Renowned author Martin Amis will discuss changing ideas and representations of Britishness with Manchester-born writer Howard Jacobson, at his next University of Manchester debate on 12 February (2009).


‘Literature and Britishness’ will offer a unique chance to listen to two of the leading writers of their generation, as they consider how concepts of Britishness have altered over the past half-century. 


Amis and Jewish novelist Jacobson are also expected to discuss how the novel represents or misrepresents the British nation, and its transformation into a multicultural society since the end of the second world war. 


Many of the country's best writers have represented this transition in their work, with Amis’s own novels, such as Yellow Dog (2003), often addressing and satirizing the changing nature of British life. 


His journalism has consistently looked at how the British state has responded to a changing world, a concern particularly apparent in his account of his travels to Northern Ireland, Iraq and the US with then PM Tony Blair.


Howard Jacobson was born in Prestwich in Manchester and taught in Sydney, Cambridge and the Midlands before becoming an esteemed novelist and broadcaster. 


Often writing in a humorous style, the Jewish experience in Britain in the mid- to late-20th century is a recurring theme in his work.


Bradley Professor of English Literature Murray Pittock, of the University of Glasgow, will chair the event, which takes place in the University’s Whitworth Hall. 


A prominent expert on national identity within the UK, and post-1945 Scottish and Irish culture and society, he is a frequent presenter and commentator on BBC Radio 4.


Organisers at the Centre for New Writing expect a lively and stimulating evening which will conclude with a Q and A session, allowing members of the public and students to put questions to the panel.


Amis has been Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre since September 2007, and takes part in four public debates on issues in contemporary literature each year. 


These complement the Centre’s regular 'Literature Live' readings, which showcase the best established and emerging novelists and poets.


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‘Martin Amis Public Event: Literature and Britishness’ will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 12 February in the Whitworth Hall, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, M13 9PL.


Tickets cost £5 (£3 concessions) and are available from Quay Tickets on www.quaytickets.com or 0870 428 0785.


SPECIAL OFFER: A season ticket covering six chargeable events at the Centre for New Writing between February and July can be booked for £21.50 (£13.00 concessions), 25% less than buying individual tickets.  Please call Quay Tickets to book.


Images are available upon request.


For more details please contact:


Jo Nightingale

Centre for New Writing

0161 ....



For further information on other events this season, please visit www.manchester.ac.uk/arts/newwriting/events.





The Centre for New Writing at The University of Manchester is home to a range of programmes in creative writing and contemporary literature, from undergraduate to PhD level.


It hosts the major public reading series Literature Live, Martin Amis Public Events and a new online journal The Manchester Review (www.themanchesterreview.co.uk). 


Its distinguished teaching staff includes novelists Martin Amis, M.J. Hyland, Geoff Ryman and Ian McGuire, and poets John McAuliffe and Vona Groarke.