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We bring world-class speakers, emerging voices and inspirational debate to public libraries and the people who use them. We livestream compelling cultural events with libraries across the UK, so you can get a front-row seat for free no matter where you live. Explore the website to watch our previous events and discover what we have coming up.

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World Book Night: Kazuo Ishiguro and Kate Mosse

Watch again now. 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

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>

Hay Festival: This Is How We Come Back Stronger

This event took place on: June 4, 8pm. Everything changed in spring 2020, when life around the world retreated behind closed doors and gender inequalities and systemic racism were brought to new and shocking prominence. Women of all backgrounds and experiences were disproportionately affected by the crisis. Essential debate and action was, for a time, silenced. Then we re-emerged in protest and started to rethink our fight for equality. So, what happens now? This book is a unique collection of essays, interviews, and fiction by feminist writers. In End State: 9 Ways in Which Society is Broken and how we fix it, James Plunkett argues that this can be a moment not of despair, but of historic opportunity – a chance to rethink, renew, and reform some of the most fundamental ways we organise society. Contributor Jess Phillips MP, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, is joined by comedian Francesca Martinez, activist and author Gina Miller, and James Plunkett, Executive Director of Citizens Advice. This event celebrates Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights, a UK-wide exhibition by the British Library and public libraries. BUY THE BOOK FOR THIS EVENT <a href="https://www.hayfestival.com/p-17593-this-is-how-we-come-back-stronger-feminist-writers-on-turning-crisis-into-change.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This Is How We Come Back Stronger</a> <a href="https://www.hayfestival.com/p-17662-end-state-9-ways-society-is-broken-and-how-we-can-fix-it.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">End State: 9 Ways Society is Broken and How We Fix It</a>

James Baldwin's America and its Urgent Lessons for Today

Watch again now. 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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