With her quick wit and sharp nature, Lionel Shriver’s return to the Brighton Festival was eagerly awaited. 

The talk was presented as an introduction to her most recent novel, The Mandibles, but touched on themes in her writing, being an American in London, near-death experiences and the economy, amongst other matters. 

Best known for the novel and subsequent film ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin,’ Shiver’s a writer who doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, and at the talk, she was as blunt and to-the-point as her readers would have hoped. 

She read from The Mandibles, and from the brief introduction, it seems to be another tome with that addresses weighty issues through well-devised, believable characters. 

Shriver is a skilled writer who deserves wider recognition, and a talented professional who has built expertise the old-fashioned way, with plenty of research and practice.

Shriver’s clearly a person who loves a challenge, as can be evidenced in her subject matter, but this evening she didn’t get much of one from her interviewee or the audience. 

A deeper exploration of her new novel and more information about her techniques would have made this talk a lot more engaging.