Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara will host author Nick Hornby for a conversation with writer Jessica Anya Blau at 6 p.m. Jan. 31.
Mr. Hornby’s book, “Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius,” is about art, creativity and the unlikely similarities between Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and modern American rock star Prince.
Equipped with a fan’s admiration and his trademark humor and wit, Mr. Hornby invites readers into his latest obsession: the cosmic link between two unlikely artists, geniuses in their own rights, spanning race, class and centuries.
When Prince’s 1987 record “Sign o’ the Times” was rereleased in 2020, the iconic album came with dozens of songs that weren’t on the original — Prince was endlessly prolific, recording 102 songs in 1986 alone.
In awe, Mr. Hornby began to wonder, Who else ever produced this much? Who else ever worked that way? He soon found his answer in Victorian novelist and social critic Charles Dickens, who died more than 100 years before Prince began making music.
Examining the two artists’ personal tragedies, social statuses, boundless productivity and other parallels, both humorous and haunting, Mr. Hornby shows how these two unlikely men from different centuries “lit up the world.”
Mr. Hornby is the author of seven bestselling novels as well as several works of nonfiction. Many of his books have been turned into successful films and TV series.
He has been nominated for an Oscar twice for his screenplays of “An Education” and “Brooklyn.” His 10-part short-form TV series, “State of the Union,” directed by Stephen Frears, was recently broadcast by Sundance TV and the BBC and won three Emmys. He lives in London.
Ms. Blau was born in Boston and raised in Southern California. Her novels have been featured on NBC’s “Today,” CNN and NPR, and in Cosmo, Vanity Fair, Bust, Time Out, Oprah Summer Reads and other national publications.
Ms. Blau’s short stories and essays have been published in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies. She co-wrote the script for “Love on the Run,” starring Frances Fisher and Steve Howey.
A resident of New York, she sometimes works as a ghost writer and has taught writing at Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College and The Fashion Institute of Technology.