*RESCHEDULED* Sarah Hall – In Conversation

Please note this event has been rescheduled from its original date on the 8th November.  If you have already reserved a ticket for this event, you do not need to reserve again – your booking will be carried over.

Sarah Hall is one of the most highly praised novelists writing in Britain today and has twice been winner of the BBC Short Story Award. For this event she will read from and discuss her extraordinary new novel Burntcoat, the story of a love affair set during and after a pandemic.

‘You were the last one here before I closed the door of Burntcoat, before we all shut our doors.’

‘Hall’s writing is alchemical, magnificent, divine, bodily. Here are new ways to understand what it feels like to be human… Burntcoat is a masterpiece’ – Daisy Johnson

‘An extraordinary work that will stand as a blazing witness to the age that bore it’ – Sarah Perry

‘In many ways … Burntcoat feels like a culmination of Hall’s work and, in my opinion, it is her finest yet’ Ruth Gilligan, Independent

Sarah Hall was born in Cumbria in 1974. Twice nominated for the Man Booker prize, she is the award-winning author of five novels, including The Electric Michelangelo (2004) and The Carhullan Army (2007), and three short-story collections, including The Beautiful Indifference (2012), which won the Edge Hill and Portico prizes, Madame Zero (2017), shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize, and winner of the East Anglian Book Award, and Sudden Traveller (2019). She is currently the only author to be four times shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, which she won in 2013 with ‘Mrs Fox’ and in 2020 with ‘The Grotesques’.

Photo: Richard Thwaites

Buy Sarah Hall’s new novel “Burntcoat” from the Litfest Bookshop now at £3.20 off the RRP (includes an optional signed bookplate)

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Nominate Your ‘Litfest Favourites’ — Short Stories

At Sarah Hall’s ‘In Conversation’ event on 17 March 2021 we asked her to name her three favourite short stories, but like all of us she had difficulty sticking to three, so four it had to be. And four brilliant choices they are:

Angela Carter — ‘The Bloody Chamber’
Tobias Wolff — ‘Hunters in the Snow’
Jon McGregor — ‘The Remains’
Edna O’Brien — ‘Paradise’

We then invited our online audience to name their own favourites in the chat. The instant brainstorming session included the following stories, of which the three most often named were:

Sarah Hall — ‘Mrs Fox
Kevin Barry — ‘Fjord of Kilarry’
Guy de Maupassant — ‘Boule de Suif’

The whole fascinating selection is below and we now invite all our readers to add to that list using the ‘submit form’ here, naming the author, a specific story and ideally the collection in which it can be found. In the summer we will publish a list of the ten stories most admired by our audience of readers.

P.S. for thirty days after the event, you can view Sarah Hall’s event on our Youtube channel here!


Julia Armfield — Stop Your Women’s Ears with Wax
Kevin Barry — Fjord of Killary in Dark Is the Island
John Berger — Lilac and Flag (short novel)
A.S. Byatt — The July Ghost
Raymond Carver – A Small, Good Thing
Ted Chiang
Claire Dean
Carys Davies — The Redemption of Galen Pike
Lydia Davis
Guy de Maupassant — Boule de Suif
Karen Joy Fowler
Leigh Kennedy
Howard Waldrop
Jonathan Gibbs (ed.) — https://apersonalanthology.com/
Sarah Hall — Mrs Fox
Herman Hesse — Wandering
Victoria Hislop — Love Anything
Barabara Kingsolver
D.H.Lawrence — St Mawr (short novel)
Ken Liu — The Paper Menagerie
Alison Macleod — We are Methodists
Charlotte Perkins Gilman — The Yellow Wallpaper
Annie Proulx — Brokeback Mountain
Patrick Rothfuss — The Lightning Tree
Alan Sillitoe — The Fishing Boat Picture
Charles Wilkinson (published by Egeus Press)

The London publishing house Head of Zeus has recently published a number of huge anthologies that are full of interesting suggestions. Here are three of them:
Victoria Hislop (ed.) — The Story: Love, Loss and the Lives of Women: 100 Great Short Stories (2013)
David Miller (ed.) — That Glimpse of Truth: 100 of the Finest Short Stories ever Written (2014)
Frank Wynne (ed.) — Queer: A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday (2021)