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

The new Virtual Penguin Talks series, in partnership with Speakers for Schools, focuses on issues which matter most to young people right now, including how to manage anxiety and how prepare for the future world of work.

Starting on Thursday 30 April, weekly talks from our authors will be streamed live to Penguin Platform’s Youtube channel and they join Speakers for Schools series of twice daily Virtual 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.

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.

Re-watch some of the virtual Penguin Talks which have taken place so far: 

How To Boost 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.

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