27 May: Privilege, Tyranny and the Voices of the Unheard - Eric Vuillard and Mark Polizzotti w/ Amelia Gentleman
Writer and film-maker Eric Vuillard was catapulted to fame in his native France when he won the Prix Goncourt in 2017 for his novel The Order of the Day, set in Austria in the lead-up to the Second World War. This also began the working relationship between Vuillard and translator Mark Polizzotti, who join us this evening to discuss their latest collaboration, The War of the Poor.
In his newest work, Vuillard goes further into history with a deeply-engaging account of the life of a radical preacher in 16th-century Bavaria. Thomas Müntzer’s astonishing life is much less distant from an 21st-century English-speaker’s perspective than it may at first sound – not least because Vuillard’s short novel is as entertaining as a thriller and rendered brilliantly into English by Polizzotti.
Although the protagonist’s life unfolds against the backdrop of the Reformation, the Great Schism, the Peasants’ War in Germany and the Peasants’ Revolt in England, there are remarkable synergies with the unapologetically populist governments, brutal inequality and rising tide of public protest that are so evident across the world right now.
In this evening’s event, Vuillard and Polizzotti discuss the novel with journalist Amelia Gentleman, whose book The Windrush Betrayal revealed how the British government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy led to thousands being incorrectly branded as illegal immigrants.
Shortlisted for The 2021 International Booker Prize