OPEN event with Anna Minton and Iain Sinclair on Sunday 6th May at Cafe Oto

OPEN event with Anna Minton and Iain Sinclair on Sunday 6th May at Cafe Oto

Two of Britain’s most perceptive and lucid writers, Anna Minton and Iain Sinclair, will be presenting and discussing their work at this OPEN event which will start at 7pm on Sunday 6th May at Cafe Oto, Ashwin Street, Dalston E8.

Multi-award winning writer and journalist Anna Minton’s book “Ground Control – fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city” has been republished with a new chapter on our Olympic legacy. Described as a “revelatory and passionate defence against the privatisation of our streets and the disturbing reality of Britain today” Anna’s book breaks the ‘social silence’ and reveals the answers to questions that few people have dared to ask.

 …”this is the architecture of extreme capitalism, which produces a divided landscape of privately owned, disconnected, high security, gated enclaves side by side with enclaves of poverty which remain untouched by the wealth around them. The stark segregation and highly visible differences create a climate of fear and growing mistrust between people which…erodes civil society.” Anna Minton ‘Ground Control’

Photo from Hackney Podcast

Writer, poet and film maker Iain Sinclair’s book “Ghost Milk – calling time on the grand project” has now been published in paperback. Iain’s book explores landscapes ravaged by vanity architectures shaped from smoke and mirrors. It has been described as Iain’s “most powerful statement yet on the throwaway impermanence of the present”.

“Ghost milk? What does this mean?” Sinclair is asked
“CGI smears on the blue fence”, he replies, “Real juice from a virtual host. Embalming fluid. A soup of photographic negatives. Soul food for the dead. The universal element in which we sink and swim”
“You can’t write about this. They’ll never believe it” Anna Sinclair warns Iain, her husband.
But he has written about it. All of it. Ghost Milk.

“A wonderful kind of alchemy is at work” J G Ballard observed in Sinclair’s writing. The Sunday Times described his work as “remarkable, compelling, bristles with unexpected, frequently lurid life”.

Followers of this blog will recall previous OPEN cultural events have been packed. We have presented Iain with Patrick Wright, the film maker Winstan Whitter with poet Michael Rosen, and a politico-cultural soiree at St Barnabus. Well, here’s another unmissable one. You can get your on-line tickets from Cafe Oto here ( for £5, or £3 for concessions) but otherwise on the door.

Max: a Celebration – Remembering W.G. Sebald

Max: A Celebration

Max: a Celebration – Remembering W.G. Sebald

Readings, Music and Film & Book Launches: W.G Sebald – Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems (1964-2001) & Austerlitz – 10th Anniversary Edition, newly introduced by James Wood

On the 10th anniversary of his death, a unique event celebrating the late, great writer W.G. Max Sebald; with Anthea Bell, Ian Bostridge, A.S. Byatt, Julius Drake (tbc), Ian Galbraith, Dan Gretton, Grant Gee, Rachel Lichtenstein, Christopher MacLehose, Katie Mitchell, Andrew Motion, Iain Sinclair, Will Stone, Bill Swainson, Marina Warner and Stephen Watts.

Curated by Gareth Evans; staged in association with Katie Mitchell.

The late W.G. Sebald (18.5.44 – 14.12.01) was one of the most acclaimed writers of the last 50 years. Describing his ‘incandescent body of work’, Susan Sontag asked, “is literary greatness still possible? …One of the few answers available to English-language readers is the work of W.G. Sebald… he demonstrates that literature can be, literally, indispensable. He was one by whom literature continues to live.”

Over four key books in the 1990s (Vertigo, The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Austerlitz) he created a style and a range of concerns that has had a huge and ongoing influence on numerous writers, artists and filmmakers. Uniquely hybrid works, his books combine fiction, memoir, history and travelogue into a seamless whole.

Spending almost all his adult life in England, firstly in Manchester and then Norwich, Sebald is perhaps most well-known for the remarkable Suffolk travelogue The Rings of Saturn and his Holocaust fiction Austerlitz, much of which is set in East London and the streets close to Wilton’s Music Hall.

In this unique event, many of Britain’s leading writers and artists celebrate Sebald’s life and writing in an evening of readings, music and film. Drawing from his remarkable oeuvre and their own reflections, on the 10th anniversary of his untimely death, they will honour a man whose profound and searching work has exerted an almost uncanny influence on our times.

Writers taking part include the multi-award winning essayists, novelists and poets A.S. Byatt, Dan Gretton, Rachel Lichtenstein, Andrew Motion, Iain Sinclair, Will Stone, Marina Warner and Stephen Watts. The books launched tonight will be introduced by their translators, Anthea Bell and Iain Galbraith.

One of the world’s greatest tenors, Ian Bostridge, will sing from Schubert’s iconic song cycle Winterreise, with remarkable accompaniment by Julius Drake (tbc).

Award-winning filmmaker Grant Gee (Joy Division) will present an exclusive ‘landscape edit’ of his forthcoming feature essay film Patience (After Sebald), a multi-layered meditation on landscape, art, history, life and loss, and the first film internationally about Sebald. It is produced by Artevents ( and released in the UK in January 2012 by Soda Pictures (image from film).

Finally, it is a privilege to announce that Sebald’s UK publisher Christopher MacLehose and his editor Bill Swainson will attend and share their recollections.

There will be an event bookshop provided by independent booksellers Pages of Hackney ( Event filmed by Fugitive Images (

Many thanks to Andrew Wylie, Luke Ingram, The Wylie Agency and the Estate of W.G.Sebald; and to Simon Prosser, Joe Pickering and Anna Kelly at Penguin Books.

Booking Information:

Dates: Wednesday 14th December

Times: Starts 7:30pm

Prices: £17.50


University of Dreams – Talk and exhibition opening

Web page:

University of Dreams – Talk and exhibition opening

Tuesday 3 May – 6pm to 8pm

Lecture Theatre Building Foyer and LTB2


The University of Dreams is a creative project, born out of the Essex Futures programme, that called upon all members of the University of Essex, from each campus, and from every area of work, study and play, to share their dreams. The project caught everyone’s imagination and in a two week period in February over 120 dreams were submitted.


We now invite you to attend the opening of an exhibition which offers a window onto the dream-life of the University. Excerpts from the submitted dreams will be displayed alongside photographs, CCTV footage and sound recordings of the Colchester Campus at night-time.


Novelist Iain Sinclair and Professor Marina Warner will give talks and be in conversation about the power of dreams and the creative process.


Poets Jeremy Reed and Ralph Hawkins will use the dream project as inspiration for poetry readings.




6pm to 6.30pm: Drinks reception and opportunity to browse the exhibition

6.30pm to 8pm: Talks by Marina Warner and Iain Sinclair and discussion of dreaming, accompanied by poetry readings




Attendance is free but places are limited. Please e-mail to reserve your place. Places will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.



Biographies of participants


Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism and history; her publications include novels and short stories as well as studies of art, myths, symbols, and fairytales. She teaches in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex and is current President of the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA). Recent works include Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Stranger Magic: Charmed States and The Arabian Nights (forthcoming).


Iain Sinclair is a British novelist, poet and film-maker, with a particular interest in mapping mythic and psychic geographies of place. According to John Lanchester, ‘there is no more interesting writer at work in English’. His works include Downriver (Grafton, 1991), London Orbital (Granta, 2002), Edge of the Orison: In the Traces of John Clare’s ‘Journey Out Of Essex’ (Hamish Hamilton, 2005), The Firewall: Selected Poems 1979-2006 (Etruscan, 2006) and Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire (Hamish Hamilton, 2009).


Jeremy Reed is widely acknowledged as the most imaginatively gifted British poet of his generation, praised by Seamus Heaney for his ‘rich and careful writing’, and described by J. G. Ballard as ‘Rimbaud reconfigured as the Man who fell to Earth’. A postgraduate of Essex University, his more than two dozen books of poetry include his Selected Poems (Penguin, 1987), Red-Haired Android (Grafton, 1992), Saint Billie (Enitharmon, 2001) and This Is How You Disappear: A Book of Elegies (Enitharmon, 2007).


Ralph Hawkins has been writing poetry since the late 1970s when he was one of a number of radical poets gathered at the University of Essex. He now lives on the Essex coast at Brightlingsea. His many publications include Tell Me No More and Tell Me (Grosseteste 1981), At Last Away (Galloping Dog Press 1988), The Coiling Dragon… (Equipage, 1999), and Gone to Marzipan (Shearsman, 2009).


Iain Sinclair in Vancouver on March 24th.

I’ll be given a reading in Vancouver on March 24th.  Starting at 8pm.


Event venue:
Spartacus Books
684 East Hastings Street
Link to website