21 September 2018
Yuval Noah Harari

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari. Credit: Olivier Middendorp

On 28 September global phenomenon Professor Yuval Noah Harari will be taking to the stage at Lilian Baylis Technology School in Kennington, South London, for the first in Penguin’s new series of talks for the next generation of UK readers: Penguin Talks.

Russell Brand

Russell Brand

Hosted by comedian Russell Brand, the inaugural event will bring together 300 young people from Lilian Baylis alongside other local schools, colleges and youth clubs in the area – to hear Harari talk about some of the ideas he explores in his latest Sunday Times bestseller, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (published by Jonathan Cape), and to ask him questions. This will be Prof. Harari’s first ever talk specifically for young people in the UK. 

Written to empower people to join in the debate about the future of our species, 21 Lessons tackles contemporary issues such as Brexit, fake news, immigration and the future of welfare head-on for the first time. During the talk Prof. Harari will turn his mind to some of the most urgent questions facing every human being, with a particular focus on changes and decisions which will impact young people in the not-so-distant future, including the future of education and the job market.

This free event will be the first in a programme of creative talks hosted by Penguin for young people across the UK, which give the audience the opportunity to both hear from and directly question a world-renowned thinker, writer or influential figure from the Penguin Random House family of authors. The inaugural event brings together Prof. Harari’s wish to give back to UK audiences and to draw on his roots as an educator, with Penguin’s social outreach to local communities as part of its ambition to close the creativity gap. The Penguin Talks programme aim to help equip young people for the future by introducing them to new ideas and perspectives, and broadening their understanding of issues which speakers feel to be particularly prevalent for this generation.

The hour-long event on 28th September will be opened by Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UK, followed by an address from Prof. Harari, an ‘in conversation’ discussion between him and Russell Brand, and an interactive Q&A session with the audience. Penguin and Prof. Yuval Noah Harari will be giving all attendees a free copy of 21 Lessons, and will offer curriculum-based resources for teachers to enable young people in classrooms across the UK to engage with the themes and issues discussed. The content from the talk will be available for free online to enable access for young people across the country.

Yuval Noah Harari

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari (credit Olivier Middendorp)

 

Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UK, said: “I can’t think of anyone more perfect to launch our new Penguin Talks series. As one of the world’s foremost contemporary thinkers and one of our bestselling authors, Prof. Yuval Noah Harari’s arguments on the future of humankind address urgent issues that need to be heard by everyone, particularly by younger generations.

“Connecting readers with great writing and ideas is part of Penguin Random House’s DNA, rooted in our founder Allen Lane’s mission to make good books available to all. Building on this heritage, the ambition behind Penguin Talks is to ensure that young people from across the country are given access to these writers and feel inspired and empowered to engage in their debates.”

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari said: “Nobody has any idea what the world will look like in 2050, except that it will look very different from today. I do my best to map the different possibilities, but my vision is obviously limited. So I am thrilled about the opportunity to talk with young people about how they see the future. What questions bother them most? What would they like the grown-ups to focus on? And what are they doing right now to shape the future? I am grateful for the Penguin Talks for making this happen.”

Gary Phillips, Head Teacher at Lilian Baylis School, added: “As a huge fan of Yuval Noah Harari myself, I think it’s fantastic that our students are being given the opportunity to hear and respond to Harari’s ideas first-hand. No matter what subjects they are studying or what they want to do in the future, the issues Harari covers are universally relevant and important to their generation. I am sure it will be a hugely enjoyable and thought-provoking afternoon.”

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