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Political story writing

Date: Wednesday 22 March, online/zoom

Time: 18:00-18:50 UK time

Location: online/zoom – register below

George Orwell's ambition was "to make political writing into an art". This free-to-attend panel will explore the art of political writing: philosophical, polemical, historical, fictional, journalistic, and diaristic. How and why is it an art, and does it matter who's writing it? Is there no such thing as non-political writing? Only good and bad writing?

Russell Smith is a government communications professional. He currently works as a specialist strategy lead for the Government Communications Service (GCS) based in the UK Cabinet Office, shaping the future of cross-government communications for the next three years. His areas of expertise include strategic communications, internal communications and media management for high-profile government events. In recent years, these have included Operation London Bridge (2022), the COP26 summit (2021) and the 2012 Olympics. His work has also included leading stakeholder communications at the Home Office (UK Border Force communications) and at the Ministry of Defense (RAF and Royal Navy media operations).

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Professor Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a journalist, broadcaster and author. She writes for the i newspaper and has written for the Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Time Magazine and others. Her awards include the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and National Press Awards Columnist of the Year. She is a part-time professor of journalism at Middlesex University. She is co-founder of the charity British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Her recent books include: Refusing the Veil; Exotic England; In Defence of Political Correctness; and Ladies Who Punch.

Kurt Barling is Professor of Journalism at Middlesex University. He is an award-winning investigative journalist and documentary-maker who built a reputation working at the BBC from 1989 until 2015 with a USP of covering alternative narratives in the mainstream media. He worked across News and Current Affairs for 25 years from, Assignment and The Money Programme to Today and Newsnight. He was the Special Correspondent for BBC London News from 2001-2014. Kurt is author and editor of a number of books including Darkness over Germany published in Germany, the UK and the US. In 2015 the book described by the Times as an "eloquent polemic", The R Word: Racism and a revelatory book on the security services role in sheltering Abu Hamza from scrutiny in the early noughties. He sits on the Board of the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park North London.

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The future of storytelling panel

Date: Wednesday 22 March, online/zoom

Time: 19:00-19:50 UK time

Location: online/zoom – register below

In this final free-to-attend event, the speakers will discuss what kind of stories will be birthed in the big, bold technological future. How will we consume these stories? What might these narratives look and sound like in 50yrs, 100yrs or 250yrs time?

… as well as Gabriela Houston, a Polish writer represented by John Baker from Bell Lomax Moreton Agency. Gabriela is author of Slavic-folklore-inspired novels for adults and children. She came to the UK at 19 to follow her passion for literature and she completed her undergraduate and Masters degrees at Royal Holloway, University of London. After her studies she worked in publishing for a few years. Now living with her family in Harrow, she continues to pursue her life-long passion for making stuff up and for sharing her love of Slavic folklore with the English-speaking world! Gabriela's books include The Second Bell, her adult debut, is out now from Angry Robot Books. Her second adult fantasy novel, The Bone Roots, is coming out in October 2023. Her Slavic-Inspired children's novel (ages 9+), The Wind Child, is out with Uclan Publishing, with the sequel, The Storm Child, coming out in May 2023.

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Dr Helen Bendon is Head of the Media Dept and Associate Professor in Film and Media at Middlesex University. She is also Academic Lead on Changing the Culture, seeking to address social injustices and change behaviours. Helen is interested in locative storytelling, mariginalised and minoritised content, and how fragmentary and non-linear storytelling can be deployed as a critical thinking tool.

Dr James Martin Charlton is a dramatist, director and academic. He is Academic Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at Middlesex University. His plays include Fat Souls, ecstasy + GRACE, Coward, and Reformation. He has directed many contemporary plays, including James Kenworth's pro-localist Newham Plays. He has directed two short films - Apeth, and Academic - and has filmed his play Fellow Creature for 360-degree video.

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