Manchester Libraries has partnered with The British Library to bring the Living Knowledge Network to libraries across the UK.
The Living Knowledge Network is a UK-wide partnership of national and public libraries created by the British Library to exchange knowledge and develop memorable experiences for public library users. We celebrate libraries as spaces of vital cultural significance. We livestream cultural events into libraries across the UK, so you can get a front-row seat for free no matter where you live.
But libraries have had to pause public events for now. So we’ve launched this digital platform to keep bringing you invigorating livestream events for free and showcase the highlights from our events archive. Here we can keep sharing knowledge and encouraging creativity, until we can get together again in person.
Resisting Self-Censorship, with Elif Shafak, Rachel Long, Jacqueline Woodson and Urvashi Butalia
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the resultant global Black Lives Matter protests, it has been clearer than ever before that the voices of some are prioritised to the exclusion of others. As part of Banned Books Week 2020 – an annual celebration of the freedom to read – the RSL, in partnership with British Library, Index on Censorship and English PEN, brings together a panel of writers who have committed to sharing their stories, to creating without compromise, and to inspiring others to do the same. Rachel Long, Elif Shafak, and Jacqueline Woodson explore what ‘freedom’ means in the culture of traditional publishing, and how writers today can change the future of literature. Chaired by Urvashi Butalia.
Stephen Fry in Conversation.
Live from the Union Chapel, London. In this special event in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Royal Society for Literature, actor, comedian and writer Stephen Fry discusses writing across forms – from sketch comedy to poetry, independently and in collaboration, written and performed – that has elevated him to the status of national treasure. Stephen grew up in a house with colossal bookcases filled with classic works of literature, and would use them as medicine cabinets to treat his childhood. He has remarked that writing is a ‘newer technology – only five or six thousand years old’ by which ‘we can change utterance into permanence’, and when once asked for writing advice, he responded: ‘the important thing to do for those who want to liberate their writing is to be able to let go of their self-consciousness, to allow the words to write for them.’ Presented in Partnership with the Royal Society of Literature and the British Library.
David Olusoga in Conversation: Black History Matters
The murder of George Floyd in the US reverberated around the world. It gave way to an explosion of protest, and a closer examination among historians of the systemic racism in the way the African diaspora is described. Cultural institutions around the world are examining their own legacy within the history of colonialism and imperialism. Join historian David Olusoga in conversation for his personal perspective on how we memorialise, teach and write about racism, and why black British history matters.
Chris Riddell’s Alice in Wonderland
‘What is the use of a book,’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversations?’ This event has both: live illustration from the multi-award winning writer and illustrator Chris Riddell, conversation and performances of iconic scenes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, like the tea party, by an amazing selection of actors. Passionate Wonderland fan Chris Riddell launches this new edition, a richly illustrated reimagining of the classic children’s story. Watch Chris illustrate characters live and hear him talk about why this book still captivates him today. This event will be filmed on location in the British Library, which holds the original manuscript of Lewis Carroll’s world famous story. Macmillan Children’s Books is presenting this brand new edition in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Tenniel, the original illustrator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
PEN Pinter Prize: Linton Kwesi Johnson
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.