Richard Powers in conversation on his new book Bewilderment
Richard Powers, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, whose books have been endorsed by Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Emma Thomson, joined us at The Conduit in partnership with the How To Academy.
He was in conversation with Razia Iqbal about his new book Bewilderment, the story of a widower searching for life elsewhere in the cosmos whilst his brilliant misfit of a son struggles to make sense of life on our own perilous planet.
Indisputably one of the greatest storytellers of our time, the Booker Prize 2021 shortlisted, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Overstory explores the meaning of life on Earth.
Few works of fiction have the power to change who we are and how we conceive our place in the universe – but Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning masterpiece The Overstory is one. For Barack Obama, Powers ‘changed how I thought about the Earth and our place in it’; for Emma Thompson, The Overstory was a ‘the best book I’ve read in 10 years… a lodestone’; for Ann Patchett, it was simply ‘one of the best novels, period’.
Now, after a year in which global events have illustrated Powers’ concern with the fragility, interconnectedness, and preciousness of human life and nature with more poignancy than anyone dared to imagine, he joined us at The Conduit to explore the themes of his Booker Prize shortlisted new novel, Bewilderment.
Theo Byrne is a promising young astrobiologist who has found a way to search for life on other planets dozens of light years away. He is also the widowed father of a most unusual nine-year-old. His son Robin is funny, loving, and filled with plans. He thinks and feels deeply, adores animals, and can spend hours painting elaborate pictures. He is also on the verge of being expelled from third grade, for smashing his friend’s face with a metal thermos.
What can a father do, when the only solution offered to his rare and troubled boy is to put him on psychoactive drugs? What can he say when his boy comes to him wanting an explanation for a world that is clearly in love with its own destruction? The only thing for it is to take the boy to other planets, while all the while fostering his son’s desperate campaign to help save this one.
This event is presented in partnership with the How To Academy.
Richard Powers is an award-winning American novelist, many of whose works explore themes connected to science and technology.Whilst working as a computer programmer in Boston in 1980, Powers was inspired by a 1914 photograph entitled Young Farmers by August Sander, which he saw at an exhibition. Quitting his job, he spent two years writing Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance which was published in 1985. After moving to the Netherlands Powers penned many acclaimed novels such asThe Gold Bug Variations (1991), Galatea 2.2 (1995) and Orfeo (2014) which tackled themes of genetics, artificial intelligence, and bio-terrorism respectively.In 2019, Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Overstory, a sweeping epic about the profound connection between humanity and trees across several centuries. His novel Bewilderment, about a father battling his son’s rare health condition, was shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize.
Razia Iqbal is one of the main presenters of Newshour, the flagship news and current affairs programme on BBC World Service. She also regularly presents The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4. She was the BBC’s arts correspondent for a decade, covering arts and culture for radio and television news. She also presented Talking Books on BBC World TV: an in-depth interview programme with leading writers.Razia has been a journalist with the BBC for nearly three decades, and has worked as a political reporter and as a foreign correspondent in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.More recently, she has covered the 2016 Presidential campaign in the US, the Turkish elections, and has travelled in India and Pakistan making programmes for radio and television. She is a respected moderator of political and literary events. Razia was born in Kampala, Uganda, and moved to London as a child.
From hosting supper clubs at home to becoming a leading voice for diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry. How Asma Khan is inspiring the next generation of restaurateurs. The Conduit has partnered with One Million Voices for an evening with Asma Khan, one of the United Kingdom's brightest culinary stars.
https://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/poetry-pharmacy.png11251687Programme Teamhttps://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/TheConduit_MasterLogo.svgProgramme Team2023-05-29 08:20:332023-09-13 12:02:24The Poetry Pharmacy with William Sieghart – Oct 10th
Join us for another exciting evening celebrating all things social enterprise! After receiving excellent feedback from our previous session, The Conduit is proud to host another second Social Enterprise Mingle in our Ubuntu Lounge, bringing together Conduit members, Social Enterprise UK community and Expert Impact Social Enterprise Alum for an evening of connection, conversation, and creativity.
https://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/New_College_Portraits_by_John_Cairns_18.10.17-49.jpg435655Programme Teamhttps://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/TheConduit_MasterLogo.svgProgramme Team2023-05-27 08:19:222023-09-13 12:03:27Marcus du Sautoy – A Mathematician’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Games – Oct 11th
https://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/A-Day-in-the-Life-of-Abed-Salama-A-Palestine-Story.jpg11342048Programme Teamhttps://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/TheConduit_MasterLogo.svgProgramme Team2023-05-26 09:04:122023-10-03 14:14:12A Day in the Life of Abed Salama – A Palestine Story – Oct 12th
Join us for a discussion chaired by Sabrina Elba exploring how slavery has been re-defined by our contemporary world. When girl children are being exploited at increasing rates we must take more effective action to end modern slavery for good.
https://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/image001-1.png400600Programme Teamhttps://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/TheConduit_MasterLogo.svgProgramme Team2023-05-26 08:20:202023-09-13 12:04:46Modernising Our View on Modern Slavery – Oct 16th
In conversation with FT Arts Editor, Jan Dalley, Ken will draw from historical and present-day examples—including Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and more—offering the audience a rich tapestry of tactics and successes that speak directly to the challenges and needs of today’s activists and of these political times.
https://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/art_works_rev1-1.jpg22501575Programme Teamhttps://www.theconduit.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/TheConduit_MasterLogo.svgProgramme Team2023-05-25 08:18:052023-09-13 12:05:00Art Activism: How Organisers and Artists Mobilise Movements – Oct 17th
Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.
Essential Website Cookies
These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.
We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.
Other external services
We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.
Google Webfont Settings:
Google Map Settings:
Google reCaptcha Settings:
Vimeo and Youtube video embeds: