Past event

Book launch -- Firebird: A Bloomsbury Love Story Join Professor Susan Sellers for a glass of wine to celebrate the publication of her new novel

Join Professor in the School of English, Susan Sellers, for the launch of her new novel Firebird: A Bloomsbury Love Story.

Firebird tells the surprising story of two of the Bloomsbury Group's most unlikely lovers – John Maynard Keynes, the distinguished economist, and the extrovert Russian dancer Lydia Lopokova. Weaving biography and fiction, Firebird explores the tangle of Bloomsbury's bohemian relationships as lifestyles are challenged and allegiances shift following Lydia's explosive arrival.

It is the winter of 1921 and Diaghilev's Ballets Russes launch a flamboyant new production at London's Alhambra Theatre. Maynard Keynes is in the audience, though he expects little from the evening. Despite Lydia's many triumphs, including the title role in Stravinsky's Firebird, Maynard's mind is made up – he considers her “a rotten dancer”. Besides, Lydia has at least one husband in tow and Maynard has only ever loved men. Tonight, however, he is moved by her performance, and when the ballet closes in financial disaster leaving its cast penniless, he invites Lydia to move into his Bloomsbury house.

Vividly recreating Lydia's life-changing journey from Tsarist St Petersburg to Jazz Age London via the Paris of Proust and Picasso, this richly imagined novel celebrates a love story that is utterly unexpected, true, and stranger than fiction.

Lesley Glaister, award-winning author of Blasted Things, says of Firebird: “To read Susan Sellers' wonderfully evocative novel is to be immersed in the cultural milieu of the Ballets Russes and Bloomsbury, informed and entertained in equal measure. Central character Lydia Lopokova is a marvellously sparky creation, maddening and original, who springs to life on the page as she stirs up and provokes Bloomsbury. Firebird is also a love story, charting the utterly unlikely relationship between Lydia and Maynard Keynes. It's moving, amusing, brilliantly researched and utterly absorbing. A damn good read!”

Please book a ticket via the Toppings website or email Professor Sellers on [email protected] to enjoy a glass of wine and an opportunity to hear all about the bright Bloomsbury years of the 1920s.

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