Science Fiction and Activism Revisited

On 6 October 2014, English PEN hosted leading science fiction writers Nick Harkaway, Gwyneth Jones and James Smythe alongside top SF editor Anne Perry at Southbank Centre for ‘Science Fiction: Home of the Literary Activist?’. Continuing the conversation about the political and social aspects of reading and writing science fiction, the panel, chaired by Sophie Mayer, debated: what is it about the Sci-Fi genre that connects with activism and radical thinking?

Highlights included Nick Harkaway and Gwyneth Jones opening the evening with compelling short SF stories, Anne talking about the intersections between youth, technology and science fiction, and James… quoting Whitney Houston.

Listen to extracts from the discussion on the English PEN SoundCloud page:

English PEN held a number of events in 2014 inspired by early PEN president, author, visionary and human rights campaigner HG Wells. Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveller’s WifeHer Fearful Symmetry) delivered the inaugural PEN/HG Wells lecture at LonCon3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in August. Read an extract from the lively Q+A that followed Audrey’s lecture here. We were also delighted to be chosen as charity partner for the second annual Nine Worlds Geekfest, where English PEN Head of Campaigns Robert Sharp gave a ‘monsterclass’ on non-linear narratives.


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