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Festival of Ideas

What Are the Effects of Ageing on Our Creativity and Psychology? Geoff Dyer

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Geoff Dyer sets his own encounter with late middle age against the last days and last achievements of writers, painters, athletes and musicians who’ve mattered to him throughout his life.

The award-winning author of Out of Sheer Rage and Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It returns to Bristol to talk about his new book, The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings. Using the great tennis player’s twilight years as a jumping off point, Dyer examines Friedrich Nietzsche’s breakdown in Turin, Bob Dylan’s reinventions of old songs, J W Turner’s paintings of abstracted light, John Coltrane’s cosmic melodies, Jean Rhys’ return from the dead (while still alive) and Beethoven’s final quartets – and considers the intensifications and modifications of experience that come when an ending is within sight. What can we learn from those who quit, those who died and those who push on a little too long?

In conversation with Jenny Lacey.

Most authors use language to write about things. Dyer uses things to write about language. He’s a clever clogs but he’s one of us at the same time. Genius.


Geoff Dyer’s The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings is published by Canongate. Buy a copy online or at the event from our partners Waterstones.

Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to an excerpt of Geoff Dyer’s The Last Days of Roger Federer, read by Richard Burnip.

Geoff Dyer (c) Guy Drayton

Geoff Dyer is an award-winning author of ten non-fiction books and four novels, including Out of Sheer Rage, Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, Zona and See/Saw. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, Dyer lives in Los Angeles, where he is Writer in Residence at the University of Southern California. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages.

Image credit: Guy Drayton
Jenny Lacey

Jenny Lacey was for many years an award-winning radio presenter, working for LBC and for the BBC. She was the BBC’s Education Correspondent for the South West, and became Managing Editor of BBC Radio Gloucestershire and then BBC Radio Bristol.

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