Thursday 18 May
An illustrated talk by Andrew Lycett, biographer, author and broadcaster
Followed by a Q&A
Venue: Crowborough Community Centre
Time: 3pm – 4pm
If you’ve ever wondered about the man behind the many myths that surrounded Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and get an insight into his life during the Crowborough years, this is an event not to missed!
Andrew Lycett assembles the many threads of Conan Doyle’s life, including the lasting impact of his domineering mother and his alcoholic father; his affair with a younger woman while his wife lay dying; and his fanatical pursuit of scientific data to prove and explain various supernatural phenomena.
Lycett combines access to new material with assiduous research and penetrating insight to offer the most comprehensive, lucid and sympathetic portrait yet of Conan Doyle’s personal journey from student to doctor, from world-famous author to ardent spiritualist.
“splendid, evocatively illustrated biography” SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
“Comprehensive and authoritative, it is undoubtedly the best account of Doyle to date” SUNDAY TIMES
“Lycett excels at the troubled context of of Doyle’s times, caught first on the cusp and then on the charge of change” — Ross Leckie TIMES
“Packed with fascinating detail about Doyle’s milieu, this engaging and perceptive account deserves to sell in vast quantities to the army of Holmes fans” — Christopher Hirst INDEPENDENT
“In Andrew Lycett’s hugely enjoyable new biography, the sheer breathtaking dynamism of the man shines through” Philip Hoare, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
About Andrew Lycett
Born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Andrew Lycett lived in East Africa (Tanganyika) until he was eight, and then in Yorkshire, Dublin and Sussex.
He was educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Modern History and edited Cherwell, the university newspaper.
After graduating, he travelled in and began writing about India. Some of his earliest articles appeared in the Illustrated Weekly of India and the Rising Nepal. He also worked briefly for a development agency in newly independent Bangladesh. In the mid-1970s he returned to Africa and later spent considerable time in the Middle East, working in both areas as a foreign correspondent, mainly for The Times and Sunday Times. Over a period of twenty years he also edited several magazines and other publications dealing primarily with the Arab world. He acted as a consultant to the Economist Intelligence Unit and was a contributing editor of GQ.
As a result of regular visits to Libya, he wrote his first book, ‘Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution’ (with his Sunday Times colleague, the late David Blundy). This was published in Britain by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1987 and in the United States by Little, Brown in 1988.
Since the mid-1990s, he has concentrated on writing non-fiction books, mainly biographies. His ‘Ian Fleming’, published in 1995, is the definitive life of James Bond’s creator. Reviewing it in the Sunday Telegraph, Selina Hastings, herself a celebrated biographer, wrote, ‘This is an exemplary biography, beautifully written, fast-paced and extremely perceptive.’
His ‘Rudyard Kipling’, published in 1999, drew an equally enthusiastic response. The influential critic Terry Eagleton described it as ‘magisterial’ and chose it as one of his International Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement.
This was followed by ‘Dylan Thomas – A New Life’ in 2003. Martin Booth in the Literary Review found this ‘frankly, stunning … a gripping, unputdownable read’. Jan Morris chose it as her biography of the year in The Times, referring to it as ‘majestically thorough, readable and compassionate’.
Andrew speaks regularly at literary festivals, in schools and in universities, and at other events where his subject matter includes his books, biography in general, and aspects of current affairs in countries he knows, such as Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, India and elsewhere.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, as well as of the Royal Geographical Society. He arranges events for the Kipling Society as its Meetings Secretary.