How Free is Free Speech?
OPERA HOUSE / FRIDAY 30th SEPTEMBER / 18.30 – 20.30
Veteran journalist Mick Hume, discusses Trigger Warning – an uncompromising defence of freedom of expression, which he argues is threatened by a creeping culture of conformism.
‘In 2015, the cold-blooded attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists united the free-thinking world in proclaiming ‘Je suis Charlie’. But it wasn’t long before many were arguing that the massacres showed the need to restrict the right to be offensive. Meanwhile sensitive students are sheltered from potentially offensive material and Twitter vigilantes police those expressing the ‘wrong’ opinion. But the basic right being suppressed – to be offensive, despite the problems it creates – is not only acceptable but vital to society.’
Without a total freedom of expression, argues Hume, other liberties will not be possible.
There will follow a panel discussion chaired by Jersey Evening Post editor Andy Sibcy featuring journalists Oliver Bullough, Simon de Bruxelles, lawyer Clare de Than, and JEP columnists Bram Wanrooij and Reverend Gavin Ashenden.
OPERA HOUSE / SAT 1st OCTOBER / 14.00 – 15.15
Kat Banyard is the author of The Equality Illusion and founder of campaign group UK Feminista. In 2014 The Equality Illusion was dramatised in the play Blurred Lines, written by Nick Payne and directed by Carrie Cracknell, premiering at the National Theatre. In 2010 Kat was named in The Guardian as ‘the most influential young feminist in the country’ and in 2011 she was selected as one of the Observer’s 50 contemporary innovators, described as ‘Game-changers whose vision is transforming the world around us’.
At this event – run in association with Cafe Scientifique – Kat will be joined by ex-sex worker Diane Martins to discuss her new book, Pimp State, a powerful exploration of the sex trade.
ARTS CENTRE/THURS SEPT 29 18.00 – 19.45
Guy Burgess was the most important, complex and fascinating of ‘The Cambridge Spies’ – Maclean, Philby, Blunt – all brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers.
In this first full biography, Andrew Lownie shows us how even Burgess’s chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service. Even when he was under suspicion, the fabled charm which had enabled many close personal relationships with influential Establishment figures (including Winston Churchill) prevented his exposure as a spy for many years.
Through interviews with more than a hundred people who knew Burgess personally, many of whom have never spoken about him before, and the discovery of hitherto secret files, Stalin’s Englishman brilliantly unravels the many lives of Guy Burgess in all their intriguing, chilling, colourful, tragi-comic wonder.
ARTS CENTRE/THURS 29th SEPT 18.00 – 19.45
‘The Last Man in Russia’
Journalist and writer Oliver Bullough is from Wales, but has spent most of his working life in and around the former Soviet Union. He is the author of two books about Chechnya and the Soviet dissident movement, Let Our Fame Be Great and The Last Man in Russia. He is currently working on a book about Ukraine and international corruption. Oliver has written for The Guardian, the New York Times and GQ, and is a frequent commentator on various media outlets.
OPERA HOUSE/FRIDAY 30th SEPT 18.30 -20.30
In this blistering polemic, veteran journalist Mick Hume presents an uncompromising defence of freedom of expression, which he argues is threatened in the West, not by jackbooted censorship but by a creeping culture of conformism and You-Can’t-Say-That.
The cold-blooded murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in January 2015 brought a deadly focus to the issue of free speech. Leaders of the free-thinking world united in condemning the killings, proclaiming ‘Je suis Charlie’. But it wasn’t long before many commentators were arguing that the massacre showed the need to apply limits to free speech and to restrict the right to be offensive.
It has become fashionable not only to declare yourself offended by what somebody else says, but to use the ‘offence card’ to demand that they be prevented from saying it. Social media websites such as Twitter have become the scene of ‘twitch hunts’ where online mobs hunt down trolls and other heretics who express the ‘wrong’ opinion. And Trigger Warnings and other measures to ‘protect’ sensitive students from potentially offensive material have spread from American universities across the Atlantic and the internet.
Hume argues that without freedom of expression, our other liberties would not be possible. Against the background of the historic fight for free speech, Trigger Warning identifies the new threats facing it today and spells out how unfettered freedom of expression, despite the pain and the problems it entails, remains the most important liberty of all.
The Bible for Grown-Ups
JERSEY LIBRARY STAGE / FRIDAY 30th SEPTEMBER / 16.00 – 18.00
The Bible for Grown-Ups is a look at how the Bible came to be written, as well as an examination of the context and purpose of the people who wrote it.
Simon Loveday, author, lecturer and former Chair of the Wells Festival of Literature will be discussing the background to his book and its relevance in the light of recent global events. The talk will then widen into a panel discussion featuring Martyn Shea (Vicar of St Mark’s), Ian Ronayne and Linda Romeril.
Simon de Bruxelles
OPERA HOUSE / FRIDAY 30th SEPT / 18.30 – 20.30
‘How Free is Free Speech?’
Journalist Simon de Bruxelles was educated at Victoria College. He has worked as a reporter at The Observer, and was News Editor for The European between 1990 and 1993. He is currently the South West correspondent for The Times.
Jèrriais – The Shock of the New
CCA GALLERIES INTERNATIONAL / SAT 1st OCTOBER / 10.00 – 13.00
CCA Galleries International are hosting an exhibition within the program of this year’s Jersey Literary Festival. The exhibition, ‘Jèrriais – The Shock of the New’ leaves no doubt of the fascinating role of Jèrriais in current modern language. Philip Regan’s typographic print series ‘Endangered Species’ will be on sale alongside film and prints by Rachel Scott.
On Wednesday 5 October, 1.00 -2.00, artist, poet and linguist Geraint Jennings will be reading recent poems and discussing how he attempts to make the sounds of Jèrriais work in the abstract for the ears of an audience which is mostly non-Jèrriais speaking. Entry to the reading is free, although reserving a seat is advisable email@example.com t: 01534 739900.
The exhibition runs Saturday 1 October (10.00 -1.00) – Friday 7 October (10.00-5.00).