Sabrina Mahfouz pictured at the British Council Literature Seminar 2018
Sabrina Mahfouz dazzled audiences with her brilliant in-character readings. “Women are always a focus for me” - @SabrinaMahfouz describes the importance of female characters to her in her writing. #BritLitBerlin ©

British Council

"We're here at #BritLitBerlin to have profound conversations and hear from those that make voices heard through contemporary literature" @RachelLaunay

At the British Council Literature Seminar 2018, gender and sexuality took centre stage

The 33rd British Council Literature Seminar focused on gender, exploring the ways in which issues surrounding, feminism, masculinity and sexuality feature in different genres of contemporary UK writing. Some of the UK's most prominent contemporary authors came to  #BritLitBerlin 2018 and thrilled audiences with insightful discussions and readings from their latest works. 

British Council Germany were thrilled to welcome authors Kerry Hudson, Juno Dawson, Monqiue Roffey, Paul McVeigh, poet Nick Makoha and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz. The event was chaired by Bernardine Evaristo, Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Equality and diversity sit at the heart of British Council values, and having the opportunity to work with these British writers and present their work to a German, European and global audience on this theme was an enormous privilege.

"We have deepened our understanding of how class, race, sexuality and gender intersect to form multi-layers of identity" @BernadineEvari at #BritLitBerlin  

Making #BritLitBerlin 2018 accessible to young, diverse and global audiences

Juno Dawson pictured at #BritLitBerlin 2018
"Writing female characters was the first stage of my transition." @junodawson on the role of writing in understanding gender at #BritLitBerlin 2018 ©

British Council

Paul McVeigh pictured at #BritLitBerlin 2018
“Sex is really the ultimate conversation. Most of the time we are actors, constantly lying and hiding the stuff we really want to say. And you have this opportunity in sex to strip all of this away” @paul_mc_veigh ©

British Council

Monqiue Roffey pictured at #BritLitBerlin 2018
"The erotic charge that you are suddenly struck with...[that you then] have to manage until the other person might feel the same just brilliant to write about!" @moniqueroffey13 talks about the writing compelling narrative at #BritLitBerlin ©

British Council

Nick Makoha speaking on stage at #BritLitBerlin 2018
@NickMakoha spoke on how dealing with sexual harassment and the alpha-male view of the world requires stepping outside of oneself: "We need to start seeing the world through many different eyes. Otherwise, we're just living in our own private prisons." ©

British Council

Kerry Hudson pictured at #BritLitBerlin 2018
"@thatkerryhudson blew the crowd away"-@NickMakoha. Kerry Hudson talked about the power and importance of using libraries as a child, how it gave her access to books, a safe space and the seeds to her love of literature.  ©

British Council

Facebook competition for young writers

So sad #BritLitBerlin is over. Thank you @deBritish for selecting me as a winner for the poetry competition. I've felt like Charlie with his golden ticket for the past three days, and met incredible authors and other like-minded individuals along the way! @MarieTeresaHan3

We ran a creative competition where we asked people to either submit a short video of themselves explaining why the Seminar topic appealed to them, or to write a short poem on the Seminar’s theme. The winning entries were awarded with a free ticket to the entirety of the seminar.

We were delighted by the amount of interest and the quality of the entries we received - and the engagement and enjoyment of the winners at the event was palpable. 

Live stream and Twitter coverage

In order to be accessible to audiences near and far, we live streamed the whole of #BritLitBerlin 2018. Over three and a half thousand people tuned in live from 45 countries around the world. You can catch up on the whole seminar by watching the YouTube playlist.

We also engaged in live Twitter coverage using the hashtag #BritLitBerlin. Catch up on the best quotes and responses from the event. During the live event, the hashtag #BritLitBerlin created 5.7 million impressions - so keep sharing! 

Here are just a few of our favourite tweets: 

  • @bbckirstylang kicks off the afternoon panel - in society today we're having a "vigorous discussion... and this whole new language that is evolving" @ThatKerryHudson @NickMakoha @BernardineEvari @junodawson #BritLitBerlin - @deBritish
  • Had such a fab time at #BritLitBerlin this weekend. Am now up to my eyeballs in inspiration. Thanks @deBritish @RachelLaunay @SabrinaMahfouz @Okwonga @NickMakoha @paul_mc_veigh and actually everybody else who was there. - @CharlieDupre 
  • Home again to lovely Liverpool. My mind is bursting with ideas from exceptional people & writers: @BernardineEvari @junodawson @paul_mc_veigh @NickMakoha @moniqueroffey13 @SabrinaMahfouz @ProfMarkStein Can't thank @deBritish enough for the experience. - @ThatKerryHudson
  • Don't even have the sentences to say how truly inspiring the #britlitberlin seminar is. @moniqueroffey13 and @junodawson absolutely KILLED it this morning. Now off to do panel of gender and feminism on *4hrs sleep*... - @ThatKerryHudson
  • Excellent event u curated, @BernardineEvari This will make waves! Great to be involved. Thanks. @deBritish #BritLitBerlin 2018 - @ProfMarkStein
  • The dense specificity of literature can assist in the mainstreaming of issues surrounding gender and sexuality. This is essential for our times. I hope #BritLitBerlin has helped in the propulsion of this understanding. #lovewins #wereallhuman @deBritish - @curzonlr

Instagram takeover

Engaging with younger audiences during this year’s Seminar meant we also took to Instagram. The poet Nick Makoha took over of the British Council Europe account posting pictures and stories from his experience as a  #BritLitBerlin featured writer, as well as from the workshops in Berlin schools he held in advance of the seminar. Thank you, Nick, for posting a total of 51 Instagram stories over two days as well as your usual Instagram posts! 

Closing party with BBXO

We were delighted at #BritLitBerlin to host BBXO in their debut performance!

Our audience was the first to be able to hear and dance to BBXO's new electronic blues collection. Krisz Kreuzer from Brixtonboogie, Hamburg, and poet Musa Okwonga launched their music project at our closing party. 

External links