DBF Preview: Will Storr in Conversation with Charles Fernyhough

This event promises to reward those interested in literature, journalism, and the functioning of the human mind.

The 2013 Durham Book Festival boasts a plethora of highly anticipated events but a set of three in particular, planned to feature as a special day-long conversation on ‘Voices, Memory and Forgetting’, promises to be especially rewarding. One of these events, Will Storr in conversation with Charles Fernyhough, features two prestigious writers; it is an event sure to appeal to those interested in literature, journalism, and the functioning of the human mind.

Both Will Storr and Charles Fernyhough have made great names for themselves in the UK as a journalist and as a psychologist respectively, and both have turned their hand to writing with much success. Award-winning British journalist and novelist Will Storr’s The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science is an intriguing read in which Storr investigates the minds of those who hold unconventional, improbable beliefs – beliefs which are often held despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It was Storr’s fascinating career as a journalist which prompted this book since it brought him into contact with ‘otherwise clever people’ holding somewhat implausible beliefs. As well as a discussion of this book and the workings of the human mind, attendees of this event can expect a privileged insight into Storr’s rich and diverse experiences as a journalist. Storr’s work has, for instance, taken him to the Aboriginal communities of Australia and African refugee camps, and he has received several prestigious awards; one of these is the Amnesty International Award in recognition of his work investigating the practice of sexual violence against men.

Dr Charles Fernyhough, who currently works in Durham University’s psychology department, will indubitably bring some valuable insights to the discussion. His Durham University web page cites a compelling range of research interests which include ‘imaginary friends in childhood and adulthood’ and ‘private speech’. One of his books, Pieces of Light, was a science Book of the Year in The Sunday Times; the book explores the science and stories behind autobiographical memory. His literary work, A Box of Birds, is at once a literary thriller and a riveting love story. This futuristic novel explores intriguing themes of selfhood and morality, testing the school of thought that “’we’ are nothing more than brain cells and neurotransmitters”. Dr Fernyhough has won several awards for his work and taught creative writing in various capacities across the UK, exercising his interest in the psychological processes behind reading and writing.

This event, then, will be not only a compelling discussion of literature and the human mind; it will give attendees a rich and valuable insight into the impressive and enviable careers of two men who have played active and vital roles in our society through two arguably quite different kinds of investigative careers. I have no doubt that Charles Fernyhough and Will Storr together will offer their audience in St. Chad’s College Chapel a passionate, lively and meaningful conversation to share this October.

Will Storr in conversation with Charles Fernyhough is taking place in St. Chad’s College Chapel on Saturday 19th October, 3.30–4.30pm. If you think you might be interested in attending this event then tickets can be purchased online at http://www.durhambookfestival.com/2013-programme/.

Article image attributed to A Health Blog.

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