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About the speakers

Kavita Puri

Kavita Puri works in BBC Current Affairs and is an award-winning TV executive producer and radio broadcaster. Her landmark three-part series Partition Voices for BBC Radio 4 won the Royal Historical Society's Radio and Podcast Award and its Public History Prize.

Hamid Ismailov

Hamid Ismailov is an award-winning Uzbek journalist and writer who was forced to flee Uzbekistan in 1992 due to what the state dubbed 'unacceptable democratic tendencies'. He came to the UK, where he took a job with the BBC World Service where he worked for 25 years. His works are banned in Uzbekistan.

Image credit: Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak, shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2019, is an inspiring, award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. She is also a political commentator. Writing in both Turkish and English, she is best known for her novels, The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Image credit: Zeynal Abidin

Chaired by Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal is an artist who writes. Much of his work is about the contingency of memory: bringing particular histories of loss and exile into renewed life. Both his artistic and written practice have broken new ground through their critical engagement with the history and potential of ceramics, as well as with architecture, music, dance and poetry. De Waal continually investigates themes of diaspora, memorial, materiality and the colour white with his interventions and artworks made for diverse spaces and museums worldwide.

His library of exile installation was created as a 'space to sit and read and be' and houses more than 2,000 books in translation, written by exiled authors.

Image credit: Ben McKee