Ali Smith and Marina Warner in conversation

Event Date: 18 March 2019

Room B01
Clore Management Centre
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Sq
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities presents:

Ali Smith and Marina Warner in conversation

Ali Smith and Marina Warner are writers who have both engaged with the issue of refugees and migrants in our time. Ali Smith has been centrally involved with the campaigning group Refugee Tales, which publishes the stories of individual refugees about their experiences of migration, trafficking and detention. Its main target is ending indefinite detention in the UK.

Through Stories in Transit, a project which began in 2016 in Palermo, Sicily, Marina Warner has worked with refugees there and in London, trying to develop a method and establish a forum for expression, narrative and performance. Both are trying to take part in creating ‘a language of welcome’ at a time when policies of this government here and elsewhere are seeking to normalise xenophobia and intolerance. In this conversation they will discuss the work to be done to generate spaces of potential understanding and modes of resistance around one of the most vexed issues of modern times.

Ali Smith’s books have been translated into 40 languages. Her latest novel is Spring (2019).

Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, cultural history, and criticism, specialising in myths and fairy tales. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, London, and President of the Royal Society of Literature. Her most recent book is Forms of Enchantment: Writings on Art and Artists (2018). Her current work includes an ‘unreliable memoir’ of her childhood in Cairo, and a study of Sanctuary.

Chair: Jacqueline Rose

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