Melvyn Bragg and Caroline Michel reflect on their fight to end the fatwa against Salman Rushdie
‘In 1989 the death penalty was re-introduced in Britain. Not for terrorism. Not for murder. But for writing a book.’ Salman Rushdie Campaign Group 1991.
Nearly 20 years after Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following the publication of The Satanic Verses, pro-Rushdie campaigners Melvyn Bragg, Frances D’Souza and Caroline Michel re-unite to talk about their fight for freedom of expression then and now. They are joined by activist and researcher Yasmin Rehman and Lisa Appignanesi who will chair the conversation. With archive recordings of Salman Rushdie reading from The Satanic Verses.
Lisa Appignanesi is a writer, novelist and cultural commentator. She is currently Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, having been elected as a fellow in 2015 and Visiting Professor in Literature and Medical Humanities, King’s College London. She has previously held the roles of President of English PEN and Chair of the Freud Museum in London as well as the Deputy Director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Melvyn Bragg is an acclaimed writer and broadcaster. He has worked as a presenter for both the BBC and the ITV presenting The South Bank Show for the latter, from 1978 until 2010, and the discussion series I on Radio 4 since 1998. He won the W H Smith Literary Award in 2000 for his novel The Soldier’s Return, was made a life peer in 1998 and is currently Chancellor of the University of Leeds.
Frances D’Souza is a scientist and life peer in the House of Lords. Previous to joining the House of Lords in 2004 she worked as a research fellow for the Nuffield Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition and as a lecturer at both the LSE and Oxford Brookes University. She was convenor of the Crossbench Peers in the House of Lords from 2007 to 2011 and was elected Lord Speaker serving from 2011 to 2016.
Yasmin Rehman is a human rights activist and researcher. She is currently working with Women’s Resource Centre as Coordinator of the pan-London Violence Against Women and Girls Consortium. Yasmin is a Board member of End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) and the Cross-Government Working Group on Hate Crimes. She is a Trustee of the Centre for Secular Space and in 2017 was awarded The Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year.
Caroline Michel has been the CEO of Peters Fraser and Dunlop literary agents since 2007. Before that she headed up the William Morris Agency in London for three years. She has over 25 years’ worth of experience in the industry and ran both Vintage at Random House and Harper Press at HarperCollins. She is Chair of the Hay Literary Festival, Chair of the BFI Trust and a Trustee of Somerset House.
Enjoy food and drink purchased from the Knowledge Centre Bar from 18.00 and after the event until the Bar closes at 22.00.
In partnership with The Royal Society of Literature, Free Word and Islington Library and Heritage Services
This event is part of Banned Books Week, an international celebration of the freedom to read.
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