Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Celebrating Nelson Mandela: His Letters, His Legacy

17 July 2018, 6:30 pm9:00 pm

£15 – £25
Celebrating Nelson Mandela

Book Tickets

English PEN is excited to host a special one-off evening to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Esteemed guests from the worlds of literature, politics, journalism and activism will come together to perform readings of original letters written by Nelson Mandela during his time in prison, many of which have remained unpublished until now.

*JUST ANNOUNCED* MP for Tottenham David Lammy and Man Boooker Prize-winning poet and novelist Ben Okri join the line-up!

Produced and directed by the award-winning Josette Bushell-Mingo   OBE, the evening’s stellar line-up will include journalist Gary Younge, poet and novelist Jackie Kay, South African-Scottish writer and campaigner Zoe Wicomb, winner of the 2017 Ted Hughes Award Jay Bernard, actor and Artistic Director of the Young Vic theatre Kwame Kwei-Armah, and composer Errollyn Wallen.

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela will be published by Liveright on 10 July 2018. English PEN is thrilled that the book’s editor Sahm Venter and Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, who provided the foreword to the book, will also be involved in the evening’s celebrations. The letters provide a deeply personal view of Mandela’s imprisonment, painting an intimate portrait of a political activist who was as much a devoted husband, adoring father, dedicated student (studying for a law degree behind bars), and abiding friend.

English PEN is delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate and uphold Nelson Mandela’s legacy of championing human rights. Through the work of English PEN, a leading advocate for freedom of expression in the UK and around the world, thousands of letters are still being received by writers who, even today, find themselves persecuted and imprisoned for speaking out.

This event will be BSL interpreted, please contact the Union Chapel with any access requirements. 

Book Tickets


Mandela Logo


Union Chapel
19b Compton Terrace
London, N1 2UN United Kingdom
020 7226 1686


Hannah Trevarthen
020 73242536