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Book launch, readings, pictures, drinks 

The Senate Room at 6pm and then the Hellenic and Roman Library, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Catullus, the ancient Roman poet of tormented intelligence and romantic versatility, is appearing in a new illustrated translation. What are we to make of the switch of the title, who flickers between dominance and submission? Isobel Williams will read from and discuss Switch: The Complete Catullus

In addition, guest reader Dr Maureen Almond will read from her new Teesside versions, Swinging Catullx – ‘sharply observed and direct’, ‘salty, vulgar and entertaining’. 

Isobel’s experience of drawing live performance in fetish clubs inspired her to set Catullus in a context of Japanese rope bondage (shibari) to reflect his voluntary emotional enslavement. 

This book is the successor to her half-complete Catullus: Shibari Carmina (2021). Critics called the earlier book ‘explosive and impactful’, ‘one of the most exciting translation volumes of recent years’, ‘lyrical, funny, engaging, and insightful’, ‘a bracingly foul, but also a shrewd and funny Catullus.’ 

Isobel illustrates her book with shibari drawings (examples here). The readings in the Senate Room will be followed by a view of her small exhibition, Catullus Bound (pictures and books, throughout the autumn term), in the lobby of the Hellenic and Roman Library. There will be drinks in the Library where signed books from both authors will be available to buy. 

The readings will start promptly at 6pm. Advance booking is essential. 

Please book early as places are limited. This event will not be live-streamed or recorded. 

This event is free, but we welcome voluntary donations to the Hellenic and Roman Library: