An Afternoon with Elizabeth Lowry

25 August 2022, 3:00pm - 4:30pm


We are so pleased to be welcoming Elizabeth Lowry to the Museum on August 25th.

Spend the afternoon with Elizabeth for a book signing and reading of her highly praised novel ‘The Chosen’.

Tender, intimate and atmospheric, this haunting novel transports the reader into the austere house and shocked heart one of England’s greatest writers

One morning in November 1912 Thomas Hardy’s wife Emma dies. The two were married for over forty years, though increasingly estranged for the last twenty. Though they lived in the same house, Max Gate in Dorset, by the time of Emma’s death they were no longer speaking, and rarely even met. Emma spent her days and nights upstairs in the attic, while Tom wrote and slept on the floor below.

For the last four years, Tom has been in a tentative relationship with a much younger woman, Florence Dugdale. Like his family – who resented and avoided Emma – Florence assumes that he’ll be glad to be free. He isn’t. He is utterly shattered by the loss of his wife.

While Tom is still overwhelmed with grief he finds both a memoir and a cache of secret diaries by Emma, in which she railed about his failings as a husband, accusing him of having been her gaoler. Why did Thomas Hardy really choose Emma as his wife? What happened to them? What is life like for a woman whose own life and ambitions are buried beneath the artistic career of her husband, as he soars to literary greatness? And why did they never have children?

This is a novel about grief and regret, about Thomas Hardy at seventy-two, about the mystery at the heart of his long marriage to Emma Gifford, and the cost – to him, to those around him – of a writer’s life. Set in the eleven days following Emma’s death, it’s a love story and a ghost story – and the story of how some of the greatest love poems ever written in English, the ‘Poems of 1912-13’, came to exist.


Important Announcement

On Friday 2nd June 2023 the cafe TASTE at Dorset Museum cafe will be closed from 2pm
for a private function.

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Elizabeth Lowry was born in Washington DC and educated in South Africa and England. She lives and works in Oxford. Her first novel, The Bellini Madonna, was published in 2008 to great acclaim; her second, Dark Water, was longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. She is a frequent contributor to the London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal.

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