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Speaker(s): Louise Doughty, Winnie M Li, Professor Nicola Lacey
Chair: Dr Bingchun Meng

Recorded on 21 February 2018 at Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building

How can literature reach audiences in ways that social science research about inequality can’t? How can narratives about fictional characters dramatise lived experiences of social inequality – and what are the ethical implications of creating these narratives for a mass readership?

This event brings together two award-winning authors (one established, one emerging) whose fiction explores various forms of social inequality. Louise Doughty, author of eight novels, is best known for her bestselling Apple Tree Yard, which was adapted into a BBC TV series. Winnie M Li is a PhD student at LSE, whose debut novel Dark Chapter, recently won The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize and is inspired by her own lived experience of rape. They will be discussing these questions wtih Bingchun Meng, whose work focuses on the representation of gender in media narratives, and Nicola Lacey, whose work focuses on feminist analysis of law, law and literature and biography.

Louise Doughty (@DoughtyLouise) is the author of eight novels, most recently Black Water, which was published in 2016 to critical acclaim in the UK and US where it was nominated as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year. Her previous book was the Top Ten bestseller Apple Tree Yard, adapted for BBC One as a four-part series starring Emily Watson. Her sixth novel, Whatever You Love, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC.

Winnie M Li (@winniemli) is a PhD Researcher based in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. Her research examines the uses of social media by rape survivors to narrate their experiences of sexual trauma – and how this online engagement can serve as a means of individual recovery and community-building. Before coming to LSE, Winnie worked for fifteen years in the creative industries in the US, the UK, Ireland, Qatar, and Singapore. Her debut novel Dark Chapter, inspired by her own experience of rape, was published worldwide in 2017. It was listed by Stylist Magazine as one of ‘10 Smashing Debut Novels of 2017’ and won The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize, decided in part by a public vote. It is currently nominated for the prestigious Edgar Awards in the US for Best First Novel.

Nicola Lacey is School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy at LSE and an Associate Member of the International Inequalities Institute. She is an Honorary Fellow of New College Oxford and of University College Oxford; a Fellow of the British Academy; and a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum. In 2011 she was awarded the Hans Sigrist Prize by the University of Bern for outstanding scholarship on the function of the rule of law in late modern societies and in 2017 she was awarded a CBE for services to Law, Justice and Gender Politics. Her publications include Women, Crime and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the d’Urbervilles (OUP 2008) and In Search of Criminal Responsibility (OUP 2016).

Bingchun Meng is an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department in the Department for Media and Communications at LSE. She is also LSE’s Advisor to Female Students. Her research interests include gender and the media, political economy of media industries, communication governance, and comparative media studies. Her book The Politics of Chinese Media: Consensus and Contestation was recently published by Palgrave.

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