Larissa MacFarquhar

Strangers Drowning

County Buildings
In person & Online event
Mon 27 Sep
16:00 UK
£0.00 to £5.00

For this live audience event, the interviewer will be in the venue with the speaker joining by video link. The event will also be simultaneously streamed on our website. Online access is free but please pay what you can. Booking for online events is optional, but by reserving an online ticket you will receive a reminder beforehand.

Special offer: £5 tickets will be redeemable against a copy of the book when purchased during the event.

What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment and tells their deeply intimate stories; their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their joys and defeats and wrenching dilemmas. We honour generosity and high ideals, but when we call people do-gooders there is skepticism in it, even hostility. Why do moral people make us uneasy? Between her stories, MacFarquhar threads a lively history of the literature, philosophy, social science, and self-help that have contributed to a deep suspicion of do-gooders in Western culture. Through its sympathetic and beautifully vivid storytelling, Strangers Drowning confronts us with fundamental questions about what it means to be human. In a world of strangers drowning in need, how much should we help, and how much can we help? Is it right to care for strangers even at the expense of those we are closest to? 

About the author: Larissa MacFarquhar has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. Her subjects have included John Ashbery, Barack Obama, and Noam Chomsky, among many others. Previously she was a senior editor at Lingua Franca and an advisory editor at The Paris Review. MacFarquhar lives in New York.

 She is one of the judges of this year’s Anne Brown Essay Prize for Scotland.

Sponsored by Purple Box Productions


Strangers Drowning is available from the Wigtown Book Festival shop HERE

Wigtown Book Festival Events

This year's programme is a combination of physical and digital events. Please ensure you book correctly. Digital events will stream through the homepage of wigtownbookfestival.com with young adult events streaming through the YA page.

Unless otherwise stated, events will last between 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Full Terms and Conditions for attending this year's Festival in person can be found on our website.

Asking questions
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