‘Birnam Wood’ with Eleanor Catton in conversation with Max Porter
Tue 28 Feb 2023
7:00pm at St Swithin's Church, The Paragon, Bath BA1 5LY
Doors at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Book & Ticket option gives you a free ticket with the purchase of the book, or purchase a standard or student ticket which will give you £5 off the book on the night.
We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Booker Prize Winning author Eleanor Catton back to Bath, to discuss her phenomenal new novel ‘Birnam Wood‘ with novelist and friend-of-the-shop Max Porter. As well as being the author of the Booker Prize-longlisted Lanny, Grief is the Thing with Feathers, and the upcoming Shy, Max was formerly Eleanor’s editor, making this an extra special evening!
We first welcomed Eleanor to Bath back in 2013 to talk to us about her astonishing novel ‘The Luminaries‘, which went on to win the Booker Prize, making Eleanor the youngest ever recipient of the award. Eleanor then went on to adapt ‘The Luminaries‘ for television, as well as Austen’s ‘Emma’ for film.
The release of ‘Birnam Wood’, a gripping psychological thriller about a guerrilla gardening group, further cements Eleanor as one of the most bold and visionary writers of our time.
Birnam Wood is on the move… Five years ago, Mira Bunting founded a guerrilla gardening group: Birnam Wood. An undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic gathering of friends, this activist collective plants crops wherever no one will notice, on the sides of roads, in forgotten parks, and neglected backyards.
For years, the group has struggled to break even. Then Mira stumbles on an answer, a way to finally set the group up for the long term: a landslide has closed the Korowai Pass, cutting off the town of Thorndike. Natural disaster has created an opportunity, a sizable farm seemingly abandoned.
But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. Robert Lemoine, the enigmatic American billionaire, has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker – or so he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Intrigued by Mira, Birnam Wood, and their entrepreneurial spirit, he suggests they work this land. But can they trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust each other?
Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its wit, drama and immersion in character. A brilliantly constructed consideration of intentions, actions, and consequences, it is an unflinching examination of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.
We hope you’ll join us for what is set to be another truly incredible and memorable evening with Eleanor.
“I read this in two deep gulps – it’s delicious, it had me re-reading passages aloud. Catton’s storytelling is deft and irresistible in this merciless whirlpool of a book, which pulls you inexorably towards its final tragedy.” – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
“If George Eliot had written a thriller, it might have been a bit like this.”- Francis Spufford
“Birnam Wood is electric: a spectacular book. It has the pace and bite of a thriller. It has an iron-willed morality. It feels like the product of astonishing skill, and formidable love. It’s literally, physically breathtaking.” – Katherine Rundell