The Resilience Readings: A star-studded virtual literary festival

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Join Freedom from Torture over a series of evenings for a star-studded online literary festival, exploring the theme of Resilience.

About this Event

Running over three nights in November, you will be able to hear special readings, performances and discussions from a host of famous actors, authors and poets - alongside survivors of torture.

  • NIGHT ONE. Tuesday 24 November (7pm – 8pm GMT)

The Resilience Reading List – a celebrity hosted book club, panel discussion and Q&A, covering books that have helped us all to get through challenging times. Led by award-winning authors Nikesh Shukla (The good Immigrant), Louise Doughty (Apple Tree Yard), Peckham-born poet Caleb Femi (the first Young People's Laureate for London) and BAFTA-award winning actress and Freedom from Torture Patron Juliet Stevenson. Submit a book to be discussed, and download our full Resilience Reading List after the event.

  • NIGHT TWO. Wednesday 25 November (7pm – 8pm GMT)

Words of Resilience – Poems and performances from leading poets and winners of our poetry competition. Hosted by the distinguished poets Daljit Nagra, Ian McMillan, Imtiaz Dharker and Inua Ellams. After-party with Bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, and Poetry Prescriptions with Poet Ronna Bloom.

  • NIGHT THREE. Thursday 26 November (7pm – 8pm GMT)

The Power of Resilience – Performances and readings from authors, actors, poets and survivors of torture around the theme of Resilience. With readings by English actress and Hollywood star Thandie Newton, best-selling author Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist Jackie Kay (Red Dust Road) and renowned poet John Hegley. Survivors of torture from Write to Life - Freedom from Torture's creative writing group will be performing original, moving pieces throughout. Plus a special virtual performance by the Sing for Freedom choir – made up of survivors, staff and volunteers from Freedom from Torture and run by Together Productions.

TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW. Donate what you can to attend each event, all funds raised will directly support survivors of torture.

You will be sent a link on the day of each event to access the live stream.

THE RESILIENCE AUCTION. Launches Thursday 12 November, 10am GMT

Running alongside these events will be The Resilience Auction - an online silent auction of unique literary-themed experiences and prizes. With prizes confirmed so far from artists Edmund de Waal, Chris Riddell and Quentin Blake as well as Margaret Atwood, Lee Child, David Nicholls, Rose Tremain, Ian McEwan, Jonathan Coe, Michael Morpurgo, William Boyd, Philip Pullman, Bernardine Evaristo, Ken Follett and more.

All funds raised will directly support survivors of torture.

For more information about the online auction and to be the first to know when it launches, please email:


Enter our Resilience poetry competition! First prize: have your poem performed by actor Samuel West on his Pandemic Poems radio show, and appear in Aesthetica Magazine online. All winners will receive a selection of books from publishers including The Folio Society and Penguin, plus have the opportunity to film themselves performing their poem OR have it performed by our award-winning poets and broadcast to a worldwide audience on NIGHT TWO of the literary festival.

Submission deadline: 31 October 2020


A huge thank you to our Literary Committee: Tracy Chevalier, Alan Lloyd, Beverly Ivey and Caroline Rupert as well as all the performers, prize donors, sponsors, publishers and agents who have given their time and support to make this event happen.

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