Book Club with Justin Cartwright

Bloomsbury Institute
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Bloomsbury Book Club with Justin Cartwright

Tuesday 29th September

Interview by Boyd Tonkin

Justin Cartwright, one of our most celebrated British novelists, will be here for our first Bloomsbury Book Club this autumn to discuss his evocative new novel, Up Against the Night.  

Up Against the Night is an intimate exploration of one man’s relationship with South Africa and its turbulent history. Justin Cartwright will discuss how he created an intensely serious novel which also vividly encompasses the absurdity and comedy of life.  

Up Against the Night is a subtle, brilliant novel about South Africa, its beautiful, superbly evoked landscape, its violent past and its uncertain present.

Frank’s Afrikaner cousin, Jaco, goes to America, where he has joined the Scientologists. His chaotic and violent life spills over on to Frank. He is drawn into a world of violence and delusion that is to threaten the family.

Like his main protagonist, Justin Cartwright is a descendant of the South African Boer leader, Piet Retief, who was murdered by the Zulu King Dingane, along with all his followers, in 1838. Retief has been an icon of Afrikaners ever since. Join Booker Prize shortlisted Justin Cartwright and interviewer award-winning journalist Boyd Tonkin, as they explore the author's personal history in the midst of the social upheavals in South African fiction. Enjoy drinks with the author and have your book signed, which we will post to you on publication.

‘Few novelists are as assured, stylish, socially perceptive and witty as the British based South African’ Irish Times

Justin Cartwright’s novels include the Booker-shortlisted In Every Face I Meet, the Whitbread Novel Award-winner Leading the Cheers, the acclaimed White Lightning, shortlisted for the 2002 Whitbread Novel Award, The Promise of Happiness, selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club and winner of the 2005 Hawthornden Prize, The Song Before It Is Sung, To Heaven By Water,Other People’s Money, winner of the Spears novel of the year and, most recently, the acclaimed Lion Heart. Described by The Telegraph as 'one of our best novelists' Justin Cartwright was born in South Africa and lives in London. @justincartwrig1 

Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer at The Independent. Previously an award-winning magazine journalist, freelance writer and interviewer for The Observer and the New Statesman, he has been an invited speaker at festivals and conferences around the world andhis cultural essays have been published widely in books and journals. In addition to re-founding and judging the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2001-2015, he has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, amongst others. He is a member of the Council of the Orwell Prize and has been appointed Chair of the Judges for the Man Booker International Prize 2016.


Ticket Details

Book Club tickets are £20 including a copy of Up Against the Night posted to you in advance, or £10 without the book. Season membership costs £80. To join please email

Date: Tuesday 29th September
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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