David Harewood in conversation with Gary Younge

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This event took place on: 18 October 2021.

CW: This event contains discussion of mental illness and racial slurs.

Actor and writer David Harewood and Gary Younge discuss the themes of David’s new book Maybe I Don’t Belong Here, a deeply personal exploration of the duality of growing up both Black and British, and of recovery from crisis. This event stages a rallying cry to examine the systems and biases that continue to shape our society.

RSL 200 is the Royal Society of Literature’s bicentenary event series bringing together some of the world's best-known writers to explore the impact of literature on their lives. This event is available to the audiences and users of public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network.

You can purchase David Harewood's book 'Maybe I Don't Belong Here' from the British Library bookshop here, or borrow from your local library.

Speakers

Gary Younge

Writer and Broadcaster

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World Book Night: Kazuo Ishiguro and Kate Mosse

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Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the world’s most treasured and celebrated contemporary fiction authors, whose award-winning novels include Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day. He appears in conversation with no. 1 bestselling author Kate Mosse to discuss Klara and the Sun, his first book since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, in this special event presented by The Reading Agency and the British Library. The event also marks the 10th anniversary of World Book Night, The Reading Agency’s national celebration of books and reading.

Klara and the Sun is an intensely moving and beautiful exploration of human connection and creativity in the face of loneliness and advanced technologies. Ishiguro looks at our changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

He talks to Kate Mosse about the inspiration for the novel, and the power of books and reading to bring people together and change lives.

World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency and celebrated each year on 23 April, the UNESCO International Day of the Book. World Book Night brings people from all backgrounds together for one reason – to inspire others to read more. Since 2011, organisations and individuals have held events up and down the country to celebrate the difference that reading makes to their lives. Organisations can volunteer to hand out books from our annual list to people who don’t read for pleasure or own books. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of World Book Night and is in partnership with Specsavers. Find out more at www.worldbooknight.org

Bessie Smith: Jackie Kay in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo

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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.

<b>Purchase your copy of Jackie Kay's <i>Bessie Smith</i> <a href="https://pagesofhackney.co.uk/webshop/product/bessie-smith-jackie-kay/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a></b>

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