Sylvia Pankhurst: Natural Born Rebel

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This event took place on: 27 October 2020.

Sylvia Pankhurst was born into one of Britain's most famous families but she always carved her own way. As well as a militant campaigner for women's suffrage, she was a gifted artist and orator, a designer, newspaper editor and radical visionary.

Her activism landed her in Holloway prison where she was tortured, and her notes from this episode are featured in our upcoming Unfinished Business exhibition. Pankhurst's life of campaigning led her to America, Soviet Russia, Scandinavia, Europe and East Africa.
Biographer Rachel Holmes shares her adventures from inside the British Library’s Unfinished Business exhibition space, in conversation with Shami Chakrabarti.

This event celebrates Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, a UK-wide exhibition by the British Library and public libraries.

Speakers

Shami Chakrabarti

Politician and Human Rights Activist

LGBT+ History Month 2021 Launch: Body, Mind and Spirit

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This event took place on: 6 November 2020. 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.

Bessie Smith: Jackie Kay in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo

Join us here live: Wednesday 31 March. 19.30.
This event will be live-captioned.

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>

Forward Prizes for Poetry 2020

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This event took place on: 25 October 2020.

The Forward Prizes rank among the year’s great literary celebrations: this event is unmissable for anyone interested in the best new poetry published today. Hear poems from each of the 15 shortlisted poets and find out who has won the most coveted poetry prizes in the British Isles.

Shortlist for Best Collection: £10,000
Caroline Bird, Natalie Diaz, Vicki Feaver, David Morley, Pascale Petit

Shortlist for Best First Collection: £5,000
Ella Frears, Will Harris, Rachel Long, Nina Mingya Powles, Martha Sprackland

Shortlist for Best Single Poem: £1,000
Fiona Benson, Malika Booker, Regi Claire, Valzhyna Mort, Sarah Tsiang

Poems of desire – for a voice, for breathing space, for bodies missed or missing – are a recurring theme in this year’s shortlists. They celebrate a world whose inhabitants are spurred to song by the need to assert their own existence and history. They speak of flesh, muscle and all forms of touch, from the knock-out blows of boxer Tyson Fury to lovers’ kisses.

Several poets follow threads of language to places as various as the Dale Farm traveller site, a palace-prison in 16th-century Spain, an East London housing estate and the Mojave reservation of southern California, while others make vivid the stuff of everyday life: birdsong, lawnmowers, petrol stations.

The Forward Prizes judges, Alexandra Harris, Kim Moore, Roger Robinson, David Wheatley and Leaf Arbuthnot read over 208 poetry collections, and 205 single poems entered from journals, to find the most exciting poetry published across the UK and Ireland.

The Prizes, sponsored since 1992 by Bookmark, the global content marketing and communications agency, have a reputation for heralding fresh new voices as well as honouring famous names. Shortlisted and commended poems are brought together in the annual Forward Book of Poetry anthologies.

This event is available to the audiences and users of public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network.

James Baldwin's America and its Urgent Lessons for Today

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With Eddie S Glaude Jr. A searing indictment of racial injustice in America, inspired by the life and work of James Baldwin.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr of Princeton University follows the increasingly politicised journey of 'the poet of the revolution' James Baldwin, in the years from The Fire Next Time in 1963 to No Name in the Street in 1972. This was the time of the Civil Rights Movement, when attempts to force a confrontation with the truth of America's racism was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In his new book Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Today, Glaude suggests we can find hope and guidance for our own times, a new era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography with history, memoir and trenchant analysis of our moment, Begin Again bears witness to the difficult truth of race in America. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to bring about a more just future.

Glaude will be in conversation with Rob Berkeley.

Click here to purchase <a href="https://pagesofhackney.co.uk/webshop/product/begin-again-james-baldwins-america-and-its-urgent-lessons-for-today-eddie-s-glaude-jr/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><b>Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today<b></b></a>

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