Exclusive media partner: The New York Times


Receive regular updates about forthcoming events and other news from Intelligence Squared


You have been added to our mailing list and will now be among the first to hear about events.


The Power of Poetry: Words to Heal and Inspire

An evening of poetry and inspiration with William Sieghart

An evening of poetry and inspiration with William Sieghart, the acclaimed author of the bestselling Poetry Pharmacy books. Sieghart’s books have become a sensation, offering readers a prescription of verse to soothe, inspire and revive. At Intelligence Squared, we have had the privilege of hosting Sieghart before, along with stellar guests including Jeanette Winterson, Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West.

In December 2023, we welcomed Sieghart back for the launch of his final volume in the series, The Poetry Pharmacy Forever: New Prescriptions to Soothe, Revive and Inspire. Joining him in conversation was BBC broadcaster Sarah Montague. Together they explored the poems in the new book, each one expertly matched to tackle specific problems we all face, whether it’s coping with grief, environmental despair, or burnout. Alongside the discussion, actors performed the poems, bringing their emotional resonance to life and connecting us all as fellow human beings.



William Sieghart

Publisher, philanthropist and author of The Poetry Pharmacy Forever

Publisher and philanthropist. He established the Forward Prizes for Poetry in 1992 and founded National Poetry Day in 1994. His Poetry Pharmacy began touring in 2014; since then, and particularly since the publications of the enormously successful The Poetry Pharmacy (2017) and The Poetry Pharmacy Returns (2019), he has prescribed thousands of poems up and down the UK over hundreds of hours of in-person consultations. His new book is The Poetry Pharmacy Forever: New Prescriptions to Soothe, Revive and Inspire.

Sarah Montague

BBC journalist and broadcaster

Presenter of the World At One on BBC Radio 4, and HARDtalk on BBC World television. In 2018, she stepped down as one of the main anchors on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme after eighteen years.

Natascha McElhone

Actor of stage, screen and television

Actor of stage, screen and television. She has just finished filming Hotel Portofino, which is in its third season and earlier this year season 2 of Paramount’s Halo series (based on the game.) Before that she played Penny Knatchbull in season 5 of The Crown. Her other notable roles on TV are Laz in The First opposite Sean Penn (Hulu), The First Lady in Designated Survivor (Netflix), and she played Karen in Californication opposite David Duchovny. She has starred in numerous films, including The Truman Show with Jim Carrey, Solaris with George Clooney, The Devil's Own with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, Ronin opposite Robert De Niro and Surviving Picasso with Anthony Hopkins. Among her independent credits are Lisa Cholodenko’s Laurel Canyon with Christian Bale and Frances McDormand, Mr Church opposite Eddie Murphy and most recently the title role in Carmen, a beautiful coming of age fairy tale set in Malta, based on a true story.

Sheila Atim

Olivier Award-winning actor of stage and screen

Actor who has been critically acclaimed for her work on stage and screen. She was nominated for the BAFTA EE Rising Star in 2023, awarded the Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022, named as a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2021, appeared in Variety’s ’10 Brits to Watch’ and Forbes ’30 Under 30’ list in 2020, and was awarded an MBE for services to drama in 2019. She has won two Olivier Awards, a Critics' Circle Award, the Clarence Derwent Award, has been nominated at the Evening Standard Awards, and for two NAACP Image Awards. Her film credits include A24’s All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt; The Woman King starring alongside Viola Davis; Netflix’s Bruised alongside Halle Berry; Marvel’s Doctor Strange & The Multiverse of Madness, and Robert Zemeckis's Disney live-action adaptation of Pinocchio. Her TV credits include Golden Globe-winning limited series The Underground Railroad; Harlots; The Pale Horse; The Irregulars; The Feed and Bounty Hunters. She has made a considerable impact on the London theatre scene, not only as an actress but also as a singer, playwright, and composer. She was awarded Olivier Awards in 2022 and 2018 for her performances in Constellations and Girl from the North Country. Other theatre credits include Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. As a creator, Sheila wrote Anguis, which was performed at the Edinburgh Festival, and also composed the music for Che Walker's Wolf Cub at the Hampstead Theatre.