‘The Secret Life’ in the Internet Age – Thursday 5 October

Reality and identity in the Internet Age will be explored by one of the UK’s foremost contemporary writers at a free Dundee Literary Festival event this week.

Andrew O'Hagan, described as one of his generation's most exciting and most serious chroniclers of contemporary Britain, will be discussing his latest book, ‘The Secret Life: Three True Stories’ at the University of Dundee’s D’Arcy Thompson lecture Theatre on Thursday 5 October.

‘The Secret Life’ sees the author investigate the porous border between cyberspace and the real world. The first of the stories centres upon controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose autobiography O’Hagan agreed to ghostwrite, while the second sees him take on the identity of a deceased man for a journey into the deep web’s darkest realms. The third chronicles the strange case of Australian web developer Craig Wright, believed by some to be the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin.

“The internet offers a secret life to everybody, but how it happens, and who controls it, stirred me to write these stories,” said O’Hagan. “There are 67 million ‘invented’ names on Facebook, many of them clearly living another life, less ordinary, or at any rate less checkable. Nobody knows who they really are.

“Encryption has made the average user a ghost – an alias, a simulacrum, a reflection. In this climate, only our buying power makes us real. In a world where everybody can be anybody, where being real is no big deal, I wanted to work back to the human problems.”

Andrew O’Hagan has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize three times. He was voted one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003, and has won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.

‘The Secret Life’ is free to attend and takes place at the D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, University of Dundee, from 7pm on Thursday 5 October. Tickets can be obtained from www.literarydundee.co.uk/festival or at the door. It is one of several special events taking place before the main body of the Dundee Literary Festival takes place from 18-22 October.

The Literary Festival is produced by Literary Dundee, a University of Dundee-led initiative that connects books, readers, writers and the brightest ideas.

Among the leading authors taking part in this year’s Festival are Denise Mina, Graeme Macrae Burnet, and Jacqueline Wilson. The individuals, themes and genres to be celebrated include Bard of Dundee Michael Marra, Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe, cyborgs, memoirs, poetry, football and comics. A range of events aimed at families and children will be held, while the 100th anniversary of D’Arcy Thompson’s seminal On Growth and Form will also be marked.

The full programme can be seen at www.literarydundee.co.uk. Tickets for all events can also be obtained from the website.

For media enquiries contact:
Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
Tel: +44 (0)1382 384768
Mobile: 07854 953277
Email: g.hill@dundee.ac.uk