An evening with John Lanchester

With the ten-year anniversary of the 2008 financial crash fast approaching, British writer and journalist John Lanchester came to Sevenoaks School on Friday 15 September to talk to parents, teachers and pupils about his experiences as a novelist and a non-fiction writer.

Given that his two most famous books (Capital and Whoops!) revolve around the 2008 credit crunch, which pupils were too young to understand at the time, John took this opportunity to elaborate on the main causes of the crash. In the context of the gigantic scale of financial markets and their global interconnectedness, the sub-prime crisis in the US spread all around the world at an uncontrollable rate with devastating consequences, from people being evicted from their homes to major banks collapsing.

John then went on to talk more generally about the unpredictability of the world we live in: no economist could have forecast the 2008 crash, nor could they have predicted Brexit – which, according to John, would probably not have happened if it hadn’t been for the financial crisis, as it triggered the longest period of falling real wages in British history. Brexit itself adds more unpredictability to the future of the UK and of its financial sector. Finally, when asked at the end of the talk whether he had some advice for those pupils who would like to work in the City, John declared: ‘You’d be better off writing fiction!’

Juliette Imbert, L6

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