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What Does Bodily Freedom Mean Today? Olivia Laing

Festival of Ideas
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Crowdcast  |  Pay What You Can

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Olivia Laing explores the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to chart the long struggle for bodily freedom, from gay rights and sexual liberation to feminism and the civil-rights movement.

Drawing on her own experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and travelling from Weimar Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, Laing grapples with some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century, among them Nina Simone, Christopher Isherwood, Andrea Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag and Malcolm X.

Why are basic rights and freedoms again imperilled and how can ordinary human bodies resist oppression and reshape the world?

In conversation with writer Sian Norris.

Watch the recording on Crowdcast

Everybody book jacket

Olivia Laing’s Everybody is published by Picador. Buy a copy from Waterstones, our bookselling partners.

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Olivia Laing is the author of three acclaimed works of nonfiction, To the River, The Trip to Echo Spring and The Lonely City, which has been translated into 17 languages. Her first novel, Crudo, was a Sunday Times bestseller and won the 2019 James Tait Memorial Prize. She’s a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2018 was awarded a Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction. Laing writes on art and culture for many publications, including the Guardian, New York Times and frieze. Her collected writing on art, Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency, was published in 2020.

Image Credit: Sophie Davidson
Sian Norris

Sian Norris is a writer and journalist specialising in reproductive and LGBTIQ rights. Her work has been published by openDemocracy 50:50, the Guardian, the iNew StatesmanByline Timespolitics.co.uk and many more. Her book, Birth Violence, explores how the Far Right is attacking women’s reproductive rights in Europe and will be published by Verso in Autumn 2022. She is also the founder of the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival. Follow her on Twitter @sianushka

IMAGE CREDIT: DAVID STURDY

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