Book Club with Adam Sisman

Bloomsbury Institute
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Bloomsbury Book Club with Adam Sisman

Tuesday 17th November

Interview by Jon Stock

Join us for an exciting evening as we welcome Adam Sisman who will be here to discuss his new and definitive biography of John le Carré with journalist and author Jon Stock. Over half a century since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold made le Carré a worldwide, bestselling sensation, David Cornwell, the man behind the pseudonym, remains a mystery. Adam Sisman’s highly anticipated book sheds light on one of the world’s most successful but enigmatic writers

In Cornwell’s lonely childhood Adam Sisman uncovers the origins of the themes of love and abandonment which have dominated le Carré’s fiction. And in Cornwell’s adult life, including his recruitment by MI5 and MI6,  Sisman explores the idea of espionage and its significance in human terms; the extent to which betrayal is acceptable in exchange for love; and the endless need for forgiveness, especially from oneself.


Written with exclusive access to David Cornwell himself, to his private archive and to the most important people in his life and featuring previously unseen photographic material, Adam Sisman’s extraordinarily insightful and constantly revealing biography brings in from the cold a man whose own life has been as complex and confounding and filled with treachery as any of his novels. ‘I’m a liar,’ Cornwell has written. ‘Born to lying, bred to it, trained to it by an industry that lies for a living, practised in it as a novelist.

Together Adam and Jon will talk about the inspiration behind the biography, how it was researched and what it reveals about John le Carré, described by Ian McEwan as ‘perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the twentieth century in Britain’. Enjoy drinks with the author and have your book signed, which we will post to you upon publication.

Adam Sisman lives in Bristol. He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of St Andrews and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His books have been much admired, for the clarity and punch of his prose, for his scholarship, and for their entertainment value.  ‘Mr Sisman has an ideal biographical style: inquisitive and open, serious yet not severe,’ wrote Dwight Garner, reviewing it in the New York Times: ‘I’d read him on anyone.’

Jon Stock is the author of five spy novels. Dead Spy Running, the first in his Daniel Marchant trilogy, is being developed as a film by the Hollywood director McG. Jon is currently Executive Head of Weekend and Living at the Telegraph. He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and three children and has recently completed his sixth novel, a psychological thriller, written on the train to London

Ticket Details

Book Club tickets are £25 including a copy of John le Carré posted to you in advance, or £10 without the book. Season membership costs £80. To join please email bloomsburyinstitute@bloomsbury.com.

Date: Tuesday 17th November
Time: Drinks from 6pm and talk from 6:30pm to 7.30pm
Place: Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP
Tickets: £20 including a hardback book or £10 without the book

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