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Toby Brothers

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

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.

Marcy Kahan

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

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

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

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).

Jane Wymark ( BA Hons Drama Birmingham University) has worked extensively as an actor on stage and screen. Her early career included seasons at various provincial repertory theatres playing a variety of roles – from Bianca in Taming of the Shrew to Irina in Three Sisters and a version of Lucrezia Borgia in David Hare and Howard Brenton’s resetting of the Borgia dynasty in 1970s Nottingham. She played Morwenna in the original Poldark series on BBC; and Ophelia to Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet at the Old Vic and on a world tour which included Denmark and Shanghai.

After a five-year break living abroad (Dhaka and Copenhagen) Jane returned to acting and amongst a number of roles is probably best known for playing Joyce Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. She has also run drama workshops in schools for the National Theatre education department, worked as a continuity announcer for BBC television and Radio 4, and as a tutor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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I would recommend courses led by Toby to anyone who wants to look at a text in detail in a study group
I was certainly surprised at how much I was thrown off balance by these two astounding writers…I look forward to returning for more
We all came to the group with different backgrounds and interests but Mark has skillfully guided us through a stimulating programme of Greek literature.
I always leave the meetings with a much broader understanding of what we are reading than when I arrived
Everyone feels they get heard and therefore that each of us has a contribution to make
In all of the courses I have attended I have felt a bond within the group, and this contributes significantly to the quality of the discussions
Lovely, intimate groups with in-depth discussions, lots of learning, and friendships are made for life there
I’ve read things I’d never dared read before.  I’ve made new friends and met really interesting people.
On facilitation
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What’s coming up?

september 2020

14sep7:00 pmToni Morrison's A Mercy7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Two weeks

14sep7:30 pmPale Fire by Vladimir NabokovTen-meeting VIRTUAL study7:30 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Three months

16sep5:00 pmSodom & Gomorrah -- Volume IV of Proust's In Search of Lost Time5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Three months

22sep2:00 pmHENRY JAMES: The Europeans and Daisy Miller2:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Three weeks

22sep5:00 pmHamlet by William Shakespeare with Jane Wymark5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six Weeks

october 2020

05oct5:00 pmAbsalom, Absalom! by William FaulknerSeven-Meeting Virtual Salon5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

05oct7:00 pmWomen of Greek DramaSIX-MEETING VIRTUAL STUDY7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six Weeks

09oct(oct 9)5:00 pmHenry James in Rye: A Portrait of a Lady Weekend Retreat**Salon Full**5:00 pm The Mermaid Inn Rye SussexType Of Study:Literature,TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Weekend

22oct12:00 pmMiddlemarch by George Eliot**STUDY FULL***12:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

november 2020

05nov4:00 pmTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston4:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:One day,Three weeks

january 2021

12jan12:00 pmUlysses by James Joyce: First-timers Afternoon and Evening options12:00 pm Kentish Town, LondonType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six months

12jan7:45 pmUlysses Second Tour: Evening Sessions January 20217:45 pm Kentish Town, LondonType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six months

april 2021

14apr(apr 14)6:00 pmThe Years by Virginia Woolf Five-day study in St Ives *NEW DATES*Immersive Study of Woolf's family saga in her beloved Cornwall6:00 pm St Ives, CornwallType Of Study:Literature,TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Five days

may 2021

02may(may 2)12:00 pmHomer's Odyssey in Greece: One-week immersionNew Dates12:00 pm Island of Agistri, GreeceType Of Study:TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Eight Days

29may11:00 amReading the Body: Salon and Yoga retreat in Umbria DATE CHANGE11:00 am Umbria, ItalyType Of Study:TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One Week

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