1972 was a landmark year for the emerging women’s liberation movement. A time of great optimism and hope, it saw the birth of two great feminist institutions – Spare Rib and Virago Books. Both challenged the stereotyping and exploitation of women and played a key role in transforming the role of women in society. But fifty years on, how far have we come?
Join Carmen Callil, writer, publisher and founder of Virago, and Rosie Boycott, co-founder of Spare Rib, journalist and cross-bench peer to discuss this question with Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality, to discuss gender issues and where we stand on gender equality today.
In Fix the System, Not the Women, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and author of Men Who Hate Women Laura Bates debunks the myth that acts of violence towards women are merely ‘isolated incidents’, laying bare the patterns of systemic misogyny that is so deeply ingrained in our society.
In Sexual Revolution: Modern Fascism and the Feminist Fightback, Laurie Penny tells the story of how modern masculinity is killing the world, and how feminism can save it. It’s a story about sex and power and trauma and resistance and persistence.
Together they discuss misogyny, power and envision the possibilities of our moment.
Kübra Gümüşay is an award-winning author and activist from Germany. In her bestselling book Speaking and Being she examines how language dictates politics and shapes the way we think. Language opens up our world, and in the same instant, limits it. What does it mean to exist in a language that was never meant for you to speak? Why are we missing certain words? How can we talk about our communal problems without fuelling them? What does it actually mean to speak freely? As a writer and activist fighting for equality, Gümüşay has been thinking about these questions for many years. She addresses language and equalities related to gender with translator Sophie Hughes.
Executive producer Lenny Henry and members of the cast and crew discuss the BBC’s adaptation of Kit de Waal’s best-selling novel My Name is Leon, previewing clips from the film.
Set in 1980s Birmingham, it tells the moving story of nine-year-old Leon, a mixed-race boy, and his quest to reunite his family after being taken into care and separated from his blonde and blue-eyed baby brother. Following Leon’s journey, full of energy and hopefulness despite the hardships he encounters, we witness the touching relationship between him and his foster carer Maureen. Leon’s adventure teaches him valuable lessons about himself, the world, love, and what family really means.
The film is Shola Amoo’s first screenplay for television and is directed by Lynette Linton in her directorial debut on a television drama. It stars Sir Lenny Henry CBE (The Lord of the Rings), Malachi Kirby (Small Axe), Monica Dolan (A Very English Scandal), Olivia Williams (Counterpart), Christopher Eccleston (The A Word), Poppy Lee Friar (In My Skin), Shobna Gulati (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Cole Martin plays the lead, Leon, in his first TV role.
Fernanda Melchor’s novel Hurricane Season was a runaway critical success, a New York Times notable book of 2020, and won the 2021 Queen Sofia Translation Prize. For this and her latest novel Paradais, Melchor has been praised for her dazzling technical prowess, perfect pitch for orality, and unsparing depiction of Mexico’s explosive social inequity.
Sophie Hughes is the literary translator tasked with rendering Melchor’s “exceptional gift for ventriloquism” and the controlled rage of her voice in English. In this lecture and conversation, translator and reader come together to discuss boldness and artistic bravery in their respective literary roles. This translation lecture is given in the name of the pre-eminent translator whose peerless work rendering French, Danish and German literature into English ranges from Asterix to Austerlitz. In conversation with Chris Power.
How honestly do we talk about birth? How safe is birth today? Could better conversations lead to better births? Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, Joeli Brearley highlights the traumatic and isolated experiences of women on maternity wards throughout the Covid pandemic. In her memoir Frontline Midwife, Anna Kent shares her experiences of working in South Sudan, Bangladesh and the NHS. They talk to freelance journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker Nicola Cutcher.
Zillah has left behind the shadowy slums of St Giles to become the star of Stratton’s Variety Show, cast as ‘The Great Amazonia’. When a new act is introduced – a black woman with vitiligo exhibited as the ‘The Leopard Lady’ – Zillah is forced to confront the dark side of her profession. Featuring a defiant heroine and a theatrical world of fragile dreams and ruthless ambition, Dillsworth’s book shines a light on the experience of being Black and British in Victorian London through one woman’s journey to live her life on her own terms. She talks to author of The Foundling Stacey Halls.
Dylan Huw works bilingually across criticism, fiction and collaborative projects, and is one of the Arts Council of Wales' Future Wales Fellows. Crystal Jeans, short story writer and novelist, won the Wales Book of the Year for her novel Light Switches Are My Kryptonite. David Llewellyn, novelist and scriptwriter, was shortlisted for the Polari Prize with A Simple Scale. Kirsti Bohata, Professor of English Literature and the Co-Director of the Centre for Research into the English Language and Literature at Swansea University, maps the importance of the short story form in the development and portrayal of queer culture to mark the publication of a groundbreaking anthology of queer writing from Wales.
The world continues to manifest racism in many forms. To discuss the issue with journalist Julia Wheeler and give their different perspectives on writing about race are: Musa Okwonga, broadcaster, musician and author of One of Them: An Eton College Memoir; Georgina Lawton, journalist and author of Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth About Where I Belong; and scientist Adam Rutherford, author of How to Argue with a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality.
Join us to discuss the true story of Mary Seacole, researched over 20 years by Helen Rappaport, whose book reveals the truth about Seacole’s personal life and her ‘rivalry’ with Florence Nightingale. Often the reality proves more remarkable and dramatic than the legend. Rappaport talks to historian, broadcaster and author David Olusoga.
Mary Ann Sieghart brings up harsh realities that may seem astonishing – including the fact that very often it is women themselves who perpetuate sexism. She maps out the measures we can take, as individuals and society, to counteract an irrational but tenacious product of our social conditioning. She provides a startling perspective on the unseen bias at work and in our everyday lives, to reveal the scale of the gap that still persists between men and women. Drawing on cutting-edge work and original research commissioned to support her arguments and findings, she discusses the issues with the BBC’s Europe editor.
The First Minister of Scotland and avid reader makes her Hay Festival debut to share her thoughts on being a woman in politics and what a post-Brexit, post-Covid, net-zero world will look like.
Is abortion law a litmus test for democracy and the rule of law? Adequate protection of reproductive rights should be viewed as an essential element of the legal fabric of democratic society, argues the academic. She examines the relationship between reproductive rights, democracy, and the rule of law, taking as a case study, Poland, which, like Hungary, Brazil, USA, has experienced two processes: anti-constitutional backsliding and restrictive abortion reforms. Long before these processes became apparent the implementation of reproductive rights, especially by doctors and law enforcement agencies, indicated that the rule of law was weakly institutionalised.
Ramirez reappraises medieval history to reveal why women were struck from historical narrative and restores them to their rightful positions as the power-players who shaped our world. An Oxford lecturer, BBC broadcaster, researcher and author, she has presented and written BBC history documentaries and series on TV and radio, and writes for both children and adults. Femina is published on 21 July 2022: the first 40 people to buy a ticket to the event will receive an advance proof copy! Kavita Puri is an award-winning journalist, executive producer and broadcaster for the BBC. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Partition Voices: Untold British Stories.