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The Empire Speaks Back

with Priyamvada Gopal

Labelled ‘Cambridge University’s top troll’ by the Daily Mail, Priyamvada Gopal is a senior academic at the University of Cambridge and critical public figure who regularly draws attention to racism and sexism in Britain. Join her for the launch of Insurgent Empire; a timely discussion of empire and an alternative history of our country’s proud tradition of ‘doing different’.

Priyamvada will be joined on stage by Chitra Ramaswamy, a freelance journalist and author of Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy.

Important information

Duration: c. 1 hour

Priyamvada Gopal

Priyamvada Gopal is University Reader in Anglophone and Related Literatures in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge and Fellow Churchill College. She is the author of Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence and The Indian English Novel: Nation, History and Narration.

Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent

Much has been written on how colonial subjects took up British and European ideas and turned them against empire when making claims to freedom and self-determination. The possibility of reverse influence has been largely overlooked. Insurgent Empire shows how Britain’s enslaved and colonial subjects were not merely victims of empire and subsequent beneficiaries of its crises of conscience but also agents whose resistance both contributed to their own liberation and shaped British ideas about freedom and who could be free. This book examines dissent over the question of empire in Britain and shows how it was influenced by rebellions and resistance in the colonies from the West Indies and East Africa to Egypt and India. It also shows how a pivotal role in fomenting dissent was played by anticolonial campaigners based in London, at the heart of the empire.

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Chitra Ramaswamy

Chitra Ramaswamy is an award-winning journalist with more than ten years’ experience. She cut her teeth at The Big Issue before moving to The Scotsman, where she became one of the newspaper’s leading columnists, book reviewers, interviewers and feature writers. Now a freelancer, Chitra writes regularly for a number of publications, including the Guardian, and often chairs events at festivals and regularly reviews on radio. Expecting is her first book.


Book four or more events at the City of Literature Weekend and save £1.50 per ticket. (Excludes Workshop: Postcard Stories with Jan Carson on Saturday 25 May)

In partnership with National Centre for Writing.

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