Join us here live: Wednesday 29 September, 18.30 - 19.30.
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?
Writers Ben Okri, David Hare and Samira Ahmed consider walls in literature and in our lives; physical, political, societal and spiritual. This event was livestreamed from the British Library on 23 September 2019 to public libraries across the UK as part of Banned Books Week, the celebration of the freedom to read. This event took place in partnership with the British Library, The Royal Society of Literature, English PEN, Free Word, Hachette UK, Index on Censorship, Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service, Libraries Connected, Media Diversified and The Publisher’s Association.
Watch again now.
This event took place on: 28 October 2020.
‘There are years that ask questions and years that answer.’ – Zora Neale Hurston
Over a career that spanned more than 30 years, Zora Neale Hurston published four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, and several essays, articles and plays. Today, her work unites readers across the world, yet she died penniless, buried in an unmarked grave.
Black Girl’s Book Club co-founders Natalie Carter and Melissa Cummings-Quarry – who cite Neale Hurston as the ‘the patron saint of Black women’ – chair a conversation with poets Jackie Kay and Salena Godden about Hurston’s writing life, and how she has become regarded one of the most significant Black woman writers of the 20th century.
Presented in association with the Royal Society of Literature. This event celebrates Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, a UK-wide exhibition by the British Library and public libraries.
How do you tell the story of a recipe? A recipe is so much more than a set of instructions; it is a story, an experience waiting to happen. We explore the role of voice, narrative and storytelling in cookery books with three fantastic food writers; Nigella Lawson, Ella Risbridger and Bee Wilson. This event was livestreamed from the British Library on 8 April 2019 to public libraries across the UK.
Join us here: Wednesday 21 July, 19:30 - 20:30.
Poetry and women’s stories from Newcastle. Meet Newcastle based poets, Degna Stone, Ellen Moran and Sky Hawkins and hear their new poetry inspired by the British Library exhibition Unfinished Business. From bodily autonomy and the right to education, to self-expression and protest, the exhibition explores how feminist activism in the UK has its roots in the complex history of women’s rights.
Dive in to the poets’ explorations in to the intersection of class and feminism, body image in mainstream media and creating a manifesto for the seventh generation.
Despite the disruption of pandemic, the three brilliant poets have been working across Fenham, East and West End with branch libraries and organisations such as Children’s Society Women’s Group and Tyneside Women and Girls to capture stories that inspire their newly commissioned poetry.
Leading poetry producers Poet in the City and the British Library present this special event as part of their Collections in Verse collaboration.
You can explore more Unfinished Business events <a href="http://www.living-knowledge-network.co.uk/unfinished_business" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>
Watch again now.
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.