Penguin Talks, in partnership with Speakers for School, is a programme of free creative talks for young people across the UK and Ireland, giving them the opportunity to both hear from and directly question a world-renowned thinker, writer or influential figure from our family of authors.

The aim of Penguin Talks is to help equip young people for the future by introducing a new generation of readers to new ideas and perspectives, and broadening their understanding of issues which speakers feel to be particularly prevalent for this generation.

Virtual Penguin Talks

Virtual Penguin Talks, in partnership with Speakers for Schools, launched in April 2020 with talks from our authors streamed live to thousands of students worldwide during lockdown. The series of nine talks, hosted on Penguin Platform, focused on issues which mattered most to young people, including how to manage anxiety, challenge inequality and prepare for the future world of work.

How To Boss Your Mood, featuring clinical hypnotherapist and author of The Anxiety Solution, Chloe Brotheridge, and leading performance coach and author of The SHED Method, Sara Milne Rowe. In this talk, Chloe and Sara share how you can manage anxiety and take control of your mood during these uncertain times.

How to Prepare for the Squiggly World of Work, with authors Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis. In this talk, Helen and Sarah explore how to discover your super strengths, grow your confidence, and bounce back when things go wrong.

How to Talk to Strangers, where author of five international bestsellers including the recent Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell 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.

How to challenge inequality, with award-winning British-Turkish novelist, Elif Shafak, and writer, journalist and broadcaster, Afua Hirsch, who discuss the widening inequalities across the world how we can challenge them.

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

How to embrace your intersectionality, in which criminal barrister and author of A Dutiful Boy, Mohsin Zaidi, joins Youtuber and disability & LGBTQ activist, Jessica Kellgreen-Fozard, to discuss their intersectionality and how we can embrace our identity.

How to believe in yourself, featuring British MC, rapper, TV presenter and author of How to Be NarstieBig Narstie, joins youth worker and freelance writer, Ciaran Thapar, to discuss the importance of living your own life and believing in yourself.

How to be creative, with multi-award winning author, Marlon James, who joins British writer, journalist, broadcaster and curator, Ekow Eshun, to discuss what creativity means to them and we can be more creative in our lives.

How to get into publishing, with Penguin employees Simon Armstrong and Hannah Chukwu, as they share how the industry works, how books are made and how to get into publishing.

Previous Penguin Talks

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.

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

Yuval Noah Harari at Penguin Talks
Michelle Obama at Penguin Talks

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.

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.
 

Scarlett Curtis and Saoirse Ronan at Penguin Talks
Ash Sarkar and Margaret Atwood at Penguin Talks in Salford

In November 2019, Stormzy, international footballer Eniola Aluko, and #Merky Books authors Chelsea Kwakye, Ore Ogunbiyi and Derek Owusu visited Stormzy's old secondary school to talk about how to find your voice and use it.

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?

Stormzy at the #Merky Books Penguin Talks
Marie Forleo and Cash Carraway at their Penguin Talk

“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.”

Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK


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