7.30pm, FCTC001, March 26th 2014 - Book a place HERE
Robert Newman is an author, broadcaster, comedian, and political activist, who will be making a rare public speaking appearance at The University of Gloucestershire on March 26th 2014.
He read English at Selwyn College, Cambridge, before finding fame as a comedian on the BBC’s The Mary Whitehouse Experience. He was then half of Newman and Baddiel, described by The Guardian as ‘the most successful comedy duo of all time.’ But after a pioneering, record-breaking tour that famously sold out Wembley Arena, Newman turned his back on main-stream stadium comedy, pursuing a solo career as a novelist and political comedian. His first novel, Dependence Day, won the £10,000 Betty Trask Award, though he now claims ‘it wasn’t very good.’ In 1999, after his second novel, Manners, was published by Penguin, Newman briefly returned to television, reporting on the anti-WTO protests in Seattle for Channel 4.
His return to comedy saw him produce a series of erudite politicised solo shows that have toured in Britain and America, and have seen him compared to Lenny Bruce and described as ‘the funniest comedian I’ve ever seen’ in The Sunday Times, and ‘breathtakingly, heartbreakingly, goosepimplingly brilliant’ in The Scotsman. In 2005, he finally returned to television comedy when his show A History of Oil screened on More4, and in 2006 the BBC commissioned a six-part series, A History of the World Backwards. However, Newman continues to make his name as one of the most exciting and unusual of contemporary British novelists. His third novel, A Fountain at the Centre of the World, was chosen as a book of the year by Dave Eggers and described in The New York Times as ‘the talismanic Catch-22 of the antiglobalization protest movement.’ The Guardian argued it was a ‘wonderful, big-hearted, textured, funny, moral and deeply unfashionable book’, while The Independent asked if it could ‘herald a resuscitation of the English "literary political novel", almost dead in the water since the best work of Malcolm Lowry and Graham Greene’.
Newman will join us to discuss politics, fiction, history, and his new novel, The Trade Secret – an outrageous, continent-crossing epic that subtly blends fact and fiction, and is described by The Guardian as ‘a rollicking Elizabethan yarn that has much to say about the origins and nature of modern capitalism.’