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The LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival | Courtesy of LSE
The LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival | Courtesy of LSE

The LSE Literary Festival Kicks off Today, Here's What to Expect

Picture of Simon Leser
UK Literary Editor
Updated: 23 February 2017

The LSE’s 9th annual Space for Thought Literary Festival, put together in partnership with the Times Literary Supplement (TLS), is this year themed around revolutions to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It will feature a series of talks, film screenings, workshops and events for children, all free to attend. Here’s what we’re most excited about.

The Maidan Revolution – Lessons Learned and Unlearned
(Monday, February 20, 5pm–6.30pm)

An all-star panel of journalists and academics will launch the festival with a discussion of the most recent revolution to have hit the post-soviet world. Ukraine’s Euromaidan, the popular rebellion which ousted the government of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, pushed Russia to invade Crimea and forced the separation of Ukraine’s eastern regions, remains one of the major sources of upheaval in the world today. This event features Anne Applebaum (from the Washington Post), economist Olena Bilan, Ukrainian MP and journalist Mustapha Nayeem, as well as the former deputy of the national bank in Ukraine—Vladyslav Rashkovan.

Anne Applebaum (left) and Eimear McBride | Courtesy of LSE / ©JMA Photography

Anne Applebaum (left) and Eimear McBride (right) | Courtesy of LSE / © JMA Photography

Revolutions in Literature
(Thursday, February 23, 5pm–6.30pm)

Two of the most innovative authors of the past two decades, Eimear McBride and Ali Smith, are teaming up with TLS editor Toby Lichtig to talk about the 20th century’s great literary revolution: modernism. That is, the “move away from the traditional towards the experimental and radical in the arts”—a movement whose legacy in fiction is enormous.

From One Cold War to Another?
(Thursday, February 23, 6.30pm–8pm)

Another all-star discussion, featuring veteran journalists Anne Applebaum (Washington Post), Jonathan Fenby (formerly of the GuardianObserver, and South China Morning Post), and Gideon Rachman (FT). The conversation will center on the Cold War’s legacy, and the potential impending threat of its renewal—whether with Russia, again, or China.

Elif Şafak (left) and Laurie Penny | ©Muammer Yanmaz / Courtesy of LSE

Elif Şafak (left) and Laurie Penny (right) | Courtesy of LSE / © Muammer Yanmaz

Where are the Women in Today’s Islamic World?
(Saturday, February 25, 11am–12.30pm)

Elif Şafak, without doubt one of the most popular Turkish writers in the world today, will be talking with Mary Evans, Centennial Professor at LSE’s Gender Institute. The discussion will revolve around the treatment of women in the Islamic world and its “backlash of patriarchy,” a reactionary development which has sometimes threatened even women’s most fundamental rights.

The Future of Humanity
(Saturday, February 25, 1pm–2pm)

“What kind of future do we want to create and why?” Not exactly the least challenging topic, but certainly one with potential for an inspired discussion—particularly so if the talk focuses on the philosophical implications of technological advancement. The journalist, author and well-known firebrand Laurie Penny will be joined by technology author Luke Dormehl, as well as political economy lecturer Nick Srnicek and Jason McKenzie Alexander, Professor of Philosophy at LSE. Expect sparks to fly.

The LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival will be running through to Saturday, 25th February. More information HERE.