New Centre for Modern Literature and Culture at KCL – panel discussion, 23 October 2013

I am delighted to announce the inception of a new Centre for Modern Literature and Culture at King’s, which I am directing (with Erica Carter) and which will launch on Wed 23 October with a panel discussion. This discussion is part of the 2013 King’s Arts and Humanities Festival (organised by Max Saunders on the theme Being Human).

Inventing the Modern

Wed 23 October, 6.30-8pm

Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s College London, Strand, WC2R 2LS

To book please visit

In the early decades of the twentieth century writers, visual artists, filmmakers and musicians competed to follow Ezra Pound’s injunction to ‘make it new’. Whether artists were willing or resisting change – hurling themselves into the (often technological) future or hankering elegiacally after lost forms and ways of life – the first fifty years of the twentieth century saw an explosion of artistic production in all the arts. In this panel discussion the composer Michael Berkeley (currently writing an opera based on Ian McEwan’s Atonement), the writer Adam Mars-Jones and the actor/director Fiona Shaw (currently directing Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne) will ask whether the early twentieth century did indeed see the invention of the modern and explore their engagement with modernism in their own work. Does each generation in turn believe it is making it new? Is newness integral to our conception of what art is and is for? If modernism is often seen as too clever to be humane, then is it possible for formal experimentation to be a crucial aspect of art that affirms and protects us in our struggle to be human. The discussion will be chaired by Lara Feigelwho (with Erica Carter) is directing a new Centre for Modern Literature and Cultureat King’s College London. It will be followed by a drinks reception to launch the new Centre.

The Centre for Modern Literature and Culture will stage and fund events and will organise an annual prize for creative responses to modernism, which will be judged by our Advisory Board (comprised of Lisa Appignanesi, A.S. Byatt, Alison Duthie, Juliet Gardiner, Jeremy Harding, Michael Holroyd, Stephen Romer and Fiona Shaw) and awarded at a ceremony (plus lecture and party!) in early June. The Centre will soon have its own mailing list. If you’d like to join this please email with the subject line ‘mailing list’. I promise we won’t email you too often and I hope very much to see you at this and future events.

All best wishes,
Lara Feigel