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Amis and Jacobson to discuss 'Britishness'

11 Feb 2009

Renowned author Martin Amis will discuss changing ideas and representations of Britishness with Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson, at his next University of Manchester debate tomorrow (12 February 2009).

‘Literature and Britishness’ will offer a unique chance to hear two of the leading writers of their generation, as they debate how concepts of Britishness have altered over the last half-century. 

Amis and Manchester-born Jacobson are also expected to discuss whether the novel accurately represents the British nation, and its transformation into a multicultural society since the end of the second world war. 

Amis’s journalism has often focused on the British state’s responses to a changing world, a concern apparent in his account of his travels with out-going PM Tony Blair.

His novels, including Yellow Dog (2003), also regularly address and satirize the changing nature of British life. 

Jacobson was born in the Manchester suburb of Prestwich and taught in Sydney, Cambridge and the Midlands, before becoming an esteemed novelist and broadcaster. 

Often writing in a humorous style, the Jewish experience in Britain in the mid- to late-20th century is a recurring theme in his work.

Event organisers at the University’s Centre for New Writing expect a lively and stimulating evening, which will conclude with an audience Q and A session.

Amis has been Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre since September 2007, and takes part in four public debates on issues in contemporary literature each year. 

These complement the Centre’s regular 'Literature Live' readings, which showcase the best established and emerging novelists and poets.

- ENDS -


Notes for editors

‘Martin Amis Public Event: Literature and Britishness’ takes place at 6.30pm on Thursday 12 February, in the Whitworth Hall, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL.

Tickets cost £5 (£3 concessions) and are available from Quay Tickets on or 0870 428 0785.

Bradley Professor of English Literature Murray Pittock, of the University of Glasgow, will chair the event and is available for interview.  Pittock is a prominent expert on UK national identity and Scottish and Irish culture and society since 1945, and a frequent presenter and commentator on BBC Radio 4.

Images are available upon request.

For more details please contact:

Jo Nightingale - 07776 208302
Simon Richardson – 0161 275 8689 or

For further information on other events this season, please visit


The Centre for New Writing at The University of Manchester is home to a range of programmes in creative writing and contemporary literature, from undergraduate to PhD level.

It hosts the major public reading series Literature Live, Martin Amis Public Events and the new online journal The Manchester Review ( 

Its distinguished teaching staff includes novelists Martin Amis, M.J. Hyland, Geoff Ryman and Ian McGuire, and poets John McAuliffe and Vona Groarke.