Refugee Council hosts Speak! - a literary evening featuring Harold Pinter, Monica Ali, Hari Kunzru, Beverley Naidoo and Diran Adebayo - Refugee Council
September 23, 2003

Refugee Council hosts Speak! – a literary evening featuring Harold Pinter, Monica Ali, Hari Kunzru, Beverley Naidoo and Diran Adebayo

Harold Pinter, Monica Ali, Hari Kunzru, Beverley Naidoo and Diran Adebayo feature in what will be a truly unique event supporting the invaluable work of the Refugee Council. It is an unmissable opportunity to hear readings from, and put questions to, five of today’s leading writers, in the wonderful surroundings of the Inigo-Jones designed ‘Actors’ Church’ in Covent Garden.

Hari Kunzru, author of The Impressionist, said:

“The hostility of the British media to refugees should be a matter for shame. We live in a rich country, and we have a legal duty to provide a minimum level of care for victims of conflict and persecution. At the moment our conduct as a society falls far short of this minimum. It is time we were called to account.”

The five authors come together in support of the Refugee Council, which is the leading charitable organisation in the UK working with asylum seekers and refugees. It provides practical support and advice to asylum seekers and refugees, and campaigns for their rights in the UK and abroad.

Fazil Kawani, Director of Communications at the Refugee Council said:

“We are extremely grateful for the support of these prestigious writers. Asylum seekers and refugees continue to be subject to discrimination and marginalisation. With public help, we can challenge the negative stereotypes and inaccuracies that pervade the asylum debate and shed some light on what is an important and often misunderstood issue.”

Harold Pinter said:

“The Refugee Council performs an extremely important function. It should be supported to the hilt.”

Guests will have the opportunity to meet the writers at a wine reception beforehand, and the chance to ask questions following the readings. All the writers are giving their time for free.

Notes to editors

The writers participating in the event are:

Harold Pinter – described by Tennessee Williams as “The greatest living contemporary playwright”. Playwright, director, actor, poet and political activist, Harold Pinter’s plays include The Birthday Party, The Caretaker and The Homecoming.

Monica Ali – short-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2003 for Brick Lane and one of twenty writers on the influential Granta Best of Young British list 2003.

Hari Kunzru – shortlisted for the 2002 Whitbread First Novel Award for The Impressionist.

Beverley Naidoo – winner of the Carnegie Medal 2000 for The Other Side of Truth.

Diran Adebayo – winner of the Saga Prize and the Betty Trask Award for Some Kind of Black.

Speak! will take place on Thursday 23rd October 2003 at St Paul’s, ‘The Actors’ Church’, Covent Garden, London. Doors open at 6.15pm, with the wine reception beginning at 6.30pm.

Tickets, which include the wine reception with the authors, cost £18 in advance, £20 on the door and £15 concessions, and can be obtained by calling 020 7820 3028.

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