Working with a team of talented women, the multi-award-winning comedian wanted to create something different to add to the mix of women’s magazines that were failing to inspire her. The result was Standard Issue Magazine, an online publication for all women. And men, too, if they fancied it. After their first year, millions of page views and having been shortlisted for a Book/Publishing award by comedy website Chortle, how does the future look? Hannah Dunleavy is the Deputy Editor.
This is a statement from the superstar author of How To Be A Woman about the world and the causes she cares about. It’s a compelling and hilarious rallying call for our times, tackling topics as pressing and diverse as reclaiming the word feminism, gaying up the Olympics, affordable housing, 1980s swearing, boarding schools and the reasons the internet is like a drunken toddler. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.
The inspiring and provocative writer and scholar talks about Juliet, Beatrice, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Ann Hathaway and the Dark Lady of the Sonnets with festival director Peter Florence.
“Centuries of writing and thinking about rape – as inflicted by men on women – have got us nowhere. There are those who, like Quentin Tarantino, think it is one of the most violent crimes in the world, and others for whom it is simply what happens when a woman endures sex she doesn’t want. Bestial or banal, a proven rape may carry a prison sentence of many years, even life, but very few rapes ever find their way into a court of law. The prosecution of a selected minority of cases seldom results in a conviction. The crucial issue is that of consent, which is thought by some to be easy to establish and by others as impossible. Rape statistics remain intractable. Again and again crime surveys tell us that one woman in five will experience sexual violence. Despite all efforts to root sexual assault out of workplaces and colleges, predatory individuals still inflict lasting damage with apparent impunity. The only result of desperate attempts to apportion blame and enact chastisement has been an erosion of the civil rights of the accused. Sexual assault does not diminish; relations between the sexes do not improve; litigation balloons. There has to be a better way.” Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Why, when so many women are involved in reading, writing and publishing books, are female writers so consistently under-represented in prizes and reviews? What can be done about the problem? Join Kamila Shamsie, author of six novels including the 2015 Bailey's Prize shortlisted A God in Every Stone and Orange Prize shortlisted Burnt Shadows and Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller to discuss the gender bias in literature as well as some radical solutions as to how to fix it. A National Conversation debate chaired by Chris Gribble (Writers’ Centre Norwich).
Follow the pre-event warm-up and discussion on writerscentrenorwich.org.uk/thenationalconversation.aspx and on Twitter using #NatConv.
Tharoor is a renowned politician and author of The Great Indian Novel, Pax Indica and From Midnight to the Millennium. His latest collection of essays, written during Narendra Modi’s premiership, is India Shastra: Reflections on the Nation in Our Time. Faleiro is author of Beautiful Thing and 13 Men – a report on gang rape in West Bengal. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
“They told you you need to be thin and beautiful. They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels. They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty. They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place. They told you that’s not for girls – take it as a compliment – don’t rock the boat – that’ll go straight to your hips. They told you beauty is on the inside, but you knew they didn’t really mean it. Well I’m here to tell you something different…” Hilarious, jaunty and bold, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project exposes the truth about the pressures surrounding body image, the false representations in media, the complexities of sex and relationships, the trials of social media and all the other lies they told us.
The star, screenwriter and producer of the television drama discuss the stories and period of Jennifer Worth’s best-selling books with Virginia Nicholson.
Webb has been a male for his whole life. As such, he has been a boy in a world of fighting, pointless posturing, and the insistence that he stop crying. As an adult man, he has enjoyed better luck, both in his work as the Webb half of Mitchell & Webb as an acclaimed actor and comedian, and as author of this part memoir, part call to arms.
From Farage and the future of Europe to feminism and family life. A stellar team of Telegraph talent – columnists Bryony Gordon and Mary Riddell, parliamentary sketch-writer Michael Deacon, and Defence Editor Con Coughlin – tackle the great (and not-so-great) issues of the day. Come along to have your say. Chaired by Emma Barnett, the Telegraph’s award-winning women’s editor.
The online Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day-to-day basis. It shares stories from women around the world. The founder reports on the last year’s work.
A trip through feminism, fashion, the righteous pursuit of a sexy vibe, and what it means to be a woman when you’re on the receiving end of modern media’s hilariously/bizarrely/insanely contradictory/restrictive/reductive/sometimes just straightforward revolting notions of womanhood. This isn’t about what women can’t do, this is a new-age guide to what you can do, what you can think, what you can wear and what you can wax. Gordon is the author of The Wrong Knickers.
Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself. This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something he feared might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge. The deceit ended when Gareth became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective.
McGowan is a film-maker, thought leader and agent of change. Brave is her raw, honest, and poignant memoir/manifesto: a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account of the rise of a millennial icon, fearless activist, and unstoppable force for change who is determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry, dismantle the concept of fame, shine a light on a multibillion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny, and empower people everywhere to wake up and be BRAVE. Laurie Penny is author of Bitch Doctrine and Everything Belongs to the Future.
IWA Director Auriol Miller, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, equality activist Shazia Awan and politics professor Laura McAllister discuss with Clare Critchley the challenges, frustrations and joys of being a woman in Welsh public life. This event launches issue 60 of the welsh agenda, magazine of the Institute of Welsh Affairs.
The makers of the fabulous BBC crime drama discuss the characters, setting and plot, and the handling of the rape story in the third series. Exec producer Elaine Collins and script exec Clare Batty are joined by Ann Cleeves, who writes both the Shetland and Vera novels on the which the television dramas are based, and Alison O’Donnell, who plays DS Alison “Tosh” McIntosh. Chaired by the Radio Times TV Editor, Alison Graham.
The Everyday Sexism founder reflects on the true scale of the challenge to our aspirations to equality. From Weinstein to Westminster, from banter to consent, and from the President’s Club to equal pay, she makes a passionate argument for stepping back, opening our eyes and allowing ourselves to address the bigger picture.
She talks to the writer Owen Sheers, author of The Men You'll Meet.
In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple open the island’s most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city just two families, the Georgious and the Özkans, remain. The best-selling author of The Thread, The Return and The Island introduces her new novel.
Dunlop weaves together the lives of fifteen women selected to work in Britain’s most secret organisation – Bletchley Park. It is their story, told in their voices; Tessa met and talked to 15 veterans, often visiting them several times. Firm friendships were made as their epic journey unfolded on paper.
The scale of female involvement in Britain during the Second World War was unmatched in any other country. From 8 million working women just over 7,000 were hand-picked to work at Bletchley Park and its outstations and soon they outnumbered the men three to one. Dunlop talks to publisher and QI elfmaster John Mitchinson.
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown-up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. Alderton’s captivating memoir is about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.
Why is the human female the only female animal to have curves, and how do these curves rule our lives by influencing not only sexual selection but also social hierarchy and self-image? The Clinical Veterinary Anatomist at the University of Cambridge applies the science of evolutionary biology and cutting-edge psychology to the female shape. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
From Chilean revolutionaries and Russian punks to Iranian journalists, one of the most vocal and tenacious campaigners of her generation introduces inspiring stories from all around the world. Women are reinventing what it means to be female in cultures where power, privilege or basic freedoms are all too often equated with being male.
Is equality law working to deliver equality for women? If not, what’s it going to take? Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. Nimko Ali is a social activist, an FGM survivor and campaigner, co-founder of Daughters of Eve. Journalist and writer Sonia Faleiro is the author of Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars and 13 Men.
The frontline photographer discusses her memoir of post-9/11 photo-journalism and shows her pictures. She travels with purpose and bravery, photographing the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.