Meet the author: Eleanor Catton

Sat 25.03.2023
15:00 - 16:00
Catton Eleanor Author Photo Murdo Macleod




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in english

In Birnam Wood, Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton tells the story of Mira Bunting, a New Zealander who founded a guerrilla gardening group, Birnam Wood, with friends. In her conversation with the author, Annelies Beck will probe the breeding ground for this ambitious eco-thriller.

Five years ago, the New Zealander Mira Bunting and her friends founded a guerrilla gardening group, Birnam Wood. This unregulated gathering of artist friends plants crops in places such as roadsides, abandoned parks and unmaintained gardens. For years, they’ve struggled to break even, but that looks set to change when Mira is presented with a golden opportunity. A landslide has cut off the town of Thorndike from the outside world. As a result, a large farm has become so isolated that it could be used by the group.

But Robert Lemoine, a mysterious American billionaire, also has his eye on the farm and its land. He wants to build an end-times bunker on it for when the world ends, or at least that’s what he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Immediately the question arises: Can they trust him? And can they trust each other when the group’s ideology is put to the test?

The conversation will turn on ecology, ideology and the human urge to always put one’s own survival first.

about the author

Eleanor Catton made her debut with The Rehearsal and broke through internationally with the much-loved The Luminaries, which won the Booker Prize. She adapted this novel for a TV series. She also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Emma (2020), Jane Austen’s famous novel. Born in Canada, she grew up in New Zealand. Today she lives in Cambridge, England.

about the moderator

Annelies Beck (b. 1973) is a writer and a journalist known for the current affairs programme Terzake on the Flemish public broadcaster VRT. She studied history in Ghent and Brazilian Studies in London. She has made a documentary about her great-grandfather, who stayed in Glasgow during World War I. She has published two novels to date, Over het kanaal and Toekomstkoorts. In 2022 she released the acclaimed philosophical picture book Gedachten denken with illustrator Hanneke Siemensma.

ORG. Passa Porta, Ambo Anthos, VBK België

pictures: eleanor catton © Murdo Macleod, annelies beck © eveline renaud

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