April 14, 2020

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Literature Matters: RSL 200 – Stephen Fry and Meera Syal

Please note that this event is postponed until further notice.

Throughout 2020 the RSL will celebrate its bicentenary with RSL 200, an event series bringing together some of world’s best known writers to explore the impact of literature on their lives. In the first Literature Matters: RSL 200 event, RSL Fellows Stephen Fry and Meera Syal will discuss their writing across forms – from sketch comedy to poetry, independently and in collaboration, written and performed – that has elevated them each to the status of national treasure.

Stephen grew up in a house with colossal bookcases filled with classic works of literature, and would use them as medicine cabinets to treat his childhood. He has remarked that writing is a ‘newer technology – only five or six thousand years old’ by which ‘we can change utterance into permanence’, and when once asked for writing advice, he responded: ‘the important thing to do for those who want to liberate their writing is to be able to let go of their self-consciousness, to allow the words to write for them.’

Meera ‘never planned to be a writer.’ Yet in her fiction and screen writing, and her work for theatre and radio, she has not only found great critical acclaim but has broken down some of the barriers she has experienced as a British Asian writer and actor. She writes from her life, commenting that ‘when you’re a writer nothing is sacred; everything gets used’, and finds the importance of the arts in ‘empathy, sharing stories and reminding people what we share, not what makes us different.’

Stephen Fry was elected a Fellow of the RSL in 2019. He is an actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director and all-round national treasure. He has written and presented several documentary series, contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines, appears frequently on radio, reads for voice-overs and has written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles and his latest, More Fool Me. He has recently toured his one-man show Mythos based on his book  of the same name. 

Meera Syal was elected a Fellow of the RSL in 2017. She is an actor, author and screenwriter. Her first novel Anita And Me won the Betty Trask Award, was adapted for screen and is on the National Curriculum. Her many acting credits include Beatrice in the RSC’s Much Ado About Nothing and Zehrunissa in David Hare's Behind The Beautiful Forevers. She was writer/performer in the comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars At Number 42 (for which she was nominated for a BAFTA). Meera is the recipient of several awards including two International EMMYS. She was visiting Professor of Drama at Oxford University in 2012 and was awarded the CBE for Services to Drama and Literature in 2015.

Doors will open at 6.45pm.

Please note that this event includes a 30 minute interval.

For venue information, including accessibility please visit unionchapel.org.uk


April 14th, 2020 7:30 PM   through   9:30 PM
Union Chapel
19b Compton Terrace
United Kingdom
Event Fee(s)
Member Tickets
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