Man Booker Prize shortlisted author discusses career in free Leeds talk
The event, a collaborative venture by the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at our University and The Leeds Library, took place on Tuesday 8 December and can be viewed in full below.
Sunjeev, who was named one of Granta’s Best of British Young Novelists in 2013 and a rising star of contemporary literature, is the author of two novels: Ours Are the Streets and The Year of the Runaways (which earned him a shortlist nomination for the 2015 Man Booker Prize). Both novels, set against a Yorkshire backdrop, are heavily influenced by race, radicalisation and global issues of identity, belonging and culture. Sunjeev said: “I was in Leeds in 2005 during the London bombings; there was something about that event that gave me a lot of pause for thought; about how the psychology would be interesting to explore through the medium of a novel.
“One of the things a novel is great for is trying to get inside the head of, or fostering some sort of feeling with, people that you might not otherwise think you’d be able to.”
Dr Katy Shaw, Principal Lecturer in English Literature at Leeds Beckett University and chair at the event, was an integral figure in launching the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list worldwide. Dr Shaw added: “Sunjeev is an incredibly gifted author. His narrative style has captivated readers worldwide to much critical acclaim and commercial success. It was a real honour to be able to converse with Sunjeev in the relaxed, but powerful setting of the Leeds Library and get to know the man behind the author. The audience were treated to an insight into his life; from his transition from reader to writer, to him being accepted as a writer on a global scale.”
The (Re)Writing Yorkshire series, which sees academic researchers, established writers and creative practitioners examine new representations of Yorkshire in Literature, Television, Film, Music and Art, will return in 2016. Past events have featured Yorkshire based poets, Tara Bergin and Helen Mort, and award-winning authors A J Kirby and Richard Smyth.