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Cardiff BookTalk: Simon Mawer, Mendel's Dwarf

Cardiff BookTalk

Tuesday, 3 May 2016 from 18:30 to 21:00 (BST)

Cardiff BookTalk: Simon Mawer, Mendel's Dwarf

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Event Details

The next BookTalk event will focus on Man Booker shortlisted author Simon Mawer’s controversial novel Mendel’s Dwarf.

Mendel's Dwarf: Book CoverThe novel, published first in 1997 and reissued in a new edition in 2011, weaves together a reimagining of the life of Gregor Mendel, the father of genetic science, with contemporary geneticist Benedict Lambert, who is both a dwarf with achondroplasia and a distant relation of Mendel.

The novel asks important questions of the ethics of scientific research and of representations of disability. Often discomforting, and certainly surprising, the novel switches between Mendel’s modest experiments with plants, and Ben Lambert’s search for the gene that would help him eradicate his own dwarfism in future generations. Tying them together is their impatient search for new knowledge and their equally obsessive desire for women out of reach to both of them.

On its publication the novel was called ‘a furious, tender and wittily erudite book’ by the New Yorker, made the final 10 of the Booker Prize and was a finalist in the Los Angeles Times book prizes.

To explore its complex depiction of history, genetic science and disability BookTalk is delighted to host the following panel of speakers:

  • Martin Willis is Professor of English at Cardiff University and a leading scholar of the interconnections between literature and science.

  • Erin Pritchard is a human geographer of disability at Liverpool Hope University, and an expert on experiences of dwarfism in contemporary society and culture.

  • Angus Clarke is Clinical Professor in the Institute of Cancer and Genetics at Cardiff University with expertise in neurodevelopmental disorders and genetic counselling.

The main event (7pm) will be preceded by a reception with tea, coffee and biscuits at 6.30pm in Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Maindy Road, Cardiff CF24 4HQ.

Do you have questions about Cardiff BookTalk: Simon Mawer, Mendel's Dwarf? Contact Cardiff BookTalk

When & Where

Optometry and Vision Sciences
Maindy Rd
CF24 4HQ Cardiff
United Kingdom

Tuesday, 3 May 2016 from 18:30 to 21:00 (BST)

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Cardiff BookTalk

Cardiff BookTalk is a University book group with a difference – we discuss expert perspectives and readers’ ideas about the big ideas in a range of classic and contemporary fiction.

Originally established by Cardiff University in 2011, Cardiff BookTalk has been run by the School of English, Communication and Philosophy since spring 2015. BookTalkers listen to diverse interdisciplinary research topics which expand on themes in the very best classic and contemporary literature. Each speaker addresses the books from their own specialism, and this can lead to fascinating insights about the literary, social and cultural implications of the novels we read. The talks, given by University academics who are specialists in their field, as well as other expert speakers, will be followed by an open discussion session with the audience, and we want as many people to share their perspectives as possible. If you’re interested in discussing the big ideas behind great books, and want to discover new ways of looking at novels, then join us for our next session!

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