Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a classic example of defied convention. It presented a new voice, fully convinced of her defiance and standing up against adult tyranny. Acclaimed author Sara Collins, producer of the 2011 film adaptation Alison Owen, Victorian Literature expert Professor Sally Shuttleworth and critic Alex Clark discuss the spirit of rebellion found in its pages and what it is to be a child. This event was livestreamed from the British Library on 14 January 2020 to public libraries across the UK. This event contains discussion of sexual harassment within the novel so parental discretion is advised.
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This event took place on: 31 October, 17.00.
Black Lives Matter has focused attention on the impact of lived experiences of racism. But to what extent has anti-racism been incorporated into the fight for gender equality? This panel explores the legacy of racism on feminist movements, and how women of colour have challenged understandings of gender. How can we better acknowledge different experiences of oppression, and overlapping identities?
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: 12 October. 19.30 - 20.30. Linton Kwesi Johnson is presented with the 2020 PEN Pinter Prize.
The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by the charity English PEN, which defends freedom of expression and celebrates literature. In memory of Nobel-Laureate playwright Harold Pinter, the prize is awarded annually to a writer of outstanding literary merit resident in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize in Literature speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination... to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’.
Linton Kwesi Johnson was chosen by this year’s judges; The Guardian’s Associate Editor for Culture Claire Armitstead; Dialogue Books Publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove, and author Max Porter. The judges said of Johnson: ‘Linton Kwesi Johnson is a poet, reggae icon, academic and campaigner, whose impact on the cultural landscape over the last half century has been colossal and multi-generational. His political ferocity and his tireless scrutiny of history are truly Pinteresque, as is the humour with which he pursues them.’
The prize will be shared with an International Writer of Courage: a writer who is active in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety and liberty, selected by Linton Kwesi Johnson from a shortlist of international cases supported by English PEN. The co-winner will be announced at the event, where they will accept their prize alongside Linton Kwesi Johnson.
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: 20 November, 19.00.
For this in conversation event, novelists Tracy Chevalier, Nikita Lalwani and Stephanie Scott will read extracts from their latest works, followed by a panel discussion led by journalist Yvette Huddleston.
The authors will discuss their books and their own experiences and how they chime with the historical and contemporary themes and figures featured in our current exhibition, Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights. The event finishes with a Q&A session between the panel and the online audience.
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This event took place on: 6 November. 19.30.
Each year ‘Five Faces’ are chosen to represent the theme of LGBT+ History Month. To mark the 2021 launch, join us for an evening celebrating the lives of the five selected icons: Maya Angelou, Mark Ashton, Michael Dillion, Lily Parr and Mark Weston.
Museum expert Dan Vo is in conversation with representatives from cultural organisations across the country on the theme for 2021 – Body, Mind and Spirit – and explores how these individuals embody the concept.
Maya Angelou was a renowned poet and internationally recognised civil rights activist, her works were often taught in schools in Britain. Story presented by Haringey Vanguard Projects and freelance historian and writer Kamara Dyer Simms who has been published by Gal-Dem.
Mark Ashton has been immortalised by the award-winning 2014 film Pride. Mark was a community activist and founded Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners in 1984. Story presented by LGSM and Mike Jackson, Co-Founder and Secretary of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners.
Michael Dillon dubbed Bristol’s most famous trans resident. Dillon was a British physician and the first Western European to be ordained a Buddhist monk. Story presented by Bristol M Shed and author Cheryl Morgan, Co-Chair of OutStories Bristol.
Lily Parr was an English professional women’s association football player and is the only woman to be an inductee in the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum. Her story is presented by the National Football Museum and Lou Englefeld, Director of Pride Sports UK.
Mark Weston known as the Devonshire Wonder, was one of the best field athletes in the 1920s and represented Britain in the international arena, including the Olympic Games. Story presented by University of Plymouth and Alan Butler, Co-Director of Pride in Plymouth.
LGBT+ History Month is an initiative by Schools OUT UK that focuses on the celebration and recognition of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, plus) people and culture, past and present; increasing the visibility of diverse LGBT+ histories, lives and their experiences. It has been celebrated every year in the UK since 2005.
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This event took place on: 1 October 2020.
Live from the Union Chapel, London.
In this special event in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Royal Society for Literature, actor, comedian and writer Stephen Fry talks to comedian and author Shappi Khorsandi about writing across forms – from sketch comedy to poetry, independently and in collaboration, written and performed – that has elevated him to the status of national treasure.
Stephen grew up in a house with colossal bookcases filled with classic works of literature, and would use them as medicine cabinets to treat his childhood. He has remarked that writing is a ‘newer technology – only five or six thousand years old’ by which ‘we can change utterance into permanence’, and when once asked for writing advice, he responded: ‘the important thing to do for those who want to liberate their writing is to be able to let go of their self-consciousness, to allow the words to write for them.’
Presented in Partnership with the Royal Society of Literature and the British Library. This event is available to the audiences and users of public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network.
We bring world-class speakers, emerging voices and inspirational debate to public libraries and the people who use them. We livestream compelling cultural events with libraries across the UK, so you can get a front-row seat for free no matter where you live.
As libraries have had to pause public events for now we’ve launched this website to keep bringing you captivating live events for free and showcase the highlights from our events archive. Here we can keep sharing knowledge and encouraging creativity, until we can get together again in person.
More information about the Living Knowledge Network and the British Library can be found here