Marina Warner


MW has been 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.

30th November 2018
Workshop on Arabic Stories and Poetry in Translation with Selma Dabbagh and Yousif Al-Qasmiyeh, organised by Birkbeck and SOAS, more info soon.

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.

26-28th November 2018
‘Voices, Sound & Silence’ – MW gives opening lecture at the University of Palermo
More info soon.

21st November 2018
George Eliot Day 2018
MW chairing 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 soon.

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.

07th November 2018
Marina Warner: Forms of Enchantment at Forum of the Future, Porto, Portugal


19th October 2018
Workshop on Arabic Stories and Poetry in Translation with Yasmine Seale and Roger Moger, organised by Birkbeck and SOAS, more info soon.

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

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 – Bookstall at Metamorphoses Festival, 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

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.

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
MW awarded Fletcher World Fantasy Lifetime award

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

21st February – 01st March 2018
MW 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
MW 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.’