Letters That Changed The World

With Simon Sebag Montefiore and Kate Mosse

Thursday 28 February 2019, 7pm | Emmanuel Centre

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Letters That Changed The World

Nothing beats the immediacy and authenticity of a letter. Letters grant us a glimpse into fascinating lives, whether through the eyes of a genius, a monster or of an ordinary person. Letters also resonate, often many years later, with people who were never meant to see them. They allow us to travel through time and space to share the thoughts of men and women from places, eras and cultures quite different from our own.

Following on from Intelligence Squared’s acclaimed events on great speeches and poetry, when Carey Mulligan, Simon Russell Beale, Helena Bonham Carter and other stars took to our stage, we now present Letters That Changed The World, based on award-winning historian Simon Sebag Montefiore’s new book Written in History. Joining him on stage will be No 1 bestselling novelist Kate Mosse. Together they will discuss letters by Michelangelo, Catherine the Great, Sarah Bernhardt, Nelson Mandela, Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing and Leonard Cohen. Some are inspiring, some unsettling, others express foreboding and despair. Many celebrate love and sex.

A cast of leading actors will bring the letters to life on stage. Join us on February 28th and discover the bravery, beauty and visceral immediacy in these letters.


Simon Sebag Montefiore

Prizewinning historian and novelist whose bestselling books have been published in over 48 languages and are being developed for the screen by producers such as Angelina Jolie, Lionsgate, Universal, Netflix, 21st Century Fox and FilmFour. He is the author of the Moscow Trilogy of novels, and has won prizes for both fiction and non-fiction. He has sold several original ideas to be developed as drama series or movies. Catherine the Great and Potemkin was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and is being developed as a feature film by Angelina Jolie. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won the British Book Awards in History.

Kate Mosse

International bestselling author, best known for her multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and for her gothic fiction, including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is adapting for the stage. Her latest novel is The Burning Chambers, the first in an epic historical adventure series. Non-fiction titles include The House: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera House and Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty. She has also written four plays and is curating a collection of short stories inspired by Wuthering Heights to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Emily Brontë’s birth in 2018. She is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and Deputy Chair of the Royal National Theatre.


Razia Iqbal

One of the main presenters of Newshour, the flagship international news and current affairs programme on BBC World Service radio. She also regularly presents The World Tonight on Radio 4. She was the BBC’s arts correspondent for 10 years and has been a judge on numerous book prizes.


To be announced.


Speakers and performers subject to to change.