Home > News and media > Video and audio > Channels > Public lectures and events > Public lectures and events: media player

How to contact us

For technical and editorial queries, please use:


To contribute video and audio content, please use:


For queries about forthcoming events, please see the public events| website.

Literary Festival 2014: Alphabetical

Download: Audio

Speaker(s): Michael Rosen
Chair: Professor Jennifer Richards

Recorded on 1 March 2014 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

How on Earth did we fix upon our letters, what do they really mean, and how did we come to write them down in the first place? In Alphabetical Michael Rosen takes you on an unforgettable adventure through the history of the alphabet in twenty-six vivid chapters, fizzing with personal anecdotes and fascinating facts. Starting with the mysterious Phoenicians and how sounds first came to be written down, he races on to show how nonsense poems work, pins down the strange story of OK, traces our five lost letters and tackles the tyranny of spelling, among many, many other things.

Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) was born in 1946 in North London. He is a former Children’s Laureate and the bestselling author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which won the Smarties Best Book of the Year Award, and many other books. He presents Word of Mouth on BBC Radio 4.

Jennifer Richards is professor of early modern literature and culture in the School of English at Newcastle University, and author of Rhetoric and Courtliness in Early Modern Literature (2003) and Rhetoric (2007).

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.

Event posting


Related links