Thu, 21 Mar 2024 19:30 - 20:30

Utopia and the City (In person & online)

Cities are sites of imagination, where ideas are born and tested, revolution bubbles under the surface and dreamers dream utopian dreams. In partnership with The American Library in Paris, we explore the revolutionary histories of our respective cities with two acclaimed authors, Niall Kishtainy and Adam Thirlwell, whose latest books tell the stories of visionary pasts and fantastical futures. 

In his new work of non-fiction, The Infinite City, Niall Kishtainy celebrates London as the capital of utopian thought. Taking us from the sixteenth century into COVID lockdowns, he draws us into the imaginative worlds of Thomas More, the Diggers, William Morris, Extinction Rebellion protestors and many others who drew might from the city around them and fought for their ideologies in an increasingly transforming world. 

The Future, Future, Adam Thirlwell’s latest novel, begins with Celine in Paris in 1775. Forced to navigate a society ruled by men high on colonial genocide, natural destruction and crimes against women, she embarks on a mission to change the world, via the French revolution, the Haitian revolution, American independence, her own utopian dreams and into an extraplanetary future. 

In conversation with Emilie Biggs of the American Library in Paris, they discuss utopian dreams and the city, revolutionary history and the future future. 

In partnership with The American Library in Paris

Niall Kishtainy started his working life in the British civil service, going on to work as a Middle East analyst and researcher, then as an economic adviser to development agencies in Ethiopia, Albania and the Palestinian Territories. After working as a journalist in Cairo, he studied economics as a graduate and began writing about the history of economic thinking and economic struggles of the past. He has given courses in economics and economic history at the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick. He is the author of A Little History of Economics, which has been sold in over twenty languages. 

Adam Thirlwell is the author of three previous novels, PoliticsThe Escape and Lurid & Cute and a book of essays, Miss Herbert and his work has been translated into thirty languages. His essays appear in the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, and he is an advisory editor of the Paris Review. His awards include a Somerset Maugham Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in 2018 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has twice been selected by Granta as one of their Best of Young British Novelists. 

Emilie Biggs is Programs Manager at the American Library in Paris. Currently completing her Master's degree at the École Normale Supérieure, she specializes in 20th-century French philosophy. 

The American Library in Paris was established in 1920 and is now the largest English-language lending library on the European continent. Promoting knowledge, inspiring lifelong learning, and creating a sense of community, it is a welcoming home for the thoughtful and curious in Paris. 

Supported by Fondation Jan Michalski

Niall Kishtainy’s The Infinite City and Adam Thirlwell’s The Future Future will be available to buy at the event and online from our partner bookshop Hatchards

NB This event will take place in person at The London Library and will be livestreamed. Doors (and the bar) open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start. 

The livestream will begin on YouTube from 7.30pm and will be available to watch live or at any time after the event, using the same link. 

If you purchase an online ticket, you will be sent a viewing link 24 hours before the event begins. If you do not receive a link, please check your junk mail or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

London Library events are subject to Terms and Conditions.

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