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The Bluecoat to launch ‘lost’ Malcolm Lowry novel

The Bluecoat’s annual celebration of Merseyside-born writer, Malcolm Lowry (1909-57) will feature the European launch of his 'lost' novel In Ballast to the White Sea on 25 October. 

This autobiographical novel, Lowry’s longest and most ambitious project of the mid?1930s, was thought to have been lost in a fire, but was later discovered in the New York Public Library after it become known that his first wife, Jan Gabrial, still had a typescript of the book. Now, almost forty years after the writer’s death, the first ever published edition will be launched at a day-long Lowry event at The Bluecoat.

The book is about a Cambridge undergraduate who wants to be a novelist but has come to believe that both his book and, in a sense, his life have already been “written” by a Norwegian novelist.  Partly set in Merseyside, its annotations were compiled with the help of New Brighton Lowry expert Colin Dilnot.

Speaking about the event, the Bluecoat’s Artistic Director, Bryan Biggs said: “We are delighted and naturally very excited to be hosting the launch of this very special novel, which further connects Malcolm Lowry to the place of his birth.

“The typescript of In Ballast to the White Sea has probably been read by at most a dozen people since Lowry scholars learned that it was deposited at the New York Public Library. Each year at the Bluecoat we celebrate the life and work of this local author, so it’s a privilege to launch the book at our Lowry Lounge.”

The Lowry Lounge will also feature leading UK writer, Iain Sinclair who will be talking about Lowry in relation to his 2013 book American Smoke, which follows in the footsteps of the American Beat writers and of Lowry, whose writing in many ways anticipated theirs.

The event also includes a guided walk round Liverpool city centre, led by Colin Dilnot, visiting sites relating to the book and to Lowry’s childhood years on Merseyside. The book launch itself will be introduced by the editor of In Ballast to the White Sea, Patrick McCarthy and Vik Doyen, who wrote its foreword. 


The Lowry Lounge - Saturday 25th October 2014

Tickets: Walk (11am-1pm) £5/Iain Sinclair talk (2-3.30pm) £5/combined ticket £8/book launch (4-6pm) free.


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Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

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