Pride Before Pride

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This event took place on Tuesday 14th June 2021

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+ people 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 2021: Tsitsi Dangarembga

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This event took place on Monday 11th Oct 2021 (19:30 - 20:30)

Zimbabwean novelist, playwright, and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga receives the prestigious 2021 PEN Pinter Prize and delivers her keynote address at a ceremony hosted by British Library and English PEN.

This event is available to the audiences and users of public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network. Watch last year's PEN Pinter Prize ceremony awarding Linton Kwesi Johnson here.

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, the Commonwealth or former 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’.

Tsitsi Dangarembga was chosen by this year’s judges: The Guardian’s Associate Editor for Culture Claire Armitstead; literary critic and Editor-at-large for Canongate, Ellah P Wakatama, and poet Andrew McMillan.

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. The co-winner, selected by Tsitsi Dangarembga from a shortlist of international cases supported by English PEN, is announced at the event.

This year's award ceremony is part of Common Currency, a year-long celebration of freedom of expression, creative campaigning, and the best literature the world has to offer to mark English PEN's centenary year. For more information visit: englishpen.org/commoncurrency

The PEN Pinter Prize is supported by the generosity of Ruth Maxted and The Blavatnik Family Foundation.

Forward Prizes for Poetry 2020

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This event took place on Sunday 25th 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.

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