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Special Collections

Palace Green Library Events

Time Machines: Talks Programme

26th July 2017, 13:00 to 14:00, PG21 Pemberton Building, Palace Green

Andrew Crumey - Can Novelists Predict the Future?

To complement the exhibition, Time Machines, a series of talks and events has been scheduled. Over the course of the exhibition there will be a number of lunchtime and evening events with speakers covering a broad range of themes to complement the exhibition content. Please do keep an eye on our website for more details.

Andrew Crumey, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing in the Department of Humanities, Northumbria University, will present a talk entitled 'Can Novelists Predict the Future?':

"Sometimes novels make predictions about the future that turn out to be true. Are they lucky guesses, shrewd insight, or a sign that creative imagination can be prophetic? Drawing on his own experience as a novelist and physicist, Andrew Crumey explores the phenomenon of literary precognition.

Some predictions are strikingly precise: in Gulliver's Travels we read that Mars has two moons, though they would not be discovered until a century and a half later. Others are more like self-fulfilling prophecies: cyberspace existed in fiction before it became fact.

Yet prophecy need not only refer to the future: the prophet is one who interprets and transmits divine will, and it was this aspect that, for example, E.M. Forster emphasised in his consideration of the "prophetic" quality of fiction. Even if the novelist is not divinely inspired, he or she may be able to interpret the present and past in such a way as to point towards the future.

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw profound mediations on the nature of time from Einstein and Proust. Before either of them, H.G. Wells was considering the possibility of time travel. What do today's novelists prophesise?"

Andrew Crumey is a novelist and critic whose work reflects his academic background in theoretical physics and his interest in the history of ideas.

This talk will be free of charge. Booking is not required for lunch time talks but seating will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Staff at Palace Green Library will be able to provide directions to the Pemberton Building if necessary.

Enquiries regarding talks should be made to Palace Green Library on 0191 334 2976.

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