of popular book club with a difference

13 October 2021

Literary experts to share insight on classics and latest prizewinning novels, with a spotlight on refugee crisis from foreign correspondent turned novelist

Following its record-breaking 10th season, Cardiff BookTalk is back with a wealth of titles plus that expertise that makes the popular series a book club with a real difference.

Reaching more than 940 people from across the globe in its 2020 virtual switch, the BookTalk team at the School of English, Communication and Philosophy are delighted with this year’s programme, with authors ranging from Bernardine Evaristo to Kazuo Ishiguro, plus new titles and a look at adaption of a classic to the big screen.

Reflecting contemporary global issues, the season opens with former BBC foreign correspondent Emma Jane Kirby in conversation with Tom Davies of Amnesty International on her novel The Optician of Lampedusa. This special Cardiff BookTalk is a joint initiative with Cardiff Amnesty International Human Rights Book Club.

Informed by her front-line reporting in the Mediterranean frequently broadcast on The World at One and PM, Kirby’s timely novel shines a spotlight on the ongoing refugee crisis and the heart-breaking humanitarian tragedy on Europe’s doorstep, vividly telling the true story of an ordinary Italian who rescued drowning migrants.

For the remainder of the series, teams of experts follow the much-loved Cardiff BookTalk format, sharing their insights and perspectives on each chosen text.

In November, it’s the turn of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, with three specialists sharing their love of Greene, his incredible power as a storyteller and the 1940 novel’s focus on religion.

December sees a look at The Green Knight starring Dev Patel out now in cinemas, alongside its 14th-century inspiration, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Into 2022, Cardiff BookTalk will spotlight Jac Saorsa’s Like Any Other Woman, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun, Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Otherand Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.

BookTalk organiser Dr Anna Mercer is excited to see the popular series continue to open up an exciting range of emerging and respected writing talent to audiences globally. She adds:

“We’re delighted to have welcomed BookTalkers and speakers from all over the world as we made the virtual switch to bring engaging experts to homes and screens during the pandemic. This season we have programmed a series that features suggestions from our audiences, celebrates new talent and recent publications, while also looking at some classic texts from the twentieth century and even a 14th century poem.”

Cardiff BookTalk events start at 7pm unless otherwise stated, remaining online until at least February 2022. Advance online registration is essential for all Cardiff BookTalks. For latest information, visit the Cardiff BookTalk blog, search #CardiffBookTalk or follow on Twitter or Facebook.

Recordings of the hugely popular 2020 season remain available online in a special Cardiff BookTalk playlist.

2021-2022 Cardiff BookTalk Dates


The Optician of Lampedusaby Emma-Jane Kirby [21 October]

With Emma-Jane Kirby and Amnesty International Campaign Manager Tom Davies


Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory[17 November]

Speakers: Yuliya Kazanova, Martyn Sampson, Jon Wise


The Green Knight [2021, film directed by David Lowery]/Sir Gawain and the Green Knight [8 December, please note time change to 12pm GMT])

Speakers: Tison Pugh, Sabina Rahman, Usha Vishnuvajjala


  • Jac Saorsa’s Like Any Other Woman (date tba), with the author

  • Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun (date tba)

  • Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other (date tba)

  • Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange (date tba)

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