An Evening With… Adam LeBor

Our latest Circle Sq. event saw 60 of our members come together to enjoy an inspiring evening ‘in conversation’ with writer Adam LeBor. The discussion was expertly chaired by Lawrence Lever, a Circle Sq. member, entrepreneur and fellow writer. Speaking to an enthralled audience, Adam shared his passion for storytelling opening his talk by describing the 3 elements around which he builds his stories: a protagonist, an antagonist and obstacles. He explained that this tried and tested storytelling mechanism appears in all kinds of books and films, with James Bond’s heroic struggles used as an example, as Bond overcame obstacle after obstacle in his various missions to take down villains such as Drax or Goldfinger.

As a writer who is both a novelist and journalist, Adam discussed the challenges in switching between fiction and non-fiction, admitting that for him, fiction was the much harder of the two genres. Factual reporting was a skill hard-wired after years as a foreign correspondent so surfacing the Who? What? Why? questions in 600 words became second nature to him.  Shifting to a more nuanced, intricate writing style was a process that took him much more time to embed despite his prodigious output as a journalist.

Adam’s descriptions of his time spent in Jaffa while researching his book ‘City of Oranges’ as well as his 25 years living in Budapest were evocative and proved to be of a great interest to members who could further explore the knotted history of Israel and Palestine. His tales of shadowing Jaffa’s Chelouche family as they navigated the complexities after partition and the forming of the new state, were fascinating to hear.

Wisdom and experience were key themes in the conversation with Adam admitting his early work (in his 20s) didn’t come close to the quality and calibre of his later work. He believes that over the years he has gained a perspective and self-awareness that adds depth to his writing. Adam mentioned John le Carr, who is still writing novels in his 80s, as evidence that writers do get better with age!

To finish, Adam shared advice he received from a fellow novelist when starting out his fiction career, ‘Start with a murder – and always make sure the boy gets the girl.’ Wise words that have paved the way for Adam’s prolific writing career. Thanks Adam for a super evening!

DATE:    Wednesday 05 February 2020
TIME:     6.30 – 8.30pm
VENUE: Belsize Park, London. NW3