The Ways of London: Navigating London with Will Self, Museum of London (23rd March 2013)

Museum of London, Saturday 23 March, 7.00 – 8.00 PM

Developing a mental atlas of London is a crucial part of being a London black cab driver. Indeed, in order to earn their badge, it’s required that drivers pass ‘The Knowledge’ – a rigorous assessment process which entails memorising London’s streets and landmarks.

On Saturday 23 March, Will Self will be joined by Hugo Spiers, a neuroscientist from University College London, and Sebastien Groes, Senior Lecturer in Modern English Literature at Roehampton University, as they consider the extraordinary effects that learning ‘The Knowledge’ has on the human brain.

The talk follows Self’s participation in a project run by the Memory Network about ‘The Knowledge’ and his novel The Book of Dave, which also researches this phenomenon. Self talks with neuroscientist Hugo Spiers about this project, which included the neuroimaging of his brain, and the role that London plays in his writings. Together with Sebastian Groes they discuss the relationship between neuroscience and literature, and the effects of new technologies on our memory. The discussion includes a guided tour of Will Self’s brain.

This is a Memory Network event hosted by the Museum of London in collaboration with the Barbican and the Wellcome Trust as part of the ‘Wonder: art and science on the brain’ festival – a season of events for Spring 2013 that brings together the arts and neuroscience. More details are available at and

Tickets priced £8.00 (£5.00 concessions) are available from Museum of London.