Journalist Jill McGivering, in conversation with Rosemary Furber, provided an insightful evening to the situation in Afghanistan. I always wondered what being 'embedded with the troops' was like, and Jill shed light on that. She spoke about the many flashpoints and crisis places, including the suffering and the challenge of staying professional, when faced with flood victims in Pakistan, shell shocked civilans in Afghanistan... And all with a witty, sharp and great sense of humour.
Yesterday, a class of school children dropped by unexpectedly at W&T. True to form, the team leapt into action, clearing the cafe/gallery space for an impromptu storytelling session with Jackie. Looks like everyone had fun!
Historian Avi Shlaim and Professor of International Relations at Oxford University provided a concise history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It was an enlightening evening and the discussion and Q&A that followed probed the conflict in further depth, ranging from topics as diverse as multiple perspectives on the issue (Zionist, New Historians), to relations with the US and the possible future for Middle East peace. Thank you Avi for a candid and open discussion on this contentious topic.
Daniel Cockrill of Bang Said The Gun and headline act Jacob Sam La-Rose put on a fantastic show last night at our first ever open mic poetry session. (Go on Dan, do DIY and Di again!) Kudos to the brave souls who shared their poetry. In fact, I'm so inspired, I may have to get up on stage and share at the next session - on Nov 16th!
We had a busy morning yesterday when kids of all ages and their mommies and daddies arrived at Woolfson & Tay for a storytelling, sing-a-long and drawing session with Vanessa Woolf. This session is free and parents just need to turn up with their little ones.
I learned a new song myself :) Zoom, zoom, zoom, we're going to the moon...!
Vanessa will next be telling stories on Oct 21. Check our calendar for Nov and Dec sessions.
It was a stimulating, sobering and eye-opening night with author Kishwar Desai in conversation with author Rosemary Furber. Kishwar's book Witness The Night is a work of fiction but what she drew upon - 30 years of journalistic experience - to write her novel, was anything but. We heard about how her investigations had revealed that often baby girls were killed in crude ways - by having grass stuffed into their mouths for example. A Punjabi woman she met told Kishwar she should not be alive - she was fed opium when a baby.
Kishwar spoke with passion about the need for a feminist movement in India, so that women - many of whom are complicit in the illegal but often condoned act of killing their baby girls, either through committing the crime themselves or through their silence - can break through this injustice which permeates India's divided and diverse society. Kishwar spoke of how fictionalising this social issue has allowed the topic to travel further and raise discussions, such as the one held at W&T last night. However, while the topic was sobering, Kishwar's heroine Simran - a freelance social worker with a no-holds-barred attitude - lends hope and optimism to an otherwise grim issue. Expect to hear more of Simran soon. Kishwar is working on her second novel.
Woolfson & Tay are honoured to be hosting Simon Croft's 'Time Out On Holiday Street', a photography exhibition about AIDS in Ukraine. Oksana Shved from EveryChild Ukraine came especially to London to share aboutthe stigma and secrecy attached to the illness; not just with HIV+ patients but also family, friends and those who work with HIV and AIDS patients. As Simon put it, 'This exhibition is about angels - those who work and support AIDS and HIV patients.' Despite widespread stigma and discrimination, those featured in this exhibition have allowed for their identity to be known. We salute these everyday heroes and heroines. The exhibition is free to view and will be on show till 7 Nov 2010.
American author Joshua ES Phillips was in London recently to speak about his through-provoking book, None Of Us Were Like This Before, at Woolfson & Tay. He shared insight of his experiences interviewing soldiers involved in the surge in Iraq. It was poignant and also shocking to learn of how prisoner abuse had been encouraged, and of how many who participated struggled to deal with what they had witnessed and done. Most soldiers who returned were never the same, their mental and physical health deteriorated, and many families were broken by what had taken place 'over there.' On a lighter note, it was the first time we received a dog as a guest to an author's event!