Modern culture seems to pride itself on scientific advancement and the evolution of critical thinking, yet we are still as enchanted and seduced by myth as our distant ancestors were.

You need only take a stroll around a shopping centre, turn on the TV, or spend a few minutes surfing the net, to be confronted by mythological symbols, legendary heroes and God-like beings. Whether it is the legions of Narcissus snapping their selfies, tech giants boldly re-branding the forbidden fruit, or political factions brandishing flags and reciting mantras, myth has spilled out into the realm of modern existence.

In an increasingly divided modern climate, do we use allegory to give voice to ideas that we might be otherwise unable to express? And does the mythical world provide an uncensored dimension in which we can share perspectives that might be otherwise quickly denounced?

Our event chair Yvette Huddleston and acclaimed panel, including academic and writer Peter Conrad, author and journalist James Ball and author Jared Shurin, are faced with the herculean task of examining our obsession with myths, and what advantages there may be to seeing the legendary in the everyday.

About The Authors

Peter Conrad

Peter Conrad is an acclaimed cultural critic, author, and Guardian columnist. Inspired by the French philosopher Roland Barthes, Peter Conrad has explored the mythologies underpinning our daily lives in his BBC Radio 4 programme and new book Mythologies. 

James Ball

James Ball is a Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist who has worked for The Guardian and The Washington Post prior to joining Buzzfeed as a special correspondent. He is the author of Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World, an incisive critique of the current trend towards spin and fake news and a handbook for reclaiming our power as citizens.

Jared Shurin

Jared Shurin is a writer and editor, he has edited over twelve fiction anthologies in partnership with Tate Britain, the Royal Observatory and the Egypt Exploration Society amongst others, and he most recently co-edited the anthology The Djinn Falls in Love. He is also the founder and editor of the award-winning pop culture website Pornokitsch.

About The Chair

Yvette Huddleston

Yvette Huddleston is an author and journalist specialising in the arts. She has written extensively on film, theatre, literature and visual art for a wide range of national and regional publications.