Sun, 30 Apr 2023 18:00 - 19:15

Lit Fest: 5x15: Science & Miscellaneous (In person & online)

The London Library’s Science & Miscellaneous section, housed in the atmospheric 1890s grille-floored Back Stacks, has its own unique and gloriously idiosyncratic classification system, designed for browsers and book explorers to make unexpected discoveries. Disparate subjects jostle up against each other in wonderfully evocative juxtapositions – Death, Dentistry and Devil &c or Post Office, Poultry, Predictions, for example. 

To celebrate the Library’s weird and wild heart, we have teamed up with 5x15 to bring five acclaimed speakers (and Library members), each taking a shelfmark and sharing their Science & Miscellaneous-inspired stories for 15 minutes, including poet and playwright Inua Ellams on 'Music', bestselling author Kate Summerscale on 'Fear', award-winning filmmaker Margy Kinmonth on 'War & Peace', film critic Danny Leigh on 'Typewriters' and legendary journalist and biographer Philip Norman on 'Press'.

Inua Ellams is a Nigerian-born, UK-based poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer who has written for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the BBC. His published books of poetry include Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, #Afterhours, The Half-God of Rainfall and, recently, The Actual, his first full collection. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth Barber Shop Chronicles sold out two runs at England’s National Theatre.

Margy Kinmonth is a multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her recent film Eric Ravilious – Drawn To War played in cinemas across the UK and features Alan Bennett, Grayson Perry, Ai Weiwei and Robert Macfarlane. Other films include Looking For Lowry with Ian McKellen, the BAFTA nominated War Art with Eddie Redmayne and Naked Hollywood, winner of the BAFTA for Best Documentary Series. She is currently making a film about women war artists.

Danny Leigh is the film critic of the Financial Times. As a journalist, he has written for the FT since 2012 and The Guardian since 1997, with a focus on the meeting points of film, culture and politics. He has also worked as a broadcaster, co-hosting BBC One's long-running Film show for seven years, and making TV and radio documentaries on subjects from boxing movies to the career of David Lynch to class in modern Britain. In the 2000s, he also wrote two novels published by Faber. He is now writing a third.

Philip Norman joined the Sunday Times at the age of twenty-two, soon gaining a reputation for his profiles of figures such as Elizabeth Taylor, P. G. Wodehouse and Colonel Gaddafi. Shout! his ground-breaking biography of the Beatles, was an international bestseller and he has written the definitive lives of Sir Elton John, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. His latest book is a memoir, We Danced On Our Desks: Brilliance and backstabbing at the Sixties' most influential magazine.

Kate Summerscale’s number one bestselling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2008, was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and was adapted into a major ITV drama. The Wicked Boy won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and The Haunting of Alma Fielding was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. Her most recent book, The Book of Phobias and Manias: A History of the World in 99 Obsessions, was a Times Books of the Year.

5x15 is one of the UK's leading producers of public-facing spoken-word events. Founded by Rosie Boycott, Daisy Leitch and Eleanor O’Keeffe, 5x15 brings world leading figures to speak to audiences to spark ideas and inspiration. 

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by Fondation Jan Michalski

Books by all festival contributors are available to buy from our partner bookshop Hatchards.

N.B. This event will take place in person at The London Library and will be livestreamed. If you are joining us in person, please see our  Event Access and COVID Guidelines before you arrive. Doors (and the bar/cafe) will be open from 10.30am that day. The livestream will begin on YouTube from 6pm and will be available to watch live or at any time after the event, using the same link.  

If you purchase an online ticket, you will be sent a viewing link 24 hours before the event begins. If you do not receive a link, please check your junk mail or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Access all Lit Fest events online with The London Library Lit Fest Online Pass. You may also be interested in Lit Fest: Anthology; Encyclopaedia; Index - a cultural history of collation (In person & online)

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