Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop
Festival EventThis event is a part of Edinburgh's Radical Book Fair: Our Fight 2022 series. Click to view more from this festival.

To Speak Freely

Featured Speakers

Kübra Gümüşay, Kavita Bhanot, chaired by Layla Benitez-James

This event is a part of Edinburgh's Radical Book Fair: Our Fight 2022 series. Click to view more from this festival.

“To humans, language in all its facets – its vocabulary, word forms, tenses – is as water to fish. It is the stuff our thoughts and lives are made of, which moulds us and influences us without our being fully aware of it.” Kübra Gümüsay

We invite you to a lunchtime discussion between minds shaped not only by language, but by the exchange and negotiation between them - to ponder the politics of language in shaping lives.

Activist and writer Kübra Gümüsay is the author of Speaking and Being: how language binds us and frees us. She joins us for a livestreamed virtual conversation with Kavita Bhanot, co-editor of the groundbreaking anthology Violent Phenomena, a collection of essays on translation and colonialism, chaired by poet and translator Layla Benitez-James. Together, there brilliant thinkers and creators explore how hierarchies between languages shape our ability to speak and to create, as communities and individuals. What does linguistic equality look like and when are we really speaking freely?

Please note that all speakers at this panel appear remotely, with the conversation livestreamed at the Assembly Roxy.

This event is supported by the Goethe-Institut Glasgow

Kübra Gümüşay is a bestselling author, speaker and founder of award-winning organisations and campaigns. She is currently a Mercator Senior Fellow at CRASSH and LCFI, University of Cambridge, researching just futures and real utopias. She is the author of the bestselling book Speaking and Being and founder of several award winning campaigns and associations – most recently eeden, a feminist co-creation space in Hamburg and future_s, a feminist research and advocacy organisation for desirable futures. In 2018, Forbes Magazine selected her as one of “30 under 30” in Europe. As of 2022 Gümüşay is a Senior Mercator Fellow at the Centre for Research in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and a Visiting Fellow at Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

Kavita Bhanot is ECR Leverhulme Fellow at Leicester University. She wrote the landmark essay 'Decolonise not Diversify' in 2015 and has edited three short-story collections, including Too Asian, not Asian Enough and Book of Birmingham. She co-edited Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation (Tilted Axis) with Jeremy Tiang. Her translation of Anjali Kajal's Hindi short stories won a 2021 Pen Translates award and will be published by Comma Press (2023). She co-founded Literature Must Fall and is organising Jaag, a Punjabi Literature Festival which will take place in 2023. She is a reader and mentor with The Literary Consultancy and is a trustee for Comma Press and Wasafiri.

Layla Benitez-James is a 2022 NEA fellow in translation and the author of God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode but He Had to Make Sure, selected by Major Jackson for Cave Canem’s Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and published by Jai-Alai Books. More writing can be found in Black Femme Collective, Poetry London, The London Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, Latino Book Review, Acentos Review, and Asymptote Journal, and poetry translations are forthcoming in Copper Nickel and Poetry London. Layla is a 2022-2023 National Book Critics Circle fellow and has written reviews for Poetry Foundation's Harriet Books.

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