Metamorphosis is a darkly comic and moving reflection on what it means to be human in a world where nothing is certain, by the award-winning Oxford Professor of English Literature Robert Douglas-Fairhurst who will be in conversation with his former student and now friend Natalie Haynes.

‘We all have trapdoors in our lives. Sometimes we jump off just in time... But sometimes we are unlucky. My own trapdoor was hidden in the consulting room of an Oxford neurologist,’ writes Robert.

When the trapdoor opened for Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, he plummeted into a world of MRI scans, a disobedient body and the crushing unpredictability of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. But, like Alice tumbling into Wonderland, his fall did something else. It took him deep into his own mind: his hopes, his fears, his loves and losses, and the books that would sustain, inform and nourish him as his life began to transform in ways he could never have imagined. From Kafka to Barbellion, this is a literary map of the journey from the kingdom of the well to the land of the sick, and forwards into a hopeful future. It’s an ode to great writing, to storytelling, to science and to the power of the imagination.

Doors open 7.10pm

Natalie Haynes


  • Ticket with signed book
  • Ticket for entry only