Posted by: jbwuk | February 21, 2011

International Women’s Day at the Festival

I spent Saturday night at a huge party for The Feminist Library which was celebrating its 35th birthday. There’s a palpable energy, passion as well as a swell in numbers to events such as these this past year, fuelled in part by the rampant cuts sweeping the nation, affecting almost every public service (including libraries). And the impact is growing. A friend reminded me of a quote from Winston Churchill. When asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he replied, “then what are we fighting for?”

This March 8th is the centenary of International Women’s Day. To mark the occasion Annie Lennox will be leading thousands of marchers across the millennium bridge, the South Bank Centre will be featuring a 3-day festival of performance, workshops and film inspired by women of the world. At Jewish Book Week we’ll be celebrating throughout the week, kicking off on Sunday 27th February with  Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues), talking about her latest book, The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.

You can also see Anat Hoffman, the prominent Israeli feminist activist who has taken the Israeli government to court over one hundred times.  Susannah Heschel (author of On Being A Jewish Feminist) will be talking about Jesus and the Jews with Miri Rubin, author of Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary (one of the most famous Jewish mothers of all time).

Maureen Lipman will be delighting us with a selection of comic monologues from her new book I Must Collect Myself.

And those are just the highlights from the first day.  We’ll also have one of the country’s most distinguished poets, Ruth Fainlight, New York Times” best selling author Allegra Goodman, multi-award winning author, Nicole Krauss and many more throughout the festival.

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