A Spotlight on Herstory

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 here

Bessie Smith: Jackie Kay in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo

This event will be available to watch again soon.

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>

On This Day She: Putting Women Back Into History One Day At A Time

Watch again now.
This event took place on: 8 February 2021.

Join writers and co-founders of @OnThisDayShe, Jo Bell, Tania Hershman and Ailsa Holland as they celebrate the release of their new book and some incredible women from history.

@OnThisDayShe was launched on Twitter in January 2018 with one aim: to put women back into history, one day at a time. Women from across the world, across all time periods, from arts and sciences to politics, war, journalism, crime and invention. Featuring a different woman every day, not necessarily on her birthday or the day she died but on a day that was important to her. The day she qualified as the first doctor in her country, say, or she patented her first invention. Now with over 27,000 followers, Jo, Tania and Ailsa release their accompanying book, exploring intriguing topics and issues from wearing trousers to the language of history, the importance of tea, and even public toilets for women. With plenty of incredible facts, we share the stories of some important and influential women from history. Introduced by Isobel Church, the actor who voices the On This Day She audiobook.

This event celebrates Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, a UK-wide exhibition by the British Library and public libraries. Event hosted in partnership with Warwickshire Libraries and the West Midlands Readers' Network.

Order your copy of 'On This Day She' by clicking <a href="http://hyperurl.co/OTDS" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>

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