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  • Image: from left Amelia Earhart, Björk, from 'Modern Women', published by Frances Lincoln

Word Nights | Women Who Made the Modern Age

Writer Kira Cochrane visits CAST shortly after International Women’s Day to discuss the influential subjects of her latest book Modern Women. Cochrane is Opinion Editor for The Guardian and was previously a features writer for the paper, and Women’s Editor from 2006 to 2010. Modern Women is a celebration of some of the inspiring women who have changed the world through their lives, work and actions. From suffragettes to scientists, activists to artists, politicians to pilots and writers to riot grrrls, the women included have all paved the way for gender equality.

Kira will talk about how contemporary events have cast the achievements of these extraordinary women in a fresh light. She will discuss how their lives also enable bigger stories to be told: the suffrage movement, the civil rights struggle, advances in science and technology, the push for artistic freedom and the importance of equality in all sections of society.

The book covers well-known names including Virginia Woolf, Katharine Hepburn, Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, Ada Lovelace and Nina Simone, but Kira also looks into the lives of those arguably less well known, including filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché, vaudevillian Vesta Tilley and strike leader Jayaben Desai.

International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The public programme at CAST is supported by Arts Council England, as part of the Groundwork programme 2016-18, which has been awarded Ambition for Excellence funding. Ambition for Excellence is a new programme aimed at stimulating and supporting ambition, talent and excellence across the arts sector in England. The fund aims to have significant impact on the growth of an ambitious international-facing arts infrastructure, especially outside London.

‘Word Nights’ is a series of occasional literary evenings programmed by Colin Midson.

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