A Feminist’s Guide to Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018

Rose McGowan (August 13)

“Revolting women”, game-changers and activists from around the world are coming to the capital for this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, which runs from August 11-27. Here are some programme highlights for the feminist festival-goer.

August 11: Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series: Women’s Rights in 2018
17:30 – 18:15, Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre, Free (tickets available from the Box Office on the day of the event)
“With hashtags like #EverydaySexism, #MeToo, #TimesUp, #PayMeToo trending worldwide and the latest protests and marches, you’d be forgiven for thinking women’s equality was progressing faster than ever. Today we hear about women who have fought, and will keep fighting, for women’s rights to be respected globally. Authors reading include Guy Bass, Laura Bates, Kirsty Logan and Holly Webb.”

August 11: Laura Bates: Standing Up for Equality
20:30 – 21:30 Baillie Gifford Main Theatre £12.00, £10.00
“Misogynation is a labour of frustration; a labour of anger. So says Laura Bates about her searing new book of essays charting the persistent gender inequality in British society today. Since writing Everyday Sexism, #MeToo, the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the gender pay gap debate have given strength to her argument that sexism remains systemic and deeply ingrained and she talks about the issues to BBC Scotland’s Serena Field.”

August 13: Rose McGowan with Afua Hirsch: A Brave Woman
15:15 – 16:15, Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, £12.00, £10.00
“In 2018 the film industry, for so long a haven of misogyny and sexism, has found itself at the heart of a worldwide ‘cataclysmic global reckoning’, in which women everywhere are standing up defiantly against predatory male behaviour. In Brave, the American actress Rose McGowan recounts her fight against the Hollywood machine. Today she talks to Afua Hirsch about her campaign to help all women reclaim their lives.”

August 15: Freedom Debate: Precarious Freedoms: Queer Perspectives from Around the World
19:30 – 21:00 Garden Theatre £12.00, £10.00
“Rights, freedoms and visibility for queer communities in the UK have improved in recent years, but gender and sexuality rights remain fragile in some countries and non-existent in others. Freedoms are precarious – they can be won only to be quickly lost again. Our panel, co-curated by Dive Queer Party, offers a range of international perspectives. Jo Clifford and Susan Worsfold, writer and director of The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven talk with the show’s Brazilian director and translator Natalia Mallo and performer Renata Carvalho; they are joined on stage by writer and performer Travis Alabanza, and Chitra Nagarajan, author of She Called Me Woman.”

August 16: Chitra Nagarajan & Olumide Popoola: Queer Africa
16:00 – 17:00 Garden Theatre £12.00, £10.00
“Chitra Nagarajan is an editor of She Called Me Woman, a groundbreaking collection of stories about life in Africa as a queer woman. These are narratives of first time love, curiosity and growing-up defying society’s rules. In When We Speak of Nothing, Olumide Popoola takes us on a journey of self-discovery from the racial tensions of London to the Niger Delta. Join them for a discussion on feminism and intersectionality in contemporary African communities and countries.”

August 18: Diane Atkinson & Jane Robinson: Deeds and Words
Sat 18 Aug 10:30 – 11:30 Spark Theatre on George Street £12.00, £10.00
“100 years after British women first gained voting rights, two books tell of the remarkable women who fought for equality. Diane Atkinson shares her defining biography of the suffragettes, Rise Up Women, while Jane Robinson’s Hearts and Minds explores the Great Pilgrimage of 1913, which saw thousands of women descend on London and demand to be heard.”

August 18: Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina with Yanis Varoufakis: Russia’s Avant-Garde Freedom Fighters
13:30 – 14:30, Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, £12.00, £10.00
“‘To back down an inch is to give up a mile,’ says Maria Alyokhina in Riot Days, her account of Pussy Riot’s extraordinary rise to infamy in 2012. Following an iconoclastic balaclava-clad performance in a Moscow cathedral, Alyokhina and two of her collaborators were arrested and sentenced to two years in a prison in the Urals. In this unmissable event, Yanis Varoufakis, DiEM25’s co-founder, discusses with Maria Alyokhina the different varieties of totalitarianism that we are currently threatened with, her fight for free speech against the forces of Vladimir Putin’s regime, her hunger strike protest while in prison, as well as the work she is now doing to help Russian prisoners at home.”

August 18: Shami Chakrabarti: The Rightful Place of Women
18:45 – 19:45, Baillie Gifford Main Theatre £12.00, £10.00
“As the Director of Liberty until 2016, Shami Chakrabarti became known as Britain’s leading campaigner for civil rights. She joins Ruth Wishart for a discussion about one of the most persistent human rights abuses on the planet: gender injustice. In this event and in her book Of Women Chakrabarti makes the case for positive action in the name of peace, prosperity and general human wellbeing.”

August 20: Chelsea Clinton with Sally Magnusson: Women Who Make History (sold out – returns only)
10:00 – 11:00, Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, £12.00, £10.00
“From Harriet Tubman to Oprah Winfrey, plenty of tenacious women have fought for freedom in America. Chelsea Clinton saluted them in her children’s book, She Persisted. Now, with She Persisted Around the World, Clinton celebrates women shaping global human history. She discusses her role models with Sally Magnusson and describes her charity work fighting for the rights of girls and women everywhere. This event will be recorded for BBC Radio Scotland.”

August 21: Herland Salon with Glasgow Women’s Library: Creative Women
18:30 – 20:00, The Spiegeltent,  Pay What you can
“Mindful of the great tradition of women salonières and gatherings of women creatives that have driven cultural change, Glasgow Women’s Library created their Herland Salon, a forum for women to learn and share their thoughts about the world in a creative space. This Salon special combines music, live DJ-ing and stories. Expect surprising pleasures, the cutting edge, diverse voices and new ideas. Today’s salonières are Zoë Strachan and Louise Welsh, who are joined by Katie Ailes, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Heir of the Cursed, Diljeet Bhachu and Hannah Lee. Optional dress code: RED. You can interpret the dress code as you wish, or come along in whatever you feel comfortable in.”

August 22: Jo Swinson: Eliminating Gender Inequality
18:45 – 19:45, Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, £12.00, £10.00
“As deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and a former Government minister, Jo Swinson has seen all too clearly how power can be concentrated in the hands of men right across the business, cultural and political spectrum. Equal Power is the East Dunbartonshire MP’s call to arms; a practical and optimistic guide to what we can all do to make society truly gender equal, and she shares her ideas today.”

August 23: Akwugo Emejulu, Heidi Safia Mirza, Djamila Ribeiro & Sara Wajid: Breaking Down Barriers
14:15 – 15:15 Garden Theatre £12.00, £10.00
Professor of Sociology, Akwugo Emejulu, will also appear in this event.
“Heidi Safia Mirza, Professor of Race, Faith and Culture at Goldsmiths University London, and Sara Wajid, Head of Engagement at the Museum of London join Brazilian human rights activist and writer Djamila Ribeiro, and Professor of Sociology at Warwick University, Akwugo Emejulu. Together they discuss the women of colour who play a critical and revolutionary role in ‘detoxing’ institutions in the education and museum sectors. Their goal: to open up institutions to all people in the 21st century.”

August 23-25: The Take Over Tent for Revolting Women
10:00 – 18:00, The Bookshop on George Street, Free & drop-in
The Take Over Tent for Revolting Women is created by Glasgow Women’s Library in honour of militants and mavericks 1918-2018, with the aim of making feminist waves. An inspirational oasis for writers and readers of all ages, it’s open to everyone. Drop in for strident spine poems, manifesto workshopping and to fuel your appetite for change.

August 24: Freedom Debate: Gender in India and Pakistan: How Do We Bring Real Change?
19:30 – 21:00, Garden Theatre, £12.00, £10.00
“Economic growth, political turbulence and religious hostilities are synonymous with the South Asia region. But now the place and treatment of women is making news headlines as people speak out against high-profile attacks. Voices are being heard but will this lead to real change? To examine the issues, award-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie is joined by experts Dr Radhika Govinda from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for South Asia Studies and Professor Fiona MacKay, Director of GenderEd and former Head of the School of Social and Political Science. Supported by the Centre for South Asian Studies.”

August 25: Helen Pankhurst & Fern Riddell with Adele Patrick: Pioneers and Provocateurs
10:30 – 11:30 Spark Theatre on George Street £12.00, £10.00
“The stories of women’s struggles for suffrage are rarely rosy. Historian Fern Riddell’s new book Death in Ten Minutes reveals the shocking tale of Kitty Marion, a violent activist forgotten by history. Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter Helen Pankhurst charts the progress of women’s rights in Deeds Not Words. Talking to Adele Patrick of Glasgow Women’s Library, they examine the past and question why so much remains to be done in the fight for equality.”

Interested in events for children and young people? Check out full details of the Revolting Women series.

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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