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In a broadcast talk, the actor and writer shares his latest novel, A Bright Ray of Darkness: a meditation on fame and celebrity, and the healing power of art.

Four-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke discusses and reads from his latest work as an author, and the first for almost 20 years. 

The novel’s narrator is a young man making his Broadway debut just as his marriage implodes. 

Through the wreckage, torment and whisky that follows, it’s the theatre that saves him, in particular, the challenges of performing Shakespeare and the leadership of a brilliant director.

Hawke shares his insights into this world, not only as a novelist but as an actor, writer and director for stage and screen.

A Bright Ray of Darkness is a novel full of rage and sex, longing and despair. 

It is also a passionate love letter to the world of theatre, written by a truly multidisciplinary artist. 

This event is presented in partnership with Southbank Centre.

  • A Bright Ray of Darkness

  • 'Ethan Hawke is a true writer and his duality as an artist is skilfully reflected in A Bright Ray of Darkness. Hawke circles, descends, and crawls into his characters skin. Grimy shadows pass over the footlights, into the bowels of the theatre, where a struggling actor, perhaps mirroring the writer, seeks the vine of redemption, and claws his way into becoming. Bright Ray is a riveting work.' PATTI SMITH
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    The first novel in nearly twenty years from the acclaimed actor/writer/director, A BRIGHT RAY OF DARKNESS is a book about art and love, fame and heartbreak -- a blistering story of a young man making his Broadway debut just as his marriage implodes.

    A bracing meditation on fame and celebrity, and the redemptive, healing power of art; a portrait of the ravages of disappointment and divorce; a poignant consideration of the rites of fatherhood and manhood; a novel soaked in rage and sex, longing and despair; and a passionate love letter to the world of theatre, A Bright Ray of Darkness showcases Ethan Hawke's gifts as a novelist as never before.

    Hawke's narrator is a young man in torment, disgusted with himself after the collapse of his marriage, still half-hoping for a reconciliation that would allow him to forgive himself and move on as he clumsily, and sometimes hilariously, tries to manage the wreckage of his personal life with whisky and sex. What saves him is the theatre: in particular, the challenge of performing Shakespeare in his Broadway debut under the leadership of a brilliant director. Searing, raw, and utterly transfixing, A Bright Ray of Darkness is a novel about shame and beauty and faith, and the moral power of art.

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