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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.


The Exceptional Contribution to Biography Award 2017

Thursday 24 January, 2018

Jenny Uglow received the Biographers’ Club 2017 Exceptional Contribution to Biography Award at an event in London on Thursday 24 January. The presentation and talk, with Biographers’ Club chair Jane Ridley, took place before Club members and invited guests at Maggs Bros in Bloomsbury.

Read more here.


Biographers’ Club Christmas Party and Tony Lothian Prize-giving

Tuesday 12 December, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at Albany, Piccadilly.

An evening of wine and canapés for the Club’s Christmas party, and for the presentation of the Tony Lothian Prize. The prize was given to John Woolf for his proposal Queen Victoria’s Freaks. Read more about Woolf’s proposal and the other shortlisted writers here.

Venue: E6 Albany, Piccadilly, London W1J OAR.


Writing About Elsewhere

Wednesday 25 October, 6.30pm at the October Gallery

Rebecca Fraser, Patrick Marnham and Artemis Cooper

The club’s October event was a well-attended panel discussion at the October Gallery on “Writing about Elsewhere”.

The distinguished panellists were Rebecca Fraser, whose The Mayflower Generation: The Winslow Family and the Fight for the New World is just out; Patrick Marnham, whose subjects have included Georges Simenon, Diego Rivera, and Jean Moulin; Anne de Courcy (chair), who is at work on a book about the French Riviera in the Thirties and Forties; and Artemis Cooper, author of biographies of Patrick Leigh Fermor and, most recently, Elizabeth Jane Howard. Their discussion ranged from dealing with overseas archives to working with researchers, and to whether it was valuable to follow in one’s subject’s footsteps.


Agents – who needs them?

Wednesday 20 September, 6.30-8.00pm at the October Gallery 

Caroline Dawnay & Patrick Walsh

A panel discussion between two of London’s leading literary agents:

What are agents are looking for in an author? What are authors looking for in an agent? How do you know which agent to approach? What is the state of the market for biography/memoir now? What future trends do they predict? How do you best catch an agent’s attention with an idea? What can you expect an agent to do for you?

Chaired by Nicholas Clee.


Monday 26 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.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017, 6.30 – 8.00

Joan Winterkorn: The Death of the Letter: Archives in the Digital Age

Joan Winterkorn of antiquarian booksellers Bernard Quaritch is one of the leading manuscripts experts in the UK. As well as reflecting on a fascinating career spent valuing many of the great collections used by biographers, Joan will discuss the ways in which archives are being transformed by the digital revolution. This promises to be an unmissable talk, and we are immensely grateful to Maggs Bros for generously hosting the event in their new office in Bedford Square.

Maggs Bros Ltd, 48 Bedford Square, London


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.