Pride Before Pride

Join us here live: Monday 14 June, 19:30.

The story of the Gay Liberation Front Youth Group's central London march in August 1971.

On 28 August 1971, the year before the first London Pride March, members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) Youth Group organised the first LGBTQ+ public march in the UK. Beginning with a mass gathering in Hyde Park, GLF Youth Group and allies marched through central London to their rally point of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales for men over the age of 21, but the age of consent for heterosexuals was 16. The GLF Youth Group used the GLF newspaper to articulate their Declaration of Youth Group Rights and called LGBTQ to join the march through Central London.

The British Library brings together participants in the first public march in the UK by LGBTQ+ people and instigators of UK Black Pride, to reflect on the meaning of Pride and community.

Gay Liberation Front was founded in October 1970 by students Aubrey Walter and Bob Mellors after encountering the American gay liberation movement at the Black Panther Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in post-Stonewall Philadelphia (1970).

PEN Pinter Prize: Linton Kwesi Johnson

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This event took place on: 12 October 2020.

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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