Enemies of Greatness: Literature and Freedom

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Who this event is for

  • Everyone


Corpus Christi College


Literature cannot exist without freedom; and literature is primarily about freedom. But how much has the literature of our times become subject to mental and cultural restrictions? Are there expectations and pressures brought to bear on writers that subtly undermine the freedom of their imaginations? How much of literature has been culturally desired and determined? Can too much freedom make writers unengaged? Can too little freedom make them focus too much on the bars of their imprisonment?

Booker Prize winner Ben Okri, best-selling novelist Joanne Harris and respected American scholar and writer Jessica Harris discuss the urgent issue of literature and freedom, an issue at the very heart of our troubled times.

Is there a secret orthodoxy that determines what a writer cannot write? Are readers as free as they could be, or are they too victims of unfreedom? What would it take to unleash the mutual power and freedom of writers and readers? And what would be its effect?

This is a debate about what it means to be aware, as writers and readers.