Thu, 13 Jun 2024 19:30 - 20:30

Staying Sharp: On Political Satire (In person)

Vital organ of democracy, barometer of the national mood and endless source of entertainment, political satire has been a staple of British society over hundreds of years. As we bound towards the next general election, we’re exploring this sharp, brilliant, game-changing facet of our culture, in its multitude of forms with some of the best working in the business today. Political cartoonist for the Guardian Ella Baron, stand-up comedian and host of The Mash Report, Nish Kumar, and author and comedy writer John O’Farrell, whose credits include Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You, speak to writer and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied about the work they do and why it matters.

Ella Baron is an award-winning political cartoonist and graphic novelist. She draws a regular political cartoon for the Guardian as well as contributing frequently to the Sunday Times and the Times. Her cartoons have also featured in the TLS, the FT, the Observer and the New Statesman. Solo exhibitions of Ella’s drawings have been held at The Cartoon Museum, Christies and the French Cultural Institute. A former London Library Emerging Writer, her debut graphic novel, INTERFACE will be published by Virago in 2026. 

Nish Kumar is a stand-up comedian, whose rave-reviewed solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival have been nominated for the Comedy Award for Best Show in both 2015 & 2016. He is host of his own topical show, Spotlight Tonight, on BBC R4 and has appeared on TV in shows including Q.I., Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, Have I Got News For You and his own satirical spoof news series, The Mash Report. Nish’s last show Your Power, Your Control is available on Sky and he will be touring his latest show Nish: Don’t Kill My Vibe later this year.

John O’ Farrell Is a multi-award-winning author, columnist and comedy writer. He was a scriptwriter and then panellist on Have I Got News For You, and a lead writer on 10 series of Spitting Image. His non-fiction books include An Utterly Impartial History of Britain and the political memoir Things Can Only Get Better and his novels include The Best a Man Can Get, May Contain Nuts and, most recently, Family Politics. His credits include Chicken Run and Murder Most Horrid for the screen and, for the stage, the hit musicals Something Rotten!, Mrs Doubtfire and Just For One Day. He co-hosts the comedy podcast We Are History and he is an ambassador of The London Library.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese diaspora writer, broadcaster and award-winning social advocate. Her books include two middle grade novels, You Must Be Layla and Listen, Layla, which she is now adapting for screen, and Talking About a Revolution, an urgent critique of contemporary culture and Stand Up and Speak Out Against Racism, a practical guide for children. Her critically acclaimed essays have been published widely, including in the bestselling It’s Not About The Burqa and The New Daughters of Africa. She is a Trustee of The London Library.

John O’Farrell's Family Politics and books by Yassmin Abdel-Magied will be available to purchase at the event and online through our partner bookshop Hatchards.

NB This event will take place in person at The London Library. Please see our Event Access Guidelines before you arrive. Doors (and the bar) open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. 

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