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Past Events

An archive of our recent past events. For further information about previous talks, please click the links in the sidebar.


Thursday, 16th February

Mark Ford – Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner

Mark Ford’s Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner has been hailed by the Guardian as “remarkable” and a “compelling study”, and by the Evening Standard as the work of “a sensitive biographer who recognises Hardy’s repression and his fervour”. Hardy is associated largely with the Wessex settings of his novels; Ford shows the significant influence that London exerted on the author’s creative imagination. He will also discuss Hardy’s relationships with his contemporaries, including fellow Savile members Edmund Gosse and Andrew Lang.

Mark Ford is a poet, and a teacher at UCL.

Held at the Savile Club, 69 Brook Street, London W1


Thursday 8 December 2016

Christmas Party 2016

The 2016 Biographers’ Club Christmas Party was held at the home of Anne de Courcy, Biographers’ Club Chairman and featured wine, canapés and biography chat.


Tuesday 15 November 2016

Biographers’ Club Prize Dinner


Monday 10 October

Richard Holmes – This Long Pursuit 
A Savile Club/Biographers’ Club event

Richard Holmes is one of our greatest biographers, and the 2014 recipient of the Biographers’ Club’s Lifetime Services to Biography prize. His new book, This Long Pursuit (partly echoing the title of his acclaimed first biography, Shelley: The Pursuit), continues his work in a form he explored so rewardingly in his books Footsteps and Sidetracks: both biographical investigation and reflection on the biographer’s art. Here, he evokes the lives of well-known as well as almost forgotten women of science and letters – Margaret Cavendish, Mary Somerville, Germaine de Staël, Mary Wollstonecraft, Zèlide; and he reviews the reputations of Romantic figures including Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, and Blake.

Come and hear this celebrated author talk about his work and his new book.

Held at the Savile Club, 69 Brook Street, London W1


Wednesday 21 September

Artemis Cooper
Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence 
Biographers’ Club lunch at the Frontline Club

Elizabeth Jane Howard is proof that, as Hilary Mantel wrote recently in the Guardian, it is possible for women writers to be both celebrated and underrated. She was the much-loved author of The Cazalet Chronicle series and other novels, while also being known for her lovers and husbands: the former group included Cecil Day-Lewis, Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee, while Peter Scott and Kingsley Amis were two-thirds of the latter. She also, in later years, fell prey to a conman.

Artemis Cooper’s life of Elizabeth Jane Howard promises to be a highlight of the year. Cooper knew Jane (as all the author’s friends called her), has had access to her papers, and has already proved herself a sensitive and penetrating biographer with lives of Elizabeth David and Patrick Leigh Fermor. Come and hear her talk about one of the most fascinating literary lives of our time.

Held at The Frontline Club


Thursday 23 June 

Biographers’ Club Summer Party at Clementi House

Drinks, canapés, and music from the Wally Fawkes All Stars in the beautiful garden of an 18th-century house, graced by the spirits of Muzio Clementi and Felix Mendelssohn, in Kensington.

To view photos from the event, please visit the Events Gallery.


Wednesday 1 June

Panel event: Pictures and picture research
Jenny Page of the Bridgeman Art Library, Julia Ruxton of Laurence King Publishing and biographer Anne Sebba share their expertise on illustrations

Pick up a new biography, and you find yourself automatically flicking through the illustrations. Pictures are crucial – they make the book live and draw the reader in. But where can authors find them? How has the digital age changed picture research? How much should you pay for images? Our brilliant panel will answer these questions and many more. An essential evening for authors.

Download notes from the talk right HERE.


Thurs 31 March 2016
Club Lunch with Adam Sisman
Fact, Fiction, and the Biographer’s Living Subject: David Cornwell, John le Carré and Me
At the The Frontline Club

Adam Sisman, acclaimed biographer of A J P Taylor and Hugh Trevor-Roper among others, faced his most challenging subject in John le Carré (the pen name of David Cornwell) – a man who has stated, “I am a liar”. How do you approach writing about such a man? How do you try to get at the truth, which may be delicate or painful, while maintaining your subject’s co-operation? What compromises do you have to make?

Adam Sisman will be in conversation with Nicholas Clee at an event that promises to be of compelling interest to Biographers’ Club members.