– The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
In September 2019, we’ll be returning to the world of Gilead. Set fifteen years after its predecessor The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments is not going to pick up where Offred’s story left off. In fact, we cannot even be sure that Offred will be a character in the sequel to Atwood’s dystopian novel; all we know is that the sequel will have three female narrators and that it will not be connected to the Hulu series, which has extended Offred’s original story. A sequel has been a long time coming for Atwood’s 1985 novel, and whilst I am eager to learn more of Offred’s world, I hope that The Testaments lives up to the hype surrounding it.
– Exhibition of Eco-Visionaries
From 4 November 2019 to 23 February 2020, the Royal Academy’s new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries will host Eco-Visionaries. The exhibition aims to call into question humans’ ecological consequences on the Earth in such manifestations as climate change, food shortage and resource depletion. Synonymously, Eco-Visionaries illuminates the growing interconnectedness of humans and non-humans, and the radical redefinition of the role of technology in the current socio-political landscape. Amassing art practitioners including Superflex, Unknown Fields, Andres Jaque / Office for Political Innovation, HeHe and Malka Architecture, the exhibition presents a critical rumination on today’s most urgent environmental issues, and methods by which they may be addressed and resolved.
– Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan, the award-winning graduate of UEA’s Creative Writing MA, is set to publish a new book on 19 April 2019. One of the most consistent names on the Man Booker Shortlist, McEwan’s new work is a firm step into the genres of alternate history and sci-fi. Machines Like Me takes place in an alternate London where Britain has lost the Falklands War and Alan Turing made a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. While details are still scant, McEwan has promised that the work will address the fundamental question of what it means to be human under this unique setting.
– Play based on Max Porter’s book
This new year will see a lot of Max Porter, the author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers. I am extremely excited to see this experimental piece of writing adapted by Enda Walsh and staged at the Barbican Theatre in March, through to April. What’s more? The anthropomorphic Crow who represents grief in the play will be played by Cillian Murphy from Peaky Blinders. Adding to the anticipation is the fact that Porter will be in conversation with Philip Langeskov here at UEA the following day!
– The Wall by John Lanchester
Hyped up by one of my favourite authors, Keith Ridgway, The Wall by John Lanchester is my most anticipated piece of fiction this year. Described as a ‘Kafkaesque nightmare’, it tells the story of a wall patroller at the end of his tether, where boredom seeps in and political undercurrents emerge. The synopsis reads like a vague YA-novel, but this looks like it possesses none of the genre’s standard pitfalls.
– Harald Sohlberg exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
As the National Gallery in Oslo closes down for renovation, their recent exhibition of the works of Norwegian symbolist Harald Sohlberg (1869-1935) comes to the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. Harald Sohlberg: Painting Norway is the first exhibition of his works outside his home country, and the major retrospective coincides with the 150th anniversary of Sohlberg’s birth. As an artist he was influenced by Norwegian folklore and the country’s rural landscape. However, Sohlberg also took inspiration from his own psyche and his intense encounters with nature, evident in his most famous painting, the luminous Vinternatt i Rondane (Winter Night in the Mountains).
Johanne Elster Hanson