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KEY INFORMATION

Thursday 24 November, 7pm-10pm

The London Library, 14 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LG

Join us for a drinks and canapés reception with special live readings from best-selling authors and poets alongside Write to Life, Freedom from Torture's creative writing group. Be moved and inspired whilst raising vital funds for survivors of torture.

This year's theme A New Chapter explores, through literature, what it feels like to start from scratch, a fresh start, a new journey. It celebrates refugees who have arrived in the UK and their resilience building a new life. A new chapter.  

PERFORMERS AND READERS

Julian Barnes' work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France, he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Medicis (for Flaubert's Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). In 1993 he was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the FVS Foundation of Hamburg. In 2011 he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature, and he won the Man Booker Prize for The Sense of An Ending. He is a long-standing patron of Freedom from Torture.

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Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She has published 19 books, 12 of which are novels, including her latest The Island of Missing Trees, shortlisted for the Costa Award, RSL Ondaatje Prize and Women’s Prize. She is a bestselling author in many countries around the world and her work has been translated into 56 languages. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize; and was Blackwell’s Book of the Year. The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among the 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. The Architect’s Apprentice was chosen for the Duchess of Cornwall’s inaugural book club, The Reading Room. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. She also holds a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bard College.

Shafak is a Fellow and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature and has been chosen among BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women. She is a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of expression, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she was awarded the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people “who will give you a much-needed lift of the heart”. She has judged numerous literary prizes, including PEN Nabokov prize and she has chaired the Wellcome Prize. Recently, Shafak was awarded the Halldór Laxness International Literature Prize for her contribution to 'the renewal of the art of storytelling’


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Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer from Nigeria. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and his published books of poetry include Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, #Afterhours and The Half-God of Rainfall – an epic story in verse. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth Barber Shop Chronicles sold out two runs at England’s National Theatre. He recently completed his first full poetry collection The Actual, is currently touring An Evening With An Immigrant and working on several commissions across stage and screen. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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Alan Hollinghurst is the author of six internationally acclaimed novels, The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, The Spell, The Line of Beauty, The Stranger’s Child and most recently, The Sparsholt Affair. Winner of the EM Forster Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, he was chosen as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993 and was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1994. The Line of Beauty won the 2004 Man Booker Prize and was shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, America’s National Book Critics’ Circle Award, and the author was nominated for the British Book Awards’ Author of the Year Prize.

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Alexei Sayle is a comedian, actor, presenter and writer. His television work as a writer and performer includes The Young Ones, Alexei Sayle's Stuff, and The All New Alexei Sayle Show. He has written regularly for the Observer, Independent, Time Out, Car Magazine and Esquire and he has appeared in numerous films, from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to Gorky Park and Swing. Sayle has written two short story collections, five novels, and a radio series spin-off book. Sayle's autobiography Stalin Ate My Homework, which deals with his early life and which he describes as a 'satirical memoir', was published in 2010 and the second volume of his autobiography Thatcher Stole My Trousers, was published in 2016.

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Write to Life is the longest running refugee writers’ group in the UK, and the only one specifically for survivors of torture. It has grown from a few people writing for each other to a thriving group of writers and performers, who write for publication and travel all over the country performing both live and on film, at venues including the V&A, The Roundhouse and Kings Place.

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Literary Festival committee: Julian Barnes, Tracy Chevalier, Alan Lloyd, Gill Paul, Alan Hollinghurst, Patrick Janson-Smith, Beverly Ivey.