Peter Englund: The Beauty and the Sorrow
His origins were humble; a working-class boy from a small military town in northern Sweden, not far from the Arctic Circle. Today, he is one of the most influential figures in the world of literature, because Peter Englund is Permanent Secretary to the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature.
For someone who has within his power the making or breaking of international writing careers, Peter, as you’ll hear, is remarkably unassuming. Perhaps one reason for this is that he’s still a writer himself; he understands the writing process profoundly, and his own books have been both bestsellers and widely acclaimed. His most recent, just launched in London, is a stunning new approach to the history of the First World War. Subtitled “an intimate history”, The Beauty and the Sorrow explores the personal aspects of war: not the grand strategies concocted in the cabinets of Europe, but the experiences of “ordinary” people from around the world, all now unknown – were it not for Peter’s deeply moving book.
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