Saturday 24th - 14.30
As a feminist reworking of Schiele's story, and as an exercise in redressing historical injustice, his novel is a glorious success. Vienna at the dawn of the 20th century. An opulent, extravagant city teeming with art, music and radical ideas. A place where the social elite attend glamorous balls in the city's palaces whilst young intellectuals decry the empire across the tables of crowded cafes. It is a city where anything seems possible - if you are a man. Edith and Adele are sisters, the daughters of a wealthy bourgeois industrialist. They are expected to follow the rules, to marry well, and produce children. Gertrude is in thrall to her flamboyant older brother. Marked by a traumatic childhood, she envies the freedom he so readily commands. Vally was born into poverty but is making her way in the world as a model for the eminent artist Gustav Klimt. None of these women is quite what they seem. Fierce, passionate and determined, they want to defy convention and forge their own path. But their lives are set on a collision course when they become entangled with the controversial young artist Egon Schiele whose work - and private life - are sending shockwaves through Vienna's elite. All it will take is a single act of betrayal to change everything for them all. Because just as a flame has the power to mesmerize, it can also destroy everything in its path…
Sophie trained as a journalist at City University, London, and has worked at the Sunday Times Magazine, Tatler and BBC Three, as well as writing for publications including the Financial Times, Guardian Weekend magazine, Arts Council, Royal Academy and Sotheby’s. She interviews leading authors including Hilary Mantel, Maggie O’Farrell, Bernardine Evaristo, Sally Rooney and Amy Tan. Passionate about short stories, Sophie also works as a digital editor for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award and is associate director of the Word Factory literary organisation. She is a first reader and judge for various writing competitions and hosts her own short story club.