To celebrate Prospect Cottage and its continued inspiration for artists, queer icons, and creative minds of all varieties, Folkestone Book Festival is delighted to present the Prospect Cottage Talk. Each year, we invite someone who we feel embodies the pioneering creativity of Jarman. For 2023, we are delighted to welcome Tom Crewe.
Tom Crewe considers the occasional appearances of gay men in the 19th-century novel, ranging from Austen to Balzac to Tolstoy. Why are these men there? What roles are they performing in the text? What kinds of lives might we imagine them to be leading off the page – and how might the history of the novel have been different, if the great writers of the past had been willing to follow them wherever they led?
Tom Crewe was born in Middlesbrough in 1989. He has a PhD in nineteenth-century British history from the University of Cambridge. Since 2015, he has been an editor at the London Review of Books, to which he contributes essays on politics, art, history and fiction. The New Life, his first novel, won the 2023 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction and the 2023 Southbank Sky Arts Award for Literature. In 2023 he was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.
Following his talk, he will be in conversation with CP Hunter, co-founder of the radical, independent bookshop and community hub, The Folkestone Bookshop.
Prospect Cottage is the former home and sanctuary of artist, filmmaker, gay rights activist and gardener Derek Jarman (1942–1994). Following a successful campaign led by Art Fund, Prospect Cottage was saved for the nation and Creative Folkestone became custodians of this unique and inspiring place. Since then, Prospect Cottage has been publicly accessible for the first time through a limited tours, and artists residency programme.