RSL Members: To book your Member and guest tickets, remember to register and log in.

This hybrid event will be presented live at the British Library and online via the British Library Player.

Free for RSL Members and Fellows, who can also book one discounted guest ticket (£5 in-person/£3 online). Digital Events Passholders can attend online for free.

Join as a Member today or buy a Digital Events Pass

Public tickets can be purchased from the British Library from Monday 27 September. 


‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.’
-The Queen, Through the Looking-Glass 

As part of our popular ‘What’s So Great About…’ series, we celebrate 150 years since the publication of Through the Looking-Glass, with a discussion of Lewis Carroll’s work. Live from New York City, Joyce Carol Oates will join a panel on stage at the British Library featuring Chris Riddell, Patrice Lawrence and Irenosen Okojie.

Countless retellings and adaptations pay homage to the enduring popularity of Carroll. This panel discussion will celebrate – and interrogate – his work and legacy, spanning two centuries of shifting tastes and opinions.

In addition, Chris Riddell will be illustrating the panel live on stage in the style of John Tenniel’s original Alice. Joyce Carol Oates as the Red Queen – what more could you wish for?


Joyce Carol Oates is a novelist, critic, playwright, poet and author of short stories, one of America’s most respected literary figures. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde and the recently released novel Breathe. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University and a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction.

Chris Riddell OBE is an illustrator, author and political cartoonist for the Observer. He has enjoyed great acclaim for his books for children which have won a number of major prizes, including the prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal an unprecedented three times, and the Costa Book Award. Chris was the 2015-2017 Children’s Laureate and, in 2019, he was awarded an OBE for services to children’s literature. This year, Chris has illustrated a new edition of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll and in 2020 he also illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Patrice Lawrence is an award-winning writer. Her debut novel, Orangeboy, won the Waterstone’s Book Prize for Older Readers and the YA Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Award. Her second novel, Indigo Donut, won the Crime Fest Best Crime Fiction for Young Adults and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize.  She won the inaugural Jhalak Prize for Children and Young People for Eight Pieces of Silva, which also won the Crime Fest Best Crime Fiction for Young Adults. Lawrence was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours list. She is the first writer ambassador for the young people’s creative writing charity, First Story.

Irenosen Okojie MBE FRSL was elected as a Fellow of the RSL in 2018 and currently serves on its Council. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, won a Betty Trask Award. Her short stories have been published internationally, and her collection Speak Gigantular was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Saboteur Awards, and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award.


In partnership with