How do the books you read inspire you in your day-to-day life? When times are tough, are there certain novels, poems or passages that help you to navigate your way through the darkness?

Hosted by poet, Ralph Dartford, this event will explore how the act of reading can help us centre and empower ourselves amidst the turmoil of modern life and the chaos of contemporary culture, examining the role of literature as a meditative and inspirational tool to aid us in overcoming tribulation.

Writer and activist, Mona Eltahawy, charity director and ex-prisoner, Pete White, and actor-playwright, Sudha Bhuchar, will discuss the works that have helped them through some of the most difficult periods of their lives. Each with their own personal and very different story, our panelists will come together through the shared experience of reading through adversity.

About The Speakers

Sudha Bhuchar

Sudha is an actor, playwright and artistic visionary. She is co-founder of Tamasha Theatre company, and her acting career includes playing Sonia in Coronation Street. Sudha will make her first Disney appearance in the sequel of Mary Poppins in 2018, and she is producing a revival of her acclaimed play Child of the Divide for a national tour.

Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. She is the author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. Her commentaries have appeared in several publications and she is a regular guest analyst on various television and radio shows.

Photo by Dirk Eusterbrock

Pete White

Pete White is an ex-prisoner and now the originator and Chief Executive of ‘Positive Prison? Positive Futures’, a Scottish charity representing people with lived experience of punishment, working to reduce the harm caused by offending and re-offending in Scotland. He also sits on a number of Scottish Government committees relating to justice and prisons.

About The Chair

Ralph Dartford

Ralph Dartford is the author of Cigarettes, Beer and Love (Ossett Observer Presents 2013) and Recovery Songs (Valley Press 2019). His forthcoming third collection, Serotonin Songs will be published by Valley Press in 2021. Ralph is writer and tutor who mainly works with people who are in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. His spoken word performance show, Recovery Songs continues to tour nationally.