Cambridge Literary Festival

Fri 19 - Sun 21 Apr 2024

Wheelchair accessible venue
Old Divinity School / Cambridge Union

Hear from our Fellows at this year's festival

Cambridge Literary Festival is a much-loved and regular highlight in the literary scene, drawing large audiences from Cambridge and the rest of the UK.

As a partner of Cambridge Literary Festival, the British Academy is supporting the following events featuring Fellows of the British Academy at this year's Spring Festival:

  • The Plague | Jacqueline Rose FBA
  • Missing Persons, or My Grandmother’s Secrets | Clair Wills FBA
  • May Day | Jackie Kay Hon FBA with Ali Smith
  • The Russian Revolution 1914-1924 | Robert Service FBA

Please find more information and links to purchase tickets for each event below.

The Plague - Jacqueline Rose

Book tickets

One of the most prominent feminist and cultural critics of recent times, Professor Jacqueline Rose FBA, presents her compelling book, The Plague. Rose’s sharp collection of essays imagines a world in which a respect for death might exist alongside a fairer distribution of wealth.

In conversation with Marina Benjamin

Speaker: Professor Jacqueline Rose FBA, Professor of Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London

Date: 19 April, 8:00-9:00pm

Venue: Old Divinity School

Missing Persons, or My Grandmother’s Secrets - Clair Wills

Book tickets

How could a whole family and a whole country abandon unmarried mothers and their children, erasing them from history? Cultural historian Professor Clair Wills FBA delves into her compelling family history. A detective story, memoir, cultural history and devastating work of literary non-fiction, Wills’ book unearths the story of her unknown cousin and of Ireland’s missing children.  

In conversation with Sinéad Gleeson

Speaker: Clair Wills, Professor of English, University of Cambridge

Date: 21 April, 6:00-7:00pm

Venue: Old Divinity School

May Day - Jackie Kay with Ali Smith

Book tickets

Much-loved poet Professor Jackie Kay Hon FBA returns to Cambridge to present her hotly anticipated new collection, May Day. Kay’s latest poems span decades of political activism, from her Glaswegian childhood, through the feminist, LGBT+ and anti-racist movements of the 80s and 90s, and up to the present day when a global pandemic intersects with the BLM movement. Join us for an unmissable evening of profundity and poetry.

In conversation with Ali Smith

Speaker: Jackie Kay, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Newcastle

Date: 21 April, 8:00-9:00pm

Venue: TTP Stage (Cambridge Union)

The Russian Revolution 1914-1924 - Robert Service

Book tickets

Acclaimed historian of twentieth and twenty-first century Russia, Professor Robert Service FBA returns with an enthralling history of the Russian Revolution. His vivid, revisionist account spans from the outbreak of WWI to Lenin’s death in 1924. Drawing on little-known diaries of ‘ordinary’ people (peasants and account clerks), Service traces Russia’s tortuous path through war, revolution and civil war.

In conversation with Professor David Reynolds FBA

Speaker: Robert Service, Emeritus Professor of Russian History, University of Oxford

Date: 21 April, 8:00-9:00pm

Venue: Old Divinity School

In partnership with:

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