Venue: Walled Garden.

Rachel Seiffert’s novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award, and she was twice longlisted for the Orange|Baileys Prize.  She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003, and in 2011 received the EM Forster Award.  Field Study, her collection of short stories, received an award from PEN International.

Her latest novel A Boy in Winter describes the events that unfold in a small Ukrainian town, early on a grey November morning in 1941. Only weeks have passed since the German invasion, and the area has been overrun by the SS.  A Boy in Winter tells of the three days that follow and the lives that are changed forever: Ephraim anxiously awaits word of his two sons, missing since daybreak, penned in with his fellow Jews, under threat of transportation; Yasia confronts new and harsh truths about those closest to her, as she furtively searches for her lover, away from the invaders; German engineer Otto Pohl, in the Ukraine to avoid a war he considers criminal, is faced with an even greater crime unfolding behind the lines, and  no-one but himself to turn to. And, in the midst of it all is the determined boy Yankel who will throw his and his young brother’s chances of surviving to strangers.

Deft, spare and devastating, this extraordinary novel – A Boy In Winter – is a story of hope when all is lost, and of mercy when the times have none.