Bret Easton Ellis at the Southbank Centre this week: How to get tickets
Bret Easton Ellis has been getting cancelled since long before the phrase “cancel culture” existed. His third novel, American Psycho, was so controversial it was dropped at the eleventh hour by his publisher and was subsequently sold shrink-wrapped in some countries.
Then, in 2019, he published White, a meandering series of essays targeting things like safe-spaces, identity politics and the essential snowflakiness of millennials – just as the culture wars were reaching their zenith under Donald Trump.
After a 13 year wait, his latest novel is out. Called The Shards, it’s part hazy, ethereal account of the author’s own teenage years in Los Angeles, part serial-killer yarn complete with scenes that would make Patrick Bateman squirm.
The novel – which Ellis coyly claims is all more or less true – was first serialised as a podcast before finally being published in hardcover this month.
Ellis claims the novel would never have been published in its current form had he gone through the usual channels, which is probably not true given it’s both an excellent read in its own right, and very much more of the same good stuff from Ellis.
But this is why his appearance at the Southbank Centre on Thursday promises to be such so fascinating – he’s both candid and forever in character, living out his role as the fictional character Bret Easton Ellis.
He’ll be interviewed by Mary and Mr Eliot: A Sort of Love Story author and former Times literary editor Erica Wagner, which promises to be an exciting clash of minds.
Topics likely to be discussed include the future of publishing, the state of the “culture wars” and what it’s like being an enfant terrible who grew up.
• Bret Easton Ellis: The Shards is on at the Southbank Centre on Thursday 2 February at 7.30. Tickets, from £15, available from southbankcentre.co.uk