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A TORCH Book at Lunchtime online webinar on ‘Real Oxford’ by Professor Patrick McGuinness, with panellists Professor Patrick McGuinness, Dr Jake Wadham, Professor Joanna Innes and Dr Sneha Krishnan.
Book at Lunchtime is a series of bite-sized book discussions held during term-time, with commentators from a range of disciplines. The events are free to attend and open to all.
About the book:
Oxford is a place of fantasy and myth, home to the prestigious university and some of the world’s most iconic buildings. There has been teaching and learning in Oxford since 1096, and its colleges have produced generations of great scientists, writers and thinkers. One of the world’s most photographed cities, it is a tourist-magnet, an architectural jewel, and the location of films and television series.
But the real Oxford is rarely seen, even by those who live here. There’s industrial Oxford, the huge gasworks that once stood a few minutes’ walk from Christ Church’s Tom Tower, and Oxford the car city, home to Morris motors, once the biggest car plant in the world. There’s Oxford the midlands city of factories and breweries, wharves and stations. There’s Oxford’s venerable football history and its unexpectedly radical politics. There’s high-rise Oxford as well as honeyed stone Oxford. There’s the Oxford of OX2, where life expectancy is among the highest in the UK, and the Oxford of OX4, where it’s among the lowest. There is the Oxford whose libraries, buildings and bequests come from slavery and colonial exploitation – an Oxford whose bright statues mask darker histories. There’s the Oxford that broadcasts its achievements, and the Oxford that covers its tracks…
The novelist, poet and Oxford academic Patrick McGuinness guides us through the past, but also the present, of all of these interlinked Oxfords. He walks the city’s streets from the station to the ringroad, tracks its canals and towpaths, its footbridges and tunnels, to evoke the continued presence of the Oxford behind the postcard views.
About the author:
Professor Patrick McGuinness is a British-Belgian writer and academic. The author of two novels, a memoir and two books of poems, he teaches French and Comparative Literature at Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St Anne’s College.
His first novel, The Last Hundred Days (2011), is a semi-autobiographical account of the last days of the Ceasescu regime in Romania. It was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, The Desmond Elliot Prize, the Authors’ Club First Novel Award and won the Wales Book of the Year and the Writers’ Guild Prize for Fiction.
His memoir, Other People’s Coutries: A journey into Memory (2014), is an account of his childhood in the post-industrial factory town of Bouillon, in Belgium. It was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize and The Gordon Burn Prize, and won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Wales Book of the Year Award.
Other books include poetry collections, translations, anthologies, and academic monographs.