Join us for an evening online with biographer Adam Begley, author of Houdini: The Elusive American, who will be in conversation with Sam Leith, literary editor of the Spectator, about the celebrated escape artist Harry Houdini, how biographers work and what they hope to achieve.

Adam Begley - Houdini

Houdini: The Elusive American

Born Erik Weisz in Budapest in 1874, Houdini grew up as an impoverished Jewish immigrant in America’s Midwest and became world famous—and part of the language—thanks to talent, industry, and ferocious determination. Adam Begley has taken on this fascinating and elusive figure, asking the essential question: What kind of man was this?

Houdini: The Elusive American, part of the Yale University Press Jewish Lives series, will be published on 12th May. Advance praise makes clear its peculiar relevance to our times: “Witty, intelligent, and sprightly, Adam Begley’s Houdini tells a story that is not only central to the American experience, but strangely pertinent to the fakery, fraudulence, and self-promotion dominating our news waves at present.” — Wendy Lesser, author of Jerome Robbins: A Life in Dance

DATE:     Tuesday 19 May 2020
TIME:      6.30 – 7.45pm
VENUE:  online (Zoom details below)

Meeting ID: 820 2249 5064
Password: 050655

Zoom meeting info:

Register here:

Adam Begley, author and biographer

Adam Begley has been living in Great Gidding with his wife, Anne Cotton, since 2016. Before that they lived in Oundle. Adam, who was born in the USA and came to England in 1997, is the author of Houdini: The Elusive American (2020); The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera (2017); and Updike (2014). For many years the books editor of The New York Observer, he was a Guggenheim fellow in 2010. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, the Financial Times, London Review of Books, TLS, and Spectator

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