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This event took place on Tuesday 24th November 2020
Gloria Steinem has been called the ‘world’s most famous feminist’. As a young New York journalist, her investigations of contraception, abortion and the Playboy Club made her name amid the changing society of the 1960’s and she has has travelled the world ever since to support the voices and lives of women. At this special event she talks to Zeinab Badawi about her life and activism about families, relationships, ageing, work, laughter, politics and revolution.
This event celebrates Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, a UK-wide exhibition by the British Library and public libraries.
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This event took place on Wednesday 7 October 2020
The murder of George Floyd in the US reverberated around the world. It gave way to an explosion of protest, and a closer examination among historians of the systemic racism in the way the African diaspora is described. Cultural institutions around the world are examining their own legacy within the history of colonialism and imperialism. Join historian David Olusoga in conversation for his personal perspective on how we memorialise, teach and write about racism, and why black British history matters.
This event is available to the audiences and users of public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network.
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This event took place on: 22 September 2021.
Can we reimagine our relationship with nature and protect the future? Join the Climate Imagination Fellows, Climate Fiction writers from around the world, to find out. As Glasgow prepares to host the UN Climate Conference (COP26), our panel explores the crucial role of imagination in the fight against climate change. With a special appearance from prize-winning author Amitav Ghosh.
How can we marshal our collective imagination, accelerate the global transformations required by COP26 and move towards a sustainable way of life? How can we get beyond dystopian visions of climate chaos and focus on more positive, equitable and community-led futures?
With roots in science fiction, Climate Fiction or ‘Cl-Fi’ is now expanding across genres and styles from poetry to thrillers and more experimental work. This vital area of contemporary fiction grapples with climate science, art, politics and technology, seeking to reinvent the way we envisage tomorrow. At this special event Climate Imagination Fellows: Libia Brenda, Hannah Onoguwe and Vandana Singh share stories that bring the future into the present. They will reflect on the essential role of storytelling in thinking through the consequences of our collective decisions and charting a path towards the futures we want to build together.
Chaired by journalist, author and cultural commentator Claire Armistead.
Watch the full length interview with Amitav Ghosh here.
Create your own 'Postcard from the Future' here.
Find out more about the Centre for Science and the Imagination here.
Part of the British Library's environment event series, The Natural Word, which celebrates the underrepresented voices harnessing the power of imagination to change the world.
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This event took place on Thursday 31st March 2021
The British Library and Faber Social present a celebration of Bessie Smith, pioneering blues singer and one of the biggest stars of the 1920s and 30s.
As a young black girl growing up in Glasgow, writer and poet Jackie Kay found in Bessie someone with whom she could identify and who she could idolise. Kay talks to award winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo about her new book on Bessie's life, which mixes enthralling biography with fiction, poetry and prose.
Plus a selection of Bessie Smith’s songs performed by special guest singer Nona Hendryx, most famously of the group Labelle.
Bessie’s life was as tempestuous as it was extraordinary. Born in Tennessee in 1894 and orphaned by the age of nine, Smith sang on street corners before becoming a big name in travelling shows alongside the likes of Ma Rainey. In 1923 she made her first recording for a new start-up called Columbia Records. It sold 780,000 copies.
Smith’s life was notoriously difficult: she drank pints of ‘bathtub gin’, got into violent fist fights, spent huge sums of money and had passionate love affairs with men and women. She once single-handedly fought off a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
Her gorgeous and powerful voice, unapologetic songs and bold personality have been an inspiration to many ever since.
Purchase your copy of Jackie Kay's Bessie Smith here
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This event took place on Thursday 24 June 2021
A stellar line-up celebrates the publication of ten new children’s stories.
Join children’s writers and illustrators Philip Ardagh, Sita Bramachari, Alexis Deacon, Laura Dockrill, Jamila Gavin, Jay Hulme, Jane Ray, Chris Riddell, David Roberts, Marcus Sedgwick and others, for an exhilarating mixed-bill of performances, readings, illustration and conversation to celebrate the publication of 10 Stories to Make a Difference.
10 Stories is a limited edition collection of 10 inclusion-led illustrated titles for young readers of all ages, giving a platform to diverse new writers and illustrators and untold stories by well-known authors. The stories feature characters of colour, with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ themes. The event includes a panel conversation on LGBTQ+ visibility in children's books.
Published by national children’s literature development agency Pop Up, 10 Stories involved collaborations with 12 publishers and 20 writers and illustrators – nine making their debut, alongside established names who donated their work.
Pop up is a not-for-profit community interest company with a mission to transform lives through literature, especially through working with people in deprived places and challenging circumstances. Pop Up produces transformative programmes with schools, communities and writers and illustrators at every stage in their careers.
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This event took place on Wednesday 29 September 2021.
Meet poets at the frontlines of protest movements fighting for the right to speak freely and without fear of persecution.
Poetry is frequently used as a tool in protest movements to inspire, unite, and mobilise support. From Black Lives Matter and women’s liberation to protest movements in Myanmar and Afghanistan, poetry holds the power to gather crowds during a rally, or grab attention online. Poets can offer support and guidance in the most challenging, tragic or dangerous situations. Join Myanmarese-British poet ko ko thett and poet and scholar Dr Choman Hardi for a live poetry reading and conversation about the power of poetry in protest movements.
In celebration of Banned Books Week 2021 with the theme “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us,” Index on Censorship and the British Library invite you to explore the role of poetry in protest. What role does poetry play in protest movements? And can poetry be a form of protest in its own right?