23. ilb 06. - 16.09.2023

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson was born in London in 1978. His debut »Communion Town« [2012] was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in the year it was published. Although the novel is subtitled »A City in Ten Chapters«, its multidimensionality can hardly be limited to that of a city novel, but rather reflects the complexity of human consciousness. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different resident, which also results in a great diversity of genres and registers.

The novel »Jott« [2018], shortlisted for the 2019 Encore Award, tells a story of friendship, madness, and modernity. In 1935, Arthur is a psychiatrist at London’s oldest mental hospital, where the mentally ill are subjected to cruel and primitive treatments; his closest friend Louis, a brilliant but neurotic writer, is fascinated by Arthur’s patients and determined to learn their secrets. Together, Arthur and Louis learn how easily the distinction between sanity and madness can become blurred. »Thompson has created a fresh and supple portrait of an era in flux, with psychoanalysis, feminism and fascism all on the rise, and through the character of Arthur written a perceptive study of the shifting ground between sanity and breakdown« [»The Guardian«].

His son’s language difficulties inspired Sam Thompson to write his first novel for children »Wolfstongue« [2021]. The protagonist of the story is bullied at school because he does not speak. After helping an injured wolf, he is allowed to enter the hidden world of talking animals and realizes that here, too, language means power. With their clever talk, the foxes living in an underground city control the wolves and oppress them. The boy must find his voice to help his wolf friends in their liberation from the clever foxes. »Wolfstongue« won a 2022 Spark School Book Award. Thompson’s short story collection »Whirlwind Romance« was published in April 2022, and his latest novel, »The Fox’s Tower«, will be published in autumn 2022. Thompson’s short prose has appeared in the anthologies »Best British Short Stories 2019« and »Still Worlds Turning«, and on BBC Radio 4 among others. He also writes reviews for other outlets, including the »Times Literary Supplement« and »London Review of Books«.

The author lives in Belfast, where he teaches English literature and creative writing at Queens University.

Date: 2022