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Letters That Changed The World

Letters grant us a glimpse into fascinating lives, whether through the eyes of a genius, a monster or of an ordinary person. Discover the bravery, beauty and visceral immediacy in letters by Michelangelo, Catherine the Great, Sarah Bernhardt, Rosa Parks, and Alan Turing.

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: Letters that Changed the World. Joining him on stage will be No 1 bestselling novelist Kate Mosse. Together they will discuss letters by Michelangelo, Catherine the Great, Sarah Bernhardt, Rosa Parks, 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 performers, including Young Vic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, rising star Jade Anouka, Dunkirk actor Jack Lowden, and West End star Tamsin Greig, will bring the letters to life on stage. Join us and discover the bravery, beauty and visceral immediacy in these letters.


Speakers

Chair

Razia Iqbal

BBC journalist and broadcaster


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.
Actors

Kate Mosse

International bestselling author


No 1 international bestselling novelist, non-fiction author and playwright, known for her multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy – ​Labyrinth, Sepulchre ​and​ Citadel – as well as her Gothic fiction, including The Taxidermist's Daughter, which she is currently adapting for the stage. Her latest novel ​The Burning Chambers, soon to be a major television series, is the first in an epic historical adventure quartet set against the backdrop of the Wars of Religion in France. She is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, chairs Platform events for the National Theatre and hosts the pre/post performance interview series at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Prizewinning historian and novelist


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. His latest book is Written in History: Letters that Changed the World.

Jade Anouka

Actor


Award-winning actor who starred in the Donmar Warehouse’ recent Shakespeare Trilogy of Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest where she played Mark Anthony, Hotspur and Ariel respectively.

Tamsin Greig

Award-winning actor widely acclaimed for her stage performances


Award-winning actor widely acclaimed for her stage performances, perhaps most notably playing the role of Malvolia in the National Theatre’s 2017 production of Twelfth Night. Her television roles include Green Wing and Episodes, and on film she has starred in Tamara Drewe and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Kwame Kwei-Armah

Artistic director of the Young Vic theatre


Artistic director of the Young Vic theatre. He is also an actor, playwright, singer and broadcaster. His plays include the award-winning Elmina’s Kitchen, which transferred from the National to the Garrick Theatre in 2005. His series of eight 15-minute films, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, will be shown on BBC4 in February this year.

Jack Lowden

Star of Dunkirk and Mary Queen of Scots


Scottish actor who has appeared in the BBC miniseries War & Peace, starred as an RAF fighter-pilot in Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk, and most recently as Lord Darnley in Mary Queen of Scots, opposite Saoirse Ronan.

 

Please note: actors may be subject to change