Lost in Lace
Designed to challenge our preconceptions of what lace can be and do, this exhibition includes large and often spectacular works in which spaces become fluid and thread creates entirely new boundaries. It is curated by Lesley Millar, professor of textile culture at the University for the Creative Arts, and features a number of acclaimed international artists whose work is being shown in the UK for the first time. Lost in Lace runs from 29 October to 19 February 2012 in the Gas Hall of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which is also putting its own lace collection on display for the first time. A "lace trail" will flag up the use of lace in portraits and other paintings.
What is the truth behind the shrill newspaper headlines about sex trafficking? Roadkill is a powerful, site-specific drama that deliberately avoids generalities and statistics, drawing instead on genuine testimonies to reveal what life is like for a young woman trapped in a world of brutality and danger. Although it starts and ends at Theatre Royal Stratford East, the performance includes a journey on a minibus to a nearby location, where vivid performances are combined with video and animation. A huge success at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (where it won an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award) and then in Paris, it can now be seen in London from 28 October to 20 November.
The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen
In 2008, crime writer Lindsay Ashford went to live in the village of Chawton, where Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life. Although she was planning a novel on a contemporary theme, she became intrigued by the fact that a former owner of a lock of hair preserved in the Jane Austen Museum had had it tested for arsenic. Recalling letters in which Austen had described her face as "black and white and every wrong colour", Ashford began to suspect that there might have been foul play and carried out extensive research in the library of Chawton House (once the home of Austen's brother). The results of her enquiries have been published as The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen. The novel will be launched at the library on 1 November with a talk about its historical background.
William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth
Throughout his life, William Morris returned to texts and stories such as the works of Chaucer, Norse sagas, Arthurian legends and Greek myths. This exhibition (28 October to 29 January 2012) explores these continuing fascinations by presenting a selection of his works arranged not by artistic media, but by the tales they tell. Highlights include five exquisite panels of the embroidered frieze of The Romaunt of the Rose, on display for the first time since conservation work was carried out by the Royal School of Needlework. Created in collaboration with the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (currently closed for refurbishment), the show inaugurates a new exhibition space at Two Temple Place, a striking neo-Gothic mansion built by William Waldorf Astor on the Embankment.
London and Nottingham
A number of events are being held to mark the publication of the latest issue of Granta magazine, devoted to the theme of horror. At Foyles' flagship London store (on 2 November), publisher Sigrid Rausing, Mark Doty and Will Self will explore Walt Whitman's correspondence with Bram Stoker, Dracula and the nature of blood. Doty will also discuss these themes at Gay's the Word the following evening. At the Nottingham launch at Waterstone's (1 November), Granta's online editor Ted Hodgkinson will discuss with Santiago Roncagliolo his investigation into the Shining Path, the Maoist guerrilla organisation in Peru, and the country's experience of living under the threat of terror. Jake and Dinos Chapman will explore the dark corners of the imagination in a Visions of Horror salon at the Hospital Club in London (4 November).