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First literary festival for London School of Economics

The role of literature and the arts in exploring important social issues and the relevance of literature today will be key themes underpinning LSE's first literary festival, which will take place between Friday 27 February - Sunday 1 March 2009.

The LSE Space for Thought Literary Weekend, which is free to attend, will include discussions on political satire, migrant literature, blasphemy in the 21st Century and biography writing. There will also be a series of creative writing workshops with advice for writers on how to get published.

Several authors will be discussing their latest works. Booker prize winner, Ben Okri will showcase Tales of Freedom, which brings together poetry and prose. Iain Sinclair will discuss his new book Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire and its focus on the landscape, history and people of East London.

Moshin Hamid, author of Man Booker Prize shortlisted The Reluctant Fundamentalist, will consider literature as social commentary. Will Self will look at the social aspects of death and dying in contemporary society.

Participants from outside the literary world include Antony Gormley, the internationally renowned sculptor, who will discuss the experiential and social impacts of creating spaces for public engagement, contemplation and education. Former director of LSE and sociologist Anthony Giddens will discuss the financial crisis, climate change and energy.

Louise Gaskell, festival coordinator said: 'From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analysed and disseminated around the globe. Literature is a powerful tool for such exploration and dissemination and, ultimately, as LSE founder George Bernard Shaw and other Fabians argued, a means of provoking social change.'

The festival will also include a series of children's events including an interactive reading of Bottoms up by its author and illustrator Adam Stower along with activity packs and face painters. For teenagers there will be a discussion on creative responses to social problems like knife crime and global warming with a panel of popular teen authors

All the events are free but you will need a ticket. These will be available from Tuesday 17 February at www.lse.ac.uk/spaceforthought or from the ticket request line 020 7955 6100.

The festival forms part of the celebrations surrounding the completion of LSE's New Academic Building on Lincoln's Inn Fields. The events will take place in the new building designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners - the award winning architects for the Eden project.


Tickets for the media only are available from the LSE press office, email pressoffice@lse.ac.uk 

For more information please contact Sue Windebank, LSE Press Office, on 020 7849 4624 or at s.windebank@lse.ac.uk 

30 January 2009