The London Library is one of the UK’s greatest literary institutions, providing a centre of creativity, inspiration and ideas for 180 years. It has had a unique impact on the country’s literary and artistic output and continues to do so today, with a borrowing collection containing over 1 million books and an extensive eLibrary. Well known members have included Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Bram Stoker, Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, Daphne du Maurier, Stanley Kubrick and Ian Fleming. Current writers in membership include Kazuo Ishiguro, AS Byatt, Raymond Antrobus, Simon Schama, Jessie Burton and Sarah Waters.

About the speakers

Salman Rushdie is the author of fourteen novels including Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Quichotte. A former president of PEN America and winner of the 2014 PEN Pinter Prize, Rushdie was knighted in 2007 for services to literature.

Nikita Lalwani is a novelist and screenwriter born in Rajasthan and raised in Wales. Her first book, Gifted, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Desmond Elliott Prize. The Village won a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered award and her latest,You People, is optioned for television by World Productions. She is a writer on the upcoming television series ‘The Offenders’, created by Stephen Merchant and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

A collaboration between

What is Common Currency?

English PEN sits at the intersection of literature and advocacy, championing the freedom to write and the freedom to read.

Common Currency is our centenary programme - a unique project that combines timely debates on freedom of expression, creative campaigning and a celebration of diverse voices. It seeks to ignite a national conversation around issues of freedom of expression, led by writers and readers.

Every event in our programme is inspired by one of three key themes, based on our 100-year history:

1. Free speech and democracy

2. Languages and ideas

3. Celebrating women