Richard Flanagan’s latest novel,The Narrow Road to the Deep North, is based on the experience of an Australian man in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp on the 1943 Thai-Burma death railway. This sounds fairly grim, and indeed the novel oscillates “between scenes of relentless violence and the desolations of war’s aftermath” while nevertheless (!) offering the possibility of redemption. This magician-worthy feat, courtesy of Flanagan’s literary prowess, has been rewarded with a Booker nomination. The author’s previous works (including Gould’s Book of Fish and The Sound of One Hand Clapping) have also been highly praised. See the man himself in conversation with Patrick McGrath, a writer of ‘gothic fiction’. Looks to be a cheery evening, then.