A collage of images from some of the previous Penguin Talks events

Penguin has launched a new partnership with charity Speakers for Schools to deliver a series of Virtual Penguin Talks, with authors streamed live to thousands of students at school and at home across the UK and Ireland.

In these unusual and challenging circumstances, the Talks will address the most pressing and prominent issues facing 14- to 18-year-olds as a result of COVID-19, including how to manage your mental health and anxiety and how to prepare for a challenging future jobs market. Anyone can tune into the events, which will be live streamed on the Penguin Platform Youtube Channel, and all students watching will receive a free copy of the author’s audiobook.

Penguin Talks launched in 2018, taking authors from across the Penguin Random House family of authors into secondary schools to talk to young people about issues they care about – from the future of the world of work, to what it means to be successful – with authors including Michelle Obama, Stormzy, Scarlett Curtis, Margaret Atwood and Yuval Noah Harari. 

We have also created a new Penguin Talks teaching resource hub for secondary school teachers. It includes a range of free teaching resources based on previous Talks events, which are linked to the PSHE (Personal Social Health Education) curriculum.

Our Virtual Penguin Talks join Speakers for Schools’ schedule of daily Virtual Talks for 11- to 18-year-old students. The Virtual Penguin Talks series kicks off with How to boss your mood with Chloe Brotheridge, author of The Anxiety Solution, and Sara Milne Rowe, author of The SHED Method on Thursday 30 April at 10:00am.

Upcoming virtual Penguin Talks

Elif Shafak & Afua Hirsch who will be discussing how to challenge inequality

How to challenge inequality, with Elif Shafak and Afua Hirsch

Thursday 4th June at 10:00am. Watch here.

Award-winning British-Turkish novelist, Elif Shafak, joins writer, journalist and broadcaster, Afua Hirsch, to discuss the widening inequalities across the world how we can challenge them.

  • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World


    'Expect vibrant, vivid and eye-opening descriptions of Middle Eastern life propelled by a tender storyline, all in Shafak's haunting, beautiful and considered prose' Vanity Fair

    'Incredibly sensuous and poetic and evocative' Pandora Sykes, The High Low

    'Richly uplifting... truly beautiful writing' Nicola Sturgeon

    'In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila's consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore...'

    For Leila, each minute after her death recalls a sensuous memory: spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the birth of a yearned-for son; bubbling vats of lemon and sugar to wax women's legs while men are at prayer; the cardamom coffee she shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each fading memory brings back the friends she made in her bittersweet life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her . . .

    'Simply magnificent, a truly captivating work of immense power and beauty, on the essence of life and its end' Philippe Sands

    'A vivid carnival of life and death, cruelty and kindness, love, politics and deep humanity. Brilliant!' Helena Kennedy

    'Elif Shafak brings into the written realm what so many others want to leave outside. Spend more than ten minutes and 38 seconds in this world of the estranged. Shafak makes a new home for us in words' Colum McCann

    'Elif Shafak's extraordinary 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World is a work of brutal beauty and consummate tenderness' Simon Schama

    'A rich, sensual novel... This is a novel that gives voice to the invisible, the untouchable, the abused and the damaged, weaving their painful songs into a thing of beauty.' Financial Times

    'One of the best writers in the world today' Hanif Kureishi

    'Haunting, moving, beautifully written - and based by an extraordinary cast of characters who capture the diversity of modern Turkey. A masterpiece' Peter Frankopan

    'Extraordinary' Guardian

    'Life-affirming' Stylist

  • Brit(ish)

  • The Sunday Times bestseller that reveals the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today

    You’re British.

    Your parents are British.

    Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British.

    So why do people keep asking where you’re from?

    We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch’s personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be – and an urgent call for change.

    The book for our divided and dangerous times’
    David Olusoga

Maya Jama and Dom&Ink who will be discussing how to build confidence

How to build confidence, with Maya Jama and Dom&Ink

Thursday 11th June at 14:00. Watch here.

British television and radio presenter Maya Jama joins freelance illustrator and author of Free to Be Me, DOM&INK, to discuss what confidence means to them, the barriers to developing confidence and how we can build our own confidence.

  • Free To Be Me

  • An LGBTQ+ journal for everyone - by writer, illustrator and utterly fabulous merman, Dom&Ink.

    Celebrate Pride and celebrate YOU with this rainbow coloured journal, packed with drag queens, activities, advice and the world's sassiest LGBTQ+ dinosaur: Brett the Sassysaurus!

    - Colour, design and glitter to your heart's content
    - Read quotes from real-life rainbow icons
    - Find out how to throw your own Pride Party
    - Learn about the history of gay rights
    Most importantly: celebrate being yourself and what makes YOU amazing!

    Warm, hilarious, caring and insightful, Free To Be Me will fill every reader with self-esteem, confidence, colour and pride.

  • Find out more

Previous virtual Penguin Talks

Chloe Brotheridge & Sara Milne Rowe

How to boss your mood

Chloe Brotheridge, author of The Anxiety Solution, joins Sara Milne Rowe, author of The SHED Method, in sharing their expertise and practical tips for managing anxiety and taking control of your mood during these unusual times. Watch here.

Helen Tupper & Sarah Ellis

How to prepare for the squiggly world of work

Authors of The Squiggly Career, Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis, share practical tools, exercises and actions to help you grow in confidence, stay curious and ultimately prepare for, and enjoy, the squiggly world of work. Watch here.


Malcolm Gladwell & Emma Dabiri

How to talk to strangers

Malcolm Gladwell, author of five international bestsellers including Talking to Strangers, joins academic and author of Don’t Touch My Hair, Emma Dabiri, to discuss the consequences of mis-communication, how to interview others and the art of storytelling.  Watch here

Watch previous Penguin Talks online

Yuval Noah Harari and Russell Brand on the future of work

In the inaugural Penguin Talk, in September 2018, Professor Yuval Noah Harari joined comedian Russell Brand to discuss the changes and decisions which will impact young people in the not-so-distant future.

Michelle Obama on the power of education and self-belief

In December 2018 and to mark the publication of her memoir, BecomingMichelle Obama paid a special visit to students in Islington, London, to about empowerment through education and the importance of self-belief.

Scarlett Curtis and Saoirse Ronan on what feminism means today

In May 2019, Scarlett Curtis, author of Feminists Don't Wear Pink, and actress Saoirse Ronan visited a Dublin school to discuss what being a feminist means and the power that young people have in the fight for gender equality.

Margaret Atwood and Ash Sarkar on activism and resistance

Fresh from her joint Booker win, in October 2019, Margaret Atwood and Ash Sarkar visited a college in Salford to discuss resistance, activism, and the literary legacy of The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments.

Stormzy and #Merky Books authors on finding your voice and using it

Fresh from her joint Booker win, in October 2019, Margaret Atwood and Ash Sarkar visited a college in Salford to discuss resistance, activism, and the literary legacy of The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments.

Marie Forleo and Cash Carraway on being successful

In February 2020, Marie Forleo, entrepreneur and author of Everything is Figureoutable, and Cash Carraway, author of Skint Estate, visited a school in Oval, London to talk about success and failure, while trying to answer the question: can anyone be successful?

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