After London talk at the University of Greenwich

Will Self is going to be in conversation with Matthew Beaumont and others at the Howe lecture theatre, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London on Sunday 13 March from 2pm to 4pm.

As part of the current exhibition After London, which responds to the apocalyptic vision of London set out in Richard Jefferies’ 1885 novel, the discussion will focus on apocalyptic landscapes in literature, art and film.

To reserve a place, which is free, email the gallery, slg@gre.ac.uk. More details here.

The deep topography of Nick Papadimitriou

There was a short feature on Will Self’s friend and colleague the “deep topographer” Nick Papadimitriou, who most recently helped with the research on Self’s The Book of Dave, that included contributions from Self, Iain Sinclair and Russell Brand on Newsnight last night. You can watch it again here – it starts around the 36-minute mark. Papadimitriou’s book Scarp is due to be published next year by Sceptre. His podcasts on Resonance FM can be downloaded here, and there’s a short clip from The London Perambulator here.

In conversation with Russell Hoban

Because of “unprecedented demanded”, the British Library has rescheduled the talk between Russell Hoban and Will Self from February 2 to February 15 2011 to “a larger venue” (TBC).

Hoban will be talking about his novel Riddley Walker (1980) and its extraordinary language, as well as his other work, which includes Kleinzeit (1974), Pilgermann (1983), The Medusa Frequency (1987), Amaryllis Night and Day (2001) and Angelica Lost and Found (2010).

Mortality, the corpse and the fiction of Will Self

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living: Mortality, the Corpse and the Fiction of Will Self.

Death, according to Jacque Lynn Foltyn, has replaced sex as the 21st century’s definitive taboo. While the valance has long since been ripped away from the collective Victorian piano leg, the corpse, meanwhile, has become primed with symbolic explosives, threatening the very foundations of society built upon the mythology of modernist progress. Be it the computer-generated cadavers of CSI Miami, or Gunther von Hagens’ reality TV autopsies, Foltyn argues that the human corpse has become an increasingly pervasive object of revulsion and attraction in our culture, a site of anxiety about medicine’s failure to conquer, but enthusiasm to hide, death. With all this in mind, it’s not surprising to find that the fiction of Will Self – an author who frequently weaves his narratives in, around, and beyond the boundaries of taboo – is one who showcases several literary autopsies, in which death and the human corpse are explored with a surgeon’s eye (and, more often than not, a coroner’s tongue).