Marina Warner



Forms of Enchantment: Writings on Art and Artists by Marina Warner
Published by Thames & Hudson, September 2018

Inspiring and highly engaging, Forms of Enchantment unites the imaginations of artist, writer and reader, forging a reading experience which parallels the intrinsic pleasure of looking at art.

More info here

Marina Warner appointed Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy, 2018

14th December 2018
‘The Heroine’s Descent’ with Marina Warner at The National Theatre
‘All writing negotiates with the dead’, Margaret Atwood once remarked. Many heroes have gone down into the jaws of hell and brought back knowledge of the underworld – it’s almost a requirement: Odysseus, Theseus, even Jesus who harrowed hell – but far less attention has been given to women’s experience of the journey into the depths. Marina Warner will explore myths and stories, from Greek tragedy to Philip Pullman, in which female protagonists face demons and confront death.
Read more here.

12th December 2018 – 4 January 2019
What would you take if you had to leave home?
The 12 Star Gallery | The First 10 Years, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU
What can be spirited across borders, and what has to be left behind? What can you carry in your imagination, your language, your culture, your memories? And, after the scattering of things into the world, and the confusions of identity, how much is left of your life – of you – should you manage the crossing? Curated by the writer Frances Stonor Saunders in collaboration with the Estonian photographer Kaupo Kikkas, this exhibition offers a view into the personal stories of individuals who are bearers for the memory of migration, as seen through the cherished objects they have chosen for the journey. We are all, in some measure, from somewhere else. This is the story of leaving but also of arriving, of borders crossed and lives continued.Featuring Carmen Callil, Thomas Heatherwick, Eva Rothschild, Marina Warner, Philippe Sands, Maurice Okechukwu Nwokeji, Hanan al-Shaykh, Nora Krug, Margaret Hodge, Mohammad and Naseera Naeem, Claudia Roden.
More here.

6th December 2018
Marina’s ‘The Politics of Translation’ published in Letters, London Review of Books, Vol. 40 No. 23 · 6 December 2018

30th November 2018
Workshop on Arabic Stories and Poetry in Translation, with Selma Dabbagh and Yousif Al-Qasmiyeh, organised by Birkbeck and SOAS
The poet Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and the novelist Selma Dabbagh will lead the workshop in an exploration of the issues facing writers and artists when they voice the world of Arabic culture, and find themselves acting as representatives ‒ whether they wish to or not. We shall begin the practical work by exploring the legacy of Umm Khulthum whose songs continue to bring Arabic poetry to a vast audience.

27-28th November 2018
Voice and Silence – The Use of Sound in Contemporary Women’s Writing for Different Media
Università degli Studi di Palermo con il patrocinio dell’Associazione Italiana di Anglistica
Round table with Marina Warner, Rita Monticelli, Maria Micaela Coppola

Marina contributes to ‘Books of the Year’ published in The Tablet, 24 November 2018

26-28th November 2018
‘Voices, Sound & Silence’ – Marina gives opening lecture at the University of Palermo

23rd November 2018
Marina Warner: Forms of Enchantment at Folkestone Book Festival
In this illustrated talk, Marina Warner shares her passion for art and explores some of the stories and symbols to which artists – Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst, Joan Jonas and Kiki Smith – allude in their work. She argues that art and aesthetics increasingly fulfil a magical social function and unite the imagination of the artist, writer and reader.

21st November 2018
George Eliot Day 2018
Marina chaired an event, more info soon. 

16th November 2018
Words on the Move 3 at Birkbeck, University of London
Event held as part of Stories in Transit, more info here.

15th November 2018
Thinkers for Our Time: Goethe, at the British Academy
Thinkers for our time is a series re-thinking the life and work of influential figures from across the Academy’s disciplines, particularly history and the arts. This is the sixth in the series, following events exploring Sigmund Freud, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Malthus, Sylvia Pankhurst and Charlie Chaplin

9 November 2018
Marina Warner and Valentina Castagna – ‘Refugees in Sicily’ published in Letters To The Editor, The TLS 09 November 2018, p6

7th November 2018
Marina Warner: Forms of Enchantment at Forum of the Future, Porto, Portugal

5th November 2018
Alison Turnbull will be in conversation with Marina Warner at Más Arte Más Acción
Lower Ground, 5 Old Nichol Street, London, E2 7HR

PSYCHE Or, the butterfly – An expanded field guide by Alison Turnbull Published by Más Arte Más Acción in association with Matt’s Gallery

In 2017 artist Alison Turnbull travelled to Chocó, Colombia at the invitation of Más Arte Más Acción to study butterflies in the Pacific rainforest, working alongside Dr Blanca Huertas, butterfly expert and Senior Curator in Lepidoptera at the Natural History Museum, London.
PSYCHE Or, the butterfly – An expanded field guide is Alison Turnbull’s observational record, both literal and imaginary, of the expedition. Comprising a wide variety of idioms – drawings, photographs, notes, fragments and literary sources – this book of butterflies is a field guide in the broadest sense. The collection includes ‘The Mimic Net’, an essay by writer and mythographer Marina Warner.  Accompanying the book is Some Butterflies of La Chocoana and Surroundings, an illustrated guide to the butterflies of the region by Dr Huertas, assisted by Danilo Palacios. Psyche is the ancient Greek word for both butterfly and soul. The essay was quoted on the Matt’s Gallery website alongside their presentation of Turnbull’s piece Marpesia (2018).










October 2018
Marina wrote By the Virtue of the Dark for The Bridge Theatre, featuring in the programme for A Very Very Very Dark Matter (12 Oct ’18 – 6 Jan ’19)

29th October 2018

Postcolonial Poetics 21st-Century Critical Readings with Terence Cave, Wen-Chin Ouyang, JC Niala and Marina Warner, chaired by Lloyd Pratt, held at St John’s College, Oxford.

Saturday 27 October 2018, 3pm
Marina Warner on Kiki Smith at Timothy Taylor, London
Novelist and historian Marina Warner will discuss art, feminism, and myth within the context of Kiki Smith’s current exhibition, Woodland. The event follows the release of Warner’s new publication ‘Forms of Enchantment’, which features a chapter on Smith’s practice.

October 2018
Actor Sinéad Cusack reads The Mother’s Tale by Marina Warner from Refugee Tales: Volume II
The UK is the only country in Europe that detains people indefinitely. To call for a change in the law, Refugee Tales shares the stories of those who have experienced detention. Each day for 28 days, leading up to the start of a parliament, a tale will be released online. The project calls for an immediate time limit to immigration detention (28 Days). #28for28

19th October 2018
Unreckoned Things: Collaboration, Experiment and Voice in Translation With acclaimed translators Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger organised by Birkbeck
Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger join Marina Warner and Wen-­‐‑chin Ouyang to talk about their ongoing experimental translation of Arabic poetry and story. Robin Moger is a translator of Arabic to English prose and poetry. His translation of Yasser Abdel Hafez’s The Book of Safety won the 2017 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literature in Translation. Yasmine Seale is a writer and translator from Arabic and French.
Her first translated book, Aladdin, will be published in November 2018. She is currently working on a new translation of the Thousand and One Nights for W. Norton. Together they are working on an experimental translation of Ibn Arabi’s cycle of odes, The Interpreter of Desires.
PDF of event Poster






17th October 2018
Marina Warner – Sign Languages: The Artist as Questor at Royal Drawing School
Art and artists have shaped thinking about sex, death, bodies, evil. The images artists make, in different media, reflect and convey contemporary values while interrogating them and, increasingly in our time, resisting prevalent accepted views and proposing alternatives. Fairy tale and myth provide a language of images and symbols for the inquiries of contemporary artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Helen Chadwick, and Julie Mehretu.

10th October 2018
Marina Warner: Forms of Enchantment, at Cheltenham Festival 2018

8th October 2018
Marina Warner: Forms of Enchantment, at Ilkley Literature Festival 2018
Celebrated writer and critic Dame Marina Warner, President of the Royal Society of Literature and Chair of the Man Booker International Prize, comes to Ilkley to argue that art writing at its most useful should share the dynamism, fluidity and passions of the objects of its enquiry. She examines the visual culture of today’s world with a focus on the inner lives of women; uniting readers with work by Louise Bourgeois, Damien Hirst, Joan Jonas and more as she uses words to recreate the pleasure of looking at art.

6th October 2018
Metamorphoses Festival at Greenwich
The Architecture Foundation

Cassandra – Marina Warner
Cassandra, the Trojan princess and priestess, was always right, but never heard. Abducted from her homeland by the warlord who had torched her city and murdered her family, she found herself witness to yet more horror, while being shunned as an alien, and as a woman too crazed to be trusted.  Marina Warner reflects on how the story, told first by the Greeks, returns in contemporary retellings and speaks to current wars,  displacements and  sex trafficking, mirroring back some of the distress of a world like ours today – a world full of migrants traumatised by war, of silenced women, and of people searching vainly for a home.
A day-long festival exploring classical currents in contemporary culture featuring Marina Warner, Joseph Rykwert, Rosemary Hill, Pablo Bronstein and Craig Hamilton in the magnificent settings of Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College and Queen’s House

September 2018
Frieze Art Fair – Six Creative Duos Choose a Favourite Spot in London to be Photographed
The couples, friends and relatives who are helping shape this year’s
Published in Frieze Week, London, 2018 with the title ‘Together!’
Conrad & Marina At Frieze Sculpture, The Regent’s Park
Conrad Shawcross is no stranger to public space. Last year, his The Interpretation of Movement (a 9:8 in blue) (2017) stretched across the lofts of St Pancras Station, while his lauded architectural intervention The Optic Cloak (2016) towers 49 metre high above North Greenwich: a monolith of moire effect, perforated aluminium panels. Little surprise, then, that the artist’s Optic Labyrinth (Arrangement I) (2018) is a stand out of this year’s Frieze Sculpture – a free exhibition of outdoor art selected by Claire Lilley (YSP), sited a stone’s throw from the fairs – which coincides with Conrad’s show at Victoria Miro Mayfair in Frieze Week. Fortress-like from a distance, Labyrinth’s manipulation of moire optics means its whole form throbs and shimmers, inviting viewers to navigate the sculpture in all dimensions. During the photograph, this engagement was eagerly undertaken by Conrad’s son Hartley, under the eye of his Nonna, Marina Warner. A writer of criticism, essays, and fiction, Marina’s works – many of them landmarks in their field – examine the powers inherent in the stories we tell, from legends of female heroism to the Arabian Nights, fairy tales and lullabies to Ovid. One of our leading public intellectuals, last year she was elected President of the Royal Society of Literature. Marina’s latest book, Forms of Enchantment: Writing on Art & Artists (Thames & Hudson), makes ideal reading for Frieze Week, gathering thirty years of her thinking on artists including Louise Bourgeouis, Damien Hirst, Joan Jonas, Sigmar Polke and Kiki Smith.

13th September 2018
Interview with Evening Standard – Culture London
Dame Marina Warner on how London’s ‘electricity and galvanizing energy’ enables her to flourish. The novelist reveals the importance of staying in touch with the city’s energy.

11th September 2018
Marina Warner and Eleanor Birne: Forms of Enchantment at the London Review Bookshop
Marina Warner will be in conversation with Eleanor Birne, author and contributor to the London Review of Books. 
Marina Warner’s new collection of essays, Forms of Enchantment (Thames and Hudson), collects her writing on art from 1988 to the present, including pieces on (among others) Louise Bourgeois, Joan Jonas and Paula Rego. She brings to artists and artworks the same anthropological and mythological approach which informs her previous books, including Stranger Magic, From Beast to Blonde and Monuments and Maidens, arguing that the social position filled by art and aesthetics is increasingly best understood in terms of magic.

4th September 2018
Marina provided the opening words for the launch of “The Secret to a Good Life” at the Royal Academy. The exhibition is open from September 4th to 3rd February, 2019, more information can be found here.

10th June 2018
ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2018 at the British Library
One Thousand and One Nights – Paulo Lemos Horta and Marina Warner in conversation with John Zubrzycki. More here.

5th June 2018
A celebration of Tolkien and his creations, with special guests Dame Marina Warner, Prof Verlyn Flieger and Dr Dimitra Fimi, Bodleian Library, Oxford
The panel of guests will consider the origins and the uses of myth-making as a literary genre, the motivation which lay behind Tolkien’s own myth creation, and the rise in fantasy literature during his lifetime.
Stream the video here.

21st May 2018
Marina Warner in conversation with Joan Jonas at Tate Modern

17th May 2018
Birkbeck Arts Week 2018 – Thinking with dance, moving with fairy tale
Gingerella (RockaFela) (65′, Dir. Alex Reuben, Wellcome Trust/ACE, UK 2018) explores cognition, motion and imagination as expressed in fairy tales. Join the director for a screening followed by a panel discussion with Alex Reuben, Marina Warner and psychologist and neuroscientist Chris Frith

11th May 2018
The MHRA Presidential Address for 2018
Dame Marina Warner – ’Sound, Gesture, Image: Translations of Performance and Genre in the Digital Age’
This is one of a series of ten lectures, delivered by distinguished speakers at universities across Great Britain and Ireland, to celebrate the Association’s centenary year of 2018

23 April 2018
Fondation Barbier-Mueller – Presentation of New Publications
Warburg Institute, London
The Barbier-Mueller Foundation, located at the University of Geneva, holds more than 600 editions of Italian poetry printed between 1480 and 1620. To make itself better known to all those interested in the culture of the Italian Renaissance, it has published, in association with Legenda (Oxford), two books, that will be presented on this occasion.
Professor Brian Richardson, FBA – Pietro Bembo. A Life in Laurels and Scarlet, by Marco Faini
Professor Marina Warner, FBA – The Italian Renaissance. A Zest for Life, a series of essays by distinguished writers
Professor Michel Jeanneret, FBA – The Barbier-Mueller Foundation

10th April 2018
BBC Radio 4’s Words Apart – Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth returns with a special programme in which Michael Rosen and guests Marina Warner and Barry Smith discuss the state of language and public debate.
With the rise of the internet there is more political discussion than ever. Yet this torrent of words seems to carry less understanding than ever. This has been attributed to many causes. Some say it is the anonymous nature of internet discussions, or the increasing disparity between rich and poor, or even the efficacy with which media (and propaganda) organisations can affect public opinion. But possibly the problem lies in language itself. Traditionally, political language has been a shared endeavour through which we express our differences. Perhaps now even the language itself has become partisan – words carry profoundly different meanings for different people and the shared understand that public debate relies on is much reduced. Two people can share a word – say government or sovereignty – but if the frame of reference for what that word means has become radically different it’s hard to find the common ground on which meaningful debate can happen. So Michael Rosen and his guests are looking at the state of current political and public debate, delving into the philosophy of language and seeing how words get their meaning in the minds of their users. Perhaps, on top of all our other attendant crises, we can claim to be living through a crisis of language.

Spring 2018
Documentary ‘The Story of The Persian Carpet’
MW contributed an interview to ‘The Story of The Persian Carpet’ a documentary about the cultural heritage of the Persian carpet in Britain, produced by the London Iranian Association and available to watch here. 

Spring 2018
Marina is awarded Fletcher World Fantasy Lifetime Award 2018

9th March 2018
The University of Iceland’s Annual Humanities Conference Rekyavik, Iceland – Marina gives the opening lecture

21st February – 1st March 2018
Marina to give the 2017-2018 Sigmund H. Danziger Jr. Lecture at University of Chicago
In March 1987 Robert S. Danziger, MD 1980, endowed a fund in honor of his father Sigmund H. Danziger Jr., AB 1937, an inveterate reader and student of the classics. To this was added a gift from a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities with the object of bringing to campus “an established scholar of classical literature, who has made substantial contributions to the critical analysis of classical literature, or has been exceptionally skilled at inspiring an appreciation for classical literature.” Over the years the prestige of this annual event led to a widening interpretation of the term “classical literature” and while classicists such as Sir Kenneth Dover, Charles Segal and Simon Goldhill have numbered among the Danzigers, so have early modern scholars Natalie Zemon Davis, Joan DeJean, and Mary Poovey, Hindi literary specialist David Schulman, philosopher and historian of science Ian Hacking.

8th-9th February 2018
Marina’s Visit to Brussels for Full Circle society
‘This season promises a whole new range of inspiring, eminent and original thinkers, from the fields of social health, terrorism, anthropology, film, economics, investigative journalism, culture, language, business, activism, and music – all with a very different take on their subject.’