ICE Public Lecture: 11th February 2016

Novelist, Jonathan Coe In Conversation

Multi award winning novelist, Jonathan Coe discusses, and reads from, his latest, and eleventh, novel, ‘Number 11’, which was published on the 11th day of the 11th month, 2015.

Jonathan will be in conversation with Professor Roger Shannon, Director Edge Hill University’s Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE).

  • Watch the conversation here: YouTube


‘A brutal family dynasty shows its staying power in this state-of-the-nation satire that takes in reality TV, wealth inequality, the death of David Kelly and giant spiders….Angry, bleak, preoccupied with establishing occult power connections to the extent that it would easily earn its place on a shelf of “paranoid fiction”, Number 11 is undoubtedly a political novel. It is also an interrogation of the purposes and efficacy of humour in exposing society’s ills, and a spoof on horror B-movies …’ Guardian review of ‘Number 11.’ Read the full review on the Guardian’s website here.

‘Number 11’ is Coe’s sequel, of sorts, to his 1994 ‘What a Carve Up!’, his extraordinary piece of social satire, which uses the story of a powerful, wealthy and ruthless family, the Winshaws, to expose the excesses and evils of all aspects of Thatcherite Britain. The Winshaws’ lust for power took them into virtually every aspect of British life: the media, the arms trade, agriculture and food production, the health service, and the art world.

‘Number 11’ provides another stinging social and political attack, this time on austerity Britain. There’s migrant trafficking, the closing of libraries, the squalid and brutal horrors of reality TV, the threat to make universities ‘service providers’, the uncontrolled prejudices of the press and the absurd culture of the super rich.

What Coe satirically captures is the gaping chasm between the two distinct worlds of the haves and the have-nots in an era of austerity, exposing the mantra of “we’re all in it together”.

Date: Thursday 11th February 2016

5.45pm Registration and Wine Reception
6.30pm Lecture
7.30pm Networking and light buffet

Venue: Creative Edge (building 26 on the Map) at Edge Hill University (Directions)

Registration: closed.


Jonathan is the author of eleven novels, all published by Penguin, which include the highly acclaimed bestsellers What a Carve Up!, The House of Sleep and The Rotters’ Club.  His non fiction work includes a biography of the novelist B.S. Johnson, Like a Fiery Elephant, which won the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for best non-fiction book of the year.


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This date is part of a wider programme of events taking place at Edge Hill over the next couple of months as part of the Festival of Ideas 2016, a diverse range of events exploring culture, health and society. The main theme is Imagining Better – envisioning ways for communities, arts and healthcare to develop and flourish, even in times of austerity and inequality. Read More…

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