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Making Time: Writers, Time and Literary Creation

On every page they write, writers ‘make time’.  The force of time endows our most memorable stories and novels with a crucial sense of significance, urgency and even ‘Fate’.  Yet how have writers, from the early 20th century to today, ‘un-made’ time?  How have they broken with the literary convention of ‘the flow of time’ to conjure a sense of our experience of time?  How have they grappled with the elusiveness or enigma of time itself?  Is time, in the words of Lao Tzu ‘a created thing’, and if so, might the deep work of literary creation reveal something of time’s knotty truths?  Or can writers only offer an illusion of the illusion of time?  Novelist Alison MacLeod will discuss some of her own explorations of time on the page.  She will also consider the writers and thinkers who have inspired her onward in her pursuit.


Alison MacLeod

Alison MacLeod’s most recent book, the story collection All the Beloved Ghosts, was published in 2017 by Bloomsbury UK/USA and Penguin Canada.  It was a finalist for Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Fiction and a ‘Best Book of 2017’ for the Guardian. Her most recent novel, Unexploded, was long-listed for the 2013 Man-Booker Prize for Fiction and was one of the Observer’s ‘Books of the Year’.  She is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester and lives in Brighton (UK). www.alison-macleod.com