Climate change makes itself known in increasingly catastrophic ways. Representative democracy is exploited and manipulated by the alt-right. The global pandemic has led to immeasurable loss. As our current moment unfolds, writers around the world have been preoccupied by end times in every genre and medium, but what draws them and us, as readers to these terrifying subjects in uncertain times?

Writers Sue Rainsford, Paul Kingsnorth, Mark O’Connell and Sarah Davis-Goff, attempt to unravel why imaging the worst possible future helps us get through the present.

Sarah Davis-Goff is a writer and the co-founder of independent publisher Tramp Press. Her debut novel, Last Ones Left Alive, was nominated for the Edinburgh First Book Prize and the Not-The-Booker Prize, shortlisted for an Irish Book Award, and won the Chrysalis Award. 

Mark O’Connell is the author of Notes from an Apocalypse and To Be a Machine, which won the Wellcome Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Royal Society Insight Investment Book Prize. 

Sue Rainsford is an author and visual arts writer based in Ireland. Her debut novel, Follow Me To Ground, received the Kate O’Brien Award. Her second novel, Redder Days, was released in March.

Paul Kingsnorth is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. His debut novel The Wake won the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize and was shortlisted for the Goldsmith’s Prize. His most recent novel, Alexandria, was published by Faber in February.

This is a live broadcast event and will have a Q&A at the end.  If you’d like to ask a question, you can do so via Youtube’s live chat.

Event Location

Online (YouTube)

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