Liberty Lecture 2020

In conversation: Elif Shafak and Sarah Churchwell with Martha Spurrier

24 September 2020, 18:00-19:00 | Online event

Join Elif Shafak, Sarah Churchwell, Martha Spurrier as they discuss human rights and civil liberties, and how these have been impacted during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Watch a recording of the event

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 50 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and chosen Blackwell’s Book of the Year. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow.

Sarah Churchwell is Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities and Professorial Fellow in American literature at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where she directs the Being Human festival, the UK’s national festival of the humanities. Her most recent book is Behold, America: The Entangled History of America First and the American Dream.

Martha Spurrier joined Liberty as Director in May 2016. She arrived from Doughty Street Chambers, where she specialised in defending access to justice and the rights of women, children and disabled people. She acted for bereaved families seeking answers after loved ones died in state care, represented victims of rape, domestic violence and trafficking who were failed by the police, brought claims on behalf of prisoners and immigration detainees who had been mistreated in custody and challenged attempts to curb press freedom, privacy and protest rights.
In 2015 Martha co-founded the ‘Act for the Act’ campaign, which put posters on trains, buses and billboards across the country telling the stories of men, women and children who had used the Human Rights Act when things went wrong in their lives. Martha was previously a lawyer at the mental health charity, Mind, and at the Public Law Project.

About Liberty

Liberty is an independent membership organisation. They challenge injustice, defend freedom and campaign to make sure everyone in the UK is treated fairly. They are campaigners, lawyers and policy experts who work together to protect rights and hold the powerful to account. They empower others to defend their own rights and the rights of their family, friends and communities. Their principles are guided by evidence and expertise – not political agenda, profit or popular opinion. They’re not afraid to speak uncomfortable truths or confront intolerance and abuse of power wherever they find it. Together they’ve been making the UK a fairer, more equal place since 1934.

This event is being run in partnership with Liberty, the Royal Holloway English Department, and the Institute of English Studies.