About The Facilitators
Director of the Paris and London Literary Salons
Toby Brothers (MA Education, Literature, Counseling Psychology) conceived of, developed and leads the Literary Salon in London and Paris.
Her experience includes teaching literary seminars in areas that range from creative writing to women’s literature and film, world religions and wisdom traditions, African American Literature to Shakespeare for adults, secondary and primary school students.
She has worked as a master teacher and a mentor teacher and has over 25 years of innovative teaching and seminar experience in France, the USA, Japan and beyond.
Her post-graduate studies include advanced degrees in education, literature and psychology and a broad expanse of humanities and world religions course work.
Mark Cwik has been leading discussions that introduce adults of all backgrounds to the world’s greatest books for over twenty years in Chicago, Toronto and London. He was trained as a discussion facilitator while at the Great Books Foundation in Chicago and has been a passionate advocate for lifelong liberal learning since attending St. John’s College, Santa Fe and the University of Chicago’s Basic Program in Liberal Education.
Mark offers Salon studies on works across the Western intellectual tradition, with special strength in texts from Classical Greece and Rome, and Biblical and religious texts. He is equally comfortable with classic and modern novels, short stories, drama, and works of political science, philosophy and natural science.
In addition to his work with the London Literary Salon, Mark leads seminars for Toronto-based Classical Pursuits, where he is also the Education Manager, and for OnlineGreatBooks.com.
He is also an accomplished woodworker and was for 15 years in Chicago a self-employed designer and maker of bespoke, contemporary furniture.
Playwright Marcy Kahan was born in Montreal, educated at Oxford and in Paris and is now resident in London.
She is the author of the BBC screenplay, Antonia & Jane, a stage version of When Harry Met Sally [Haymarket Theatre] and over thirty original plays for BBC radio. Her R4 dramatisations include Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, Tolstoy’s War & Peace and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Recent credits include Ninety Minutes With Stanislavski [Radio 3, 2017]; the R4 romantic comedy series Lunch [BBC Audio Award – Best-Scripted Comedy 2015]; and Oscar Wilde: The Warhol Years [R4, 2018].
She has led workshops on writing at Birkbeck, RADA, the Actors Centre and the BBC. She is the Autumn Co-Ordinator of NYU in London’s Literary Club.
Alison Cable (BA, MA English Literature) was a university lecturer in the US before moving to London a decade ago. She taught Contemporary Literature, Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum, and Critical and Analytical Thinking at several east coast Universities. She has a particular interest in the therapeutic nature of shared reading, with a focus on young adults.
From the poetry of Emily Dickinson to the short stories of Flannery O’Connor to contemporary literary fiction, her interests are wide-ranging but focus on how reading literature together can reduce feelings of isolation, slow us down, lead to increased empathy, and be an antidote to the demands of social media.
While in London, Alison has volunteered as a primary school librarian, written a novel for young adults, and regularly attends the London Literary Salon. She’s currently doing coursework in counselling, as well as volunteering as a group leader for The Reader Organisation.
Basil Lawrence (BA Hons English Literature, MA Creative Writing) is the author of two novels including At the Edge of the Desert to be published by Penguin in 2021. He’s run a series of short story discussions with Jungian psychoanalysts at Waterstones, Piccadilly; and chaired an examination of Antoine Watteau’s Fête Galante in a Wooded Landscape at the Wallace Collection. He studied at the Nabokov Museum’s International Summer School under Profs Julian Connolly and Alexander Dolinin in the old Nabokov family home in Saint Petersburg.
When not working, he enjoys reading and discovering London on foot.
Geoff Brown was born on the South coast of England, in Bournemouth. He spent an early part of his childhood in Malta, and has lived in Hertfordshire since the mid-1970s. His interests range across literature, languages, cinema and music. His doctoral thesis on the work of the French director Claire Denis explored issues of relationality as mediated through the use of music in film.
He is a particular admirer of Henry James and Marcel Proust, and also counts Anthony Trollope, Don DeLillo, Henri de Balzac, Marie NDiaye and Joyce Carol Oates among his favourite authors. His facilitation style combines humour with carefully curated knowledge to challenge assumptions and illuminate the literature.
Geoff has played an active part in London salons – including trailblazing studies of Faulkner, Joyce and Woolf. Geoff’s research and resource-distillation work has also contributed to studies on Javier Marìas and Proust. He is co-facilitator of the studies of Toni Morrrison’s Jazz, and is developing a study on transgressional issues which would bring into conversation Faulkner’s novel Sanctuary and Denis’ film Les salauds (The Bastards).