The digital archive of Gladstone's Library, a residential library and meeting place dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals.
Currently our SoundCloud hosts full audio recordings of all our events. From 2021 this will start to change, and SoundCloud will instead host our 'Events of the Month'. The full Gladstone's Library Digital Archive is available to browse to Friends of Gladstone's Library - see our website for more!
Sarah Day - Adventures in Research: Mussolini's Island
In researching novels based on real life historical events, author Sarah Day has followed eighteenth-century explorers to Russia and a group of persecuted gay men to the Tremiti Islands. She has explored a hidden church beneath a swimming pool in St Petersburg, a derelict prison on San Domino, and viewed countless photographs and archives of extraordinary individuals. Sarah offers fascinating tales of her travels, as well as tips for your own travels – and your own travel writing.
Amber Massie-Blomfield - Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die
Amber Massie-Blomfield travelled from the tip of Cornwall to the Isle of Mull to discover Britain’s most astonishing theatres. In rural communities and the inner-city, Amber found haunted halls, stages hewn from granite cliffs, and squeezed into a former public loo. During her residency at Gladstone's Library as Political Writer in Residence, Amber reads an excerpt from her book, Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die.
Near Future - An Evening with Writer in Residence Suzannah Evans
Poet Suzannah Evans reads from her 2018 poetry collection Near Future and discusses her writing experiences. Set in an all-too-imaginable Earth where resources are insufficient for human existence and asteroid storms threaten the solar system, Suzannah’s poems ask us to think about what we would do if we were there: if we had to go to work meetings as the world ends; where we might most stylishly store our iodine tablets; how efficient carbon harvesting would really be if it were administered by middle management.
Gladfest 2019: Damian Barr - You Will Be Safe Here
We’re delighted to welcome Damian back to Gladfest – he was the very first event of our very first festival! You Will Be Safe Here is Damian’s first novel. Set in South Africa in 1901, at the height of the Boer War, Sarah van der Watt and her son are taken from their farm by force to Bloaemfontein Concentration Camp – where the English promise they will be safe. A deeply moving novel of connected parts, inspired by the true contemporary story of Raymond Buys, You Will Be Safe Here explores our capacity for cruelty and kindness. Damian talks to novelist Sarah Perry about writing this extraordinary novel.
Gladfest 2019: Rachel Hewitt - In Her Nature - Women In The Mountains
Mountaineering literature is a traditionally male-dominated genre. Stephen Harper’s best-selling Ladykiller Peak (1965) claimed that mountaineering by ‘the weaker sex’ was a form of ‘women’s rebellion against man’s natural assumption of command’. Nevertheless, women have succeeded in summitting, climbing, and exploring some of the most remote, extreme landscapes in the world. Rachel's talk focuses on the spectacular life and writings of the fin-de-siècle mountaineer Lizzie Le Blond (1860-1934), responsible for establishing the Ladies’ Alpine Club in 1907. An avid nature-photographer, tobogganist, ice-skater, long-distance cyclist, and racing driver, Le Blond also became one of the pioneers of so-called ‘manless’ climbing, and undertook the first women-only traverse of Piz Palü in 1900. Victorian and Edwardian female climbers like Le Blond contended with voluminous gowns, ill-fitting equipment, constraining social mores, but nevertheless achieved global mountaineering success and fame, publishing extensively before being written out of literary history in the twentieth century.
Le Blond is a key figure in Rachel's forthcoming book on women, nature and nature-writing, In Her Nature (Chatto & Windus). This book will marry the focus on landscape evident in Rachel's first book, Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey (Granta, 2010), with the feminist history of her second book, A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind (Granta, 2017). This talk will explore how women’s experiences of the natural world relate to a male-dominated history of exploration and landscape representation; to restore lost and unsung women’s voices; and to reveal to readers an unfamiliar, hitherto hidden natural world: her nature, seen through women’s eyes in the past and present.
Gladfest 2019: Charlotte Higgins - Red Thread
The tale of how the hero Theseus killed the Minotaur, finding his way out of the labyrinth using Ariadne’s ball of red thread, is one of the most intriguing, suggestive and persistent of all myths, and the labyrinth – the beautiful, confounding and terrifying building created for the half-man, half-bull monster – is one of the foundational symbols of human ingenuity and artistry. Charlotte Higgins tracks the origins of the story of the labyrinth in the poems of Homer, Catullus, Virgil and Ovid, and with them builds an ingenious edifice of her own. A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.