Novelist, playwright and screenwriter, Fay Weldon, is one of the high-profile names to be added to the bill of the University of Northampton’s Subject Futures Week.
The critically acclaimed writer will be in conversation with her friend, producer, writer and film-maker Carole Hayman, during the week, which sees industry heavyweights from the arts provide undergraduates with an insight into their working lives.
The event, which takes place on Wednesday 27 January, is also open to members of the public, and will examine the writer’s role in a digital world.
Richard Canning, Subject Leader in English and Creative Writing at the University, said: “I’m delighted that we will be hosting not one, but two of the most talented English writers today, in a single event. Fay Weldon’s career spans an astonishing six decades and includes not just the fiction for which she is so renowned, but unforgettable works of memoir, drama and screenwriting. Her career narrative is an inspiration to all and, in her ninth decade, Fay Weldon is as prolific as ever.
“Carole Hayman is one of the the most talented figures in contemporary theatre – as an actress, playwright and director. The topic of their talk is perfect for our Subject Futures week, since both will be aiming to explain how a writer, in a challenging digital world for literature, can come out on top. Expect plain speaking, wise counsel and the irreverent and unexpected.”
Weldon is perhaps best known for her 1983 novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, adapted for television in 1986, and starring Patricia Hodge and Dennis Waterman – and by Hollywood for the 1989 film She-Devil which starred Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep. Other works of fiction include The Cloning of Joanna May (1980; adapted for television in 1992, starring Patricia Hodge and Peter Capaldi); The Bulgari Collection (2001) and – most recently – a short-fiction collection, Mischief (2015).
Hayman was born in 1945 in Kent, which featured in her trilogy of novels The Warfleet Chronicals (1998-2002). She was a founder member and first woman director of the Joint Stock Theatre Company and an Associate Director of The Royal Court Theatre, for which she directed many world stage premieres, including of works by Weldon and Sue Townsend. On radio, Hayman is best known as co-writer of the Radio 4 hit series Ladies of Letters, featuring Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge, which ran f between 2000 and 2010. Ladies of Letters was then produced for television, starring Maureen Lipman and Anne Reid. Hayman also wrote the television drama Rides (1992) about an all-female taxicab company, as well as the comedy drama The Refuge and the short film f2point8 (2002), which was shortlisted for a BAFTA.
This event is open to all University of Northampton students, staff and the general public, subject to available seating. Those wishing to attend should report to reception at the University’s Maidwell building, St George’s Avenue, Northampton, NN2 6JD, by 1.45pm on Wednesday 27 January.
Fay Weldon photo: Sally Trussler