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The Linen Hall Enlightenment Festival is back!

The Linen Hall Library is looking forward to welcoming you to the second part of the Enlightenment Festival 2022! 

The Linen Hall Library Enlightenment Festival is designed to highlight themes emanating from the great European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries. Keywords that resonated throughout the Enlightenment, such as reason, progress, individuality, and tolerance, underpin the focus of the festival events.  

During the second part of the Enlightenment Festival, we will welcome the American novelist and essayist Siri Hustvedt, author Carlo Gebler, former Obama aide and speechwriter Ben Rhodes, the renowned author Jeanette Winterson and many more. 

The programme will include debates about current issues such as social morality, the role of Belfast in the anti-slavery movement, and events and performances spotlighting prominent figures from the Enlightenment such as Scottish poet Robert Burns and the composer Mozart. 

We look forward to seeing you all there!

‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, a conversation

Date: This event has been postponed due to illness and it will be rescheduled.

The Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, is a postcolonial feminist prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. A novel that explores the legacy of slavery, slave trade and abolition and it is considered one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

Join us for a conversation with the broadcaster, journalist, and filmmaker Bidisha and the historian Jonathan Wright (Maynooth University) facilitated by Carlo Gebler. The speakers will explore the context of the novel in contemporary culture, the unheard voices today, and the facts and myths about Belfast’s role in the anti-slavery movement during the Enlightenment (…) more

Wide Sargasso Sea’, a performed reading

Date: This event has been postponed due to illness and it will be rescheduled.

Amidst a garden of Caribbean flowers, the mezzo-soprano Ruby Philogene (MBE) will perform American spirituals and European songs inspired by the Wide Sargasso Sea, while actors will be reading excerpts from the novel (…) more

‘The mixed legacy of the Enlightenment’, with Siri Hustvedt

Date: Wed 27 April 2022 | Time: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm | ONLINE

Join us for an online conversation with the best-selling American novelist, Siri Hustvedt. Siri will discuss the mixed legacy of the Enlightenment period and she will explore the philosophy of biology and feminism, mind and body dualism, and the relationship between individualism and the contemporary neo-liberal reality (…) more

‘Democracy under threat?’, with Ben Rhodes

Date: This event has been postponed due to illness and it will be rescheduled.

The author, and former advisor and speechwriter to President Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes is meeting Carlo Gebler for an online conversation about democracy, nationalism, and authoritarianism today. For his new book, ‘After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made’, Rhodes visited dozens of countries and worked with politicians, activists, and dissidents (…) more

‘Artificial Intelligence: How do we live and love today?’, with Jeanette Winterson

Date: Fri 29 April 2022 | Time: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm |

Join the renowned best-selling author Jeanette Winterson in a conversation about her latest book 12 Bytes. After years of research drawing on years of research into artificial intelligence, Winterson asks challenging questions about humanity, art, religion, politics, and the way we live and love today (…) more

Burns & Mozart – A Pre-Concert Conversation

Date: Tue 26 April 2022 | Time: 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm | ONLINE

Kirsteen McCue is a Professor of Scottish Literature and Song Culture, and Co-Director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies (University of Glasgow). Patrick Mackie is a poet, visiting fellow at Harvard and author of ‘Mozart in Motion: His Work and his Work in Pieces.’ The two experts will explore the work and the very different lives the two artistic geniuses led during the Enlightenment period (…) more

Burns and Mozart – A Strange Concord Recital
Date: Sat 30 April 2022 | Time: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm | Presbyterian Assembly Hall, Assembly Buildings, Belfast BT1 6DW

This specially devised concert features the internationally acclaimed Scottish artists, Janis Kelly (soprano) and Iain Burnside (piano). The duo will perform arias and songs by Mozart and poems by Robert Burns (…) more

Future Youth: A New Social Contract
Date: Sat 30 April 2022 | Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The theory behind the Enlightenment’s Social Contract detailed the relationship between government and the people. Two teenagers from Northern Ireland and two from Scotland discuss their social contract with regard to government, authority, and education. Do social contracts need to be re-examined and what value do they place on education in the context of their future lives? (…) more