Alan Hollinghurst on The Sparsholt Affair

Alan Hollinghurst is an award-winning British author who won the Man Booker Prize for his 2004 novel The Line of Beauty. He joined us at Being A Man festival to talk about his latest work The Sparsholt Affair, read some excerpts from the novel and discuss its characters, themes and conception.

A former lecturer at Magdalen College, Oxford, and deputy editor of The Times literary Supplement, Hollinghurst published his first novel The Swimming Pool Library in 1988. The book won both the Somerset Maughan Award and the Stonewall Book Award and was described at the time by American novelist Edmund White as ‘surely the best book about gay life yet written by an English author’.

Alan Hollinghurst: The Sparsholt Affair by Southbank Centre: Artists, Thinkers, Writers

Gay life, and the changing attitudes towards homosexuality, have been key aspects throughout much of Hollinghurst’s work, and in this podcast - as well as discussing The Sparsholt Affair - he reflects candidly on the new-found freedom and openness in the gay scene in recent decades, and what obstacles still need to be overcome.

I remember when I was an undergraduate getting hold of a copy of The Gay Times which said that the back bar of The Black Horse in Cirencester was sort of gay on Saturday lunchtimes
Alan Hollinghurst, on the sparsity of welcoming gay environments in his formative years

Alan Hollinghurst was one of many authors, writers and thinkers to appear at this year’s Being A Man festival as we examined what it means to be a man in the 21st century. We’ve put together a playlist featuring some of the highlight talks from the weekend.

listen to the podcasts

more on Being A Man