Marina Warner


Sophie Herxheimer talks about her work on the vignettes for Inventory of a Life Mislaid
In a beautiful blog post describing her practice, artist Sophie Herxheimer also reveals some of the artwork inspired by and created for Marina’s forthcoming book, Inventory of a Life Mislaid. The full blog post can be read here.

14th December, 2020, 7pm – Turn Turn Turn: Ali Smith and Marina Warner, Royal Society of Literature
A conversation between Ali Smith and Marina Warner provides the score to a specially commissioned film by Sarah Wood. To explore Ali Smith’s luminous quartet of novels, completed this year, Sarah Wood has asked both writers to choose images and figures from the last months of isolation. As the Solstice approaches, winter draws in and we move closer to a new year, we all need to explore the revolutionary art and artists who can return the imagination to us, light up these dark times, and open possibilities for a new way forward. This event is free for RSL members. More information and tickets can be found here.

9th December, 2020 – Marina interviews Anne Louise Avery for the Bodleian Library Podcast Bodcast
Anne Louise Avery is a writer and art historian and Marina interviews her on the subject of Avery’s recent book, Reynard the Fox
Based on William Caxton’s bestselling 1481 English translation of the Middle Dutch, but expanded with new interpretations, innovative language and characterisation, this edition is an imaginative retelling of the Reynard story. With its themes of protest, resistance and duplicity fronted by a personable, anti-heroic Fox making his way in a dangerous and cruel world, this gripping tale is as relevant and controversial today as it was in the fifteenth century.
The full podcast can be listened to here.

6th November, 2020, 7pm – Ted Hughes Crow Poems on BBC Front Row broadcast
On the occasion of the new edition of Crow by Ted Hughes with Marina’s Foreword, Marina talked on BBC Front Row about Hughes’ poetry, in conversation with the poet Zaffar Kunial, with readings of Hughes’ poems from the archives. (Presenter: John Wilson. Producer: Sarah Johnson)

Inventory of a Life Mislaid – Vignettes forthcoming!
The artist Sophie Herxheimer has just finished making a number of vignettes for Marina’s forthcoming memoir, Inventory of a Life Mislaid. Sophie has made 80 papercuts as illustrations alongside the text. More information can be found here.


POSTPONED Marina to give Inaugural lecture for the new Center of Comparative Literature (CCL) at Goldsmiths, University of London
Building on an established tradition of teaching and researching literary, visual, cultural and performance texts from all areas of the world and in many different languages, the CCL aims to foster innovative research in and on the theory, practice and history of comparative literature, world literature(s) and theatre, reception of the classics, multilingualism and translation, intercultural theatre, and creative writing. TO that purpose, it will host workshops, seminars, conferences and public lectures, including an Annual Lecture, to address matters of interest to comparative literature in its broadest sense. Marina will give the inaugural lecture in 2021, date and time tbc.

3rd September 2020 – CULTURAL SNIPING: Photographic Collaborations in the Jo Spence Memorial Library Archive – live discussion with Marina Warner now online
Marina joined a roundtable with Patrizia Di Bello, chaired by Lynda Nea on “Cinderella: Women, Class and Fairy Tales in Jo Spence’s work” at the Peltz Gallery on April 18th back in 2018. A full video of the roundtable can be watched here.

25th August 2020 – A lily among thorns: Marina in conversation with Lucy Cox and Anne Champion of Marian Consort
The podcast examines the cult of the Virgin Mary, and its manifestation in music. Rory McCleery, the director of The Marian Consort, a vocal ensemble the is joined by Marina Warner, and singers Lucy Cox and Sarah Anne Champion to talk about eroticism, tune smuggling, and convent composers. The full podcast can be listened to here.





30 July 2020
– RCA MA Writing: Creature, Stranger, Monster, Other

Marina joins a discussion with MA Writing students Fiona Glen, Hattie Gibson, Laura Robertson and Yin Ying Kong about feminism, animism, horror and folklore. Details can be found here, the talk in full is available here.

23 July 2020 – Marina Warner’s talk “Elective Affinities: the Shaman, a Guest and the Language of Things” from 2007 now available
The Fondazione Antonio Ratti has taken the temporary closure as an occasion to root through its archives and bring some of it to new life, including a talk by Marina from the XIII edition of CSAV – Artists’ Research Laboratory.  In this dense excursus, Marina Warner dialogues with Aby Warburg’s intuitions about the ritual snake dance of Hopi Indians, the same followed by Joan Jonas for her performance The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things. It is therefore the ability of the ritual to dialogue with other worlds and dimensions, that reveals “the true language of art: the flight of the shaman’s mind”.
The full audio recording is available here.

Marina Warner’s Inventory of a Life Mislaid to be published in Spring 2021
The book is a a memoir of Cairo after World War II and Marina Warner’s father’s bookshop


“From one of our most iconic writers, a luminous memoir of post-war childhood, adventure, loss, and the banks of the Nile. Marina Warner was born in 1946 to an English father and an Italian mother who had met during the war. In this beautiful memoir, Warner reaches back to their wartime meeting, romance, and the precarious tale of her wilful mother making the difficult move to London, landing in England with an outsider’s eyes. Marina would spend her childhood in Cairo, in a time when Egypt was in revolution and tumult, her parents were running a bookshop, and her beautiful, young mother was swishing out every night to go dancing, in rustling skirts and jewels.

The story is charted by the objects of Marina’s life – her mother’s wedding ring, worn down thin as a silk thread. A razor used to shave her hair close to the skull as a child. A film cylinder with negatives of burned Cairo, following the anti-British protests and riots of 1952.

Evocative and imaginative, Warner offers a memoir that powerfully resurrects the post-war world. In Marina’s recollections, the river Lethe often feels as real as the Nile. Cairo in her memory is a chimera, at once a vital place of childhood and life, and a city of the dead.”

(Review on Bookdepository)

19 June, 2020, 3pm-4pm – Culture in Crisis? (British Academy Zoom Webinar)
As part of the British Academy’s Shape the Future programme, this panel examines the societal, economic and cultural implications of the pandemic. The panel is chaired by Dr Matthew Sweet, the speakers are Marina, Professor Isobel Armstrong, Professor Ian Christie FBA, Professor John Sloboda FBA. More details and video recording can be found here.





3 June, 2020 – Marina in conversation with the artist Jumana Abboud on Radio Yamakan
The conversation will be broadcast at 1pm Jerusalem time and rerun the following Saturday at 10am Jerusalem time/8am UK time. The live session can be listened to here.

22 May, 2020 – A Week in the Life of Marina Warner posted on Birkbeck Arts Week
On the occasion of second week of Birkbeck’s Arts Week, Marina shares her thoughts about saints, saviours, hermits and her life during lockdown. The full post can be read here, and has been reposted by Bookpost, see here.






12 May, 2020 – Marina talks about Guido Guidi
Marina talks to Charlotte Schepke about the photographer Guido Guidi – a journey of “attentiveness”, “a form of love in his observations of Emilia-Romagna and the Veneto”. The conversation can be listened to here.

6 May, 2020 – Rouen Fête Jeanne d’Arc
Marina to host a conference in Rouen as part of the “Rouen fête Jeanne d’Arc”.
The full programme of the festical can be found here.

A recording of Elias Khoury in conversation with Marina Warner, 26th July 2015 has just been posted on the British Library’s website. In this conversation, Elias Khoury, one of the leading lights of Arabic literature and author of a number of award-winning novels, including the critically acclaimed Gate of the Sun, discusses his writing and inspirations with Marina Warner, and will also read from a selection of his novels. The recording can be found here.

29 February, 2020: ‘No man’s land – No, nor woman’s neither: Is there a refuge in words?’ – Marina speaks at Dissent in Dark Times: A Festival of Critical Thought, Birkbeck College, London
In collaboration with the London Review of Books, Birkbeck, University of London is delighted to announce two days of critical thought about the times we are living in. You are invited to join leading thinkers in their fields for a stimulating two days of talks and conversation. Confirmed speakers: James Meek, Anne Wagner, Nadine El-Enanyon, Marina Warner, Jeremy Harding, Esther Leslie, Jacqueline Rose and Karma Nabulsi. Members of the public and academics alike are invited to come together to listen, learn and contribute to a unique debate about the role of dissent in facing the challenges of our contemporary world.

19 February 2020, 6pm-7pm – 100 Years of University of London Lecture Series
In February 2020 Birkbeck will mark 100 years since the College officially became part of the University of London. A series of celebratory events on the theme of “opening education” will showcase Birkbeck’s unique commitment to access and excellence, including a lecture by Marina Warner on February 19th.
Tickets are available here.

3 January, 2020, 1:32pm – “The Queen of Sheba”, BBC radio broadcast as part of the Heart & Soul series.
For Heart and Soul, Radio 4 Today programme editor Sarah Sands traces the queen’s journey along the ancient spice route from the south through the Red Sea towards Jerusalem. She talks to the experts who know her story well – such as academic and writer Marina Warner who has studied her influence on feminism and folklore; Eyob Derillo from the British library, who speaks of her significance to Ethiopia; and Mustafa Khaled, the former Yemeni diplomat who regards her reign as a golden age for his country. More info can be found here; the podcast will be available for download after the broadcast.