Picture of the author Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light 

12 May, 7:30pm (please note later start time) 

Book tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cardiff-booktalk-hilary-mantel-registration-125345332263  

‘This book has been the greatest challenge of my writing life, and the most rewarding; I hope and trust my readers will find it has been worth the wait.’ – Hilary Mantel 

The Mirror and the Light (2020) completed Hilary Mantel’s award-winning and hugely popular Cromwell Trilogy. The novel’s opening pages review the aftermath of the death of Anne Boleyn with striking intensity. But what is next for Thomas Cromwell, once a poor boy from Putney, then acting in service to the rich and powerful, and now continuing his climb to power and wealth? With a master like Henry VIII, nothing is certain. Our protagonist has frequently outwitted his adversaries – but there are enemies in the shadows, and with such a formidable, temperamental King, along with a regime under threat from problems abroad and at home, what will come next? 

We have three experts joining us to discuss the much-awaited achievement that is Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light. 

Professor Catherine Fletcher (Manchester Metropolitan University) is the author of several books on Early Modern History. Catherine will discuss politics and diplomacy in sixteenth-century Europe and will also talk about her time as an advisor to the set team for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. Dr Emilie Murphy (University of York), a Lecturer in Early Modern History and an interdisciplinary scholar on sound and the senses, will discuss ‘Popular culture and religion in Cromwell’s England’. Dr Sophie Coulombeau (University of York) is a Lecturer in English Literature and a novelist. Sophie will discuss Cromwell’s names in a talk entitled: ‘Crum, Cremuel, Craphead: Naming Names with Hilary Mantel’, based on a forthcoming essay that will appeal in the collection Historical Fiction Now ed. Mark Eaton (OUP). 

As well as reading The Mirror and the Light (and the other parts of the trilogy: Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies), you may also wish to listen to Mantel’s Reith Lectures. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08tcbrp  

You may also wish to watch the BBC Adaptation of Wolf Hall, and seek out the published work of our speakers, some of which is shared in their biographies listed below. 

The talks will be 10-15 minutes each, followed by an audience Q&A. 

This event will be recorded. 

Sophie Coulombeau is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of York, a published novelist, and a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. Her core research addresses literature of the long eighteenth century, especially the relationship between naming and identity, the history of reading, and the lives and writings of the Burney family. She is also interested in creative-critical approaches to historical fiction, and in 2016 she convened an international conference at the Huntington Library (San Marino) called ‘Fictive Histories / Historical Fictions’, for which Hilary Mantel provided the keynote address 

Catherine Fletcher is the author of several books on early modern history, most recently The Beauty and the Terror: An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance, which was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Historical Writers’ Association Non-Fiction Crown. Her first book, Our Man in Rome: Henry VIII and his Italian Ambassador, published in 2012, overlapped with the fictional world of Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy, and she advised the set team on the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. Catherine is professor of history at Manchester Metropolitan University and regularly broadcasts on historical topics. She’s working on a new book about travel to Rome over two millennia. 

Emilie Murphy is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of York. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of sound and the senses, and specialist of the cultural and religious history of England, and English-speaking people abroad, 1500-1700. She has previous and ongoing projects that consider music, sounds and hearing, voice and language, and various aspects of performance culture. Her work has appeared in several major journals including Renaissance Quarterly, The Historical Journaland Renaissance Studies,and has featured on BBC television and radio. Her most recent publication is ‘Making Memories in post-Reformation English Catholic Musical Miscellanies’ in Memory and the English Reformation(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). She is co-editor of Sensing the Sacred in Medieval and Early Modern Culture,and currently completing her monograph The Reformation of the Soundscape in Early Modern England. 

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