It was on the recent National Libraries Day, when so many people celebrated what libraries had meant to them, that I remembered those post-school teenage afternoons when my grown-up reading life began in earnest. Graham Greene, Muriel Spark, Dostoevsky – novelists I had heard of but had little real exposure to. And Iris Murdoch, who mapped her complex philosophical and moral enquiries on to the most thrilling tales of jealousy, desire, ambition and disappointment. They seemed to me the height of sophistication and week after week I would zoom through The Bell, The Black Prince, The Flight from the Enchanter, The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, avid for more. Men and women constantly leaving one another and taking up with someone else! Battles for good and evil in the most peculiar locations! A girl called Julian!
That’s why I’m so delighted to have the opportunity to talk all things Murdoch with novelist and poet Sophie Hannah and Avril Horner and Anne Rowe, who have edited Living on Paper, a wonderful collection of the writer’s correspondence. Here are letters to lovers, to intellectual heroes, to colleagues and acquaintances, all of them demonstrating Murdoch’s constantly bubbling mind, her curiosity and her lively, vivid wit.
Alex Clark Iris Murdoch – In Her Own Words on Monday 29 February 6.15-7.15pm. Guildhall £9 (£8) Booking at http://bathfestivals.org.uk/literature/event/iris-murdoch-in-her-own-words/