Selling Britain: From Rule Britannia to London 2012
When: Wed 3 Jul 2013, 18.30-20.00
Where: Conference Centre, British Library
Price: £7.50 / £5 concessions
From the dawn of ‘Britannia’ to the London 2012 Olympics, Britain has sought to ensure its global influence. The imposition of a vast Empire through naval strength and economic dominance has gradually been replaced by subtler methods of positioning, cultural diplomacy and political brokering. Throughout, there has been an ongoing message of Britain as the champion of democracy, decency and moral authority.
The story and present reality of selling Britain is unpacked by journalist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, acclaimed historian Linda Colley, and former British Ambassador to Washington Nigel Sheinwald.
The event will be chaired by Jonathan Freedland, columnist for the Guardian.
- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown won the George Orwell Prize for political journalism in 2002 and the Emma Award for Journalism in 2004. She is columnist for the Independent, a radio and television broadcaster and author of several books including the acclaimed The Settler's Cookbook: A Memoir of Migration, Love and Food and Who Do We Think We Are? Imagining the New Britain.
- Linda Colley is Shelby M.C.Davis 1958 Professor of History at Princeton University and an acclaimed historian of Britain’s past in a broader European, imperial, and global context . Her best known books include Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837, which won the Wolfson Prize for History, and Captives: Britain, Empire and the World 1600-1850. Professor Colley was guest curator of the 2008 British Library exhibition Taking Liberties.
- Nigel Sheinwald was British Ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2012. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1976 and served in Brussels (twice), Washington and Moscow and in a wide range of policy jobs in London. He served as Foreign Policy and Defence Adviser to the Prime Minister as British Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels from 2000 to 2003.
- Jonathan Freedland (Chair) writes a weekly column for the Guardian. He is also a regular contributor to the New York Times and the New York Review of Books, and presents BBC Radio 4's contemporary history series, The Long View. He was named columnist of the year in the 2002 What the Papers Say awards and in 2008 was awarded the David Watt prize for journalism. He has also published five books, including three best-selling thrillers under the name Sam Bourne. He tweets as j_freedland