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Winnie M Li, author and activist, announced as Writer-in-Residence

The Writer in Residence Programme will explore the topic of sexual violence. An ‘In Conversation’ event on Wednesday 3 March will launch the programme - book your place now.

Winnie M Li

The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology has announced that Winnie M Li, award-winning author and activist, will be joining the Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters (SHaME) project as a Writer-in-Residence from March to May 2021.

The SHaME project explores the role of medicine and psychiatry in sexual violence, aiming to address the global health crisis. 

A Harvard graduate, Winnie M Li founded Clear Lines, the UK’s first-ever festival addressing sexual assault and consent through the arts and discussion. In 2017, Winnie released her first novel Dark Chapter, a fictional retelling of her real-life rape from victim and perpetrator perspectives. Translated into ten languages, it won the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, and was nominated for an Edgar Award and the Best First Novel Award. She holds an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in recognition of her writing and activism, and her second novel Complicit will be published in April 2022. 

The Writer in Residence Programme has been developed in collaboration with Clear Lines. Winnie M Li has curated an exciting series of panels, talks and workshops for Birkbeck students, staff and the wider public, that will explore the roles that creative writing and narrative can play in how both academics and society at large understand the topic of sexual violence.

Winnie M Li said of her appointment: “I’m really excited by this residency, as there is so much opportunity for a broader, more inclusive conversation around the lived experience of sexual trauma. For years, I’ve noticed how much academic research is taking place on this topic, but it often seems to exist in silos. I would love to have academics in dialogue with survivors, activists, and artists — so we can share our collective knowledge in addressing sexual violence.”  

The Writer in Residence Programme will be launched on Wednesday 3 March 2021 with an ‘In Conversation’ discussion between Winnie M Li, Professor Joanna Bourke, Professor of History at Birkbeck and SHaME Principal Investigator, and Professor Amina Memon, Professor of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. The event will explore a range of issues relating to the lived experience of sexual violence and its treatment in the criminal justice system. All are welcome to attend, book your place onto the event ‘Sexual Violence and Criminal Justice: Approaches in Psychology, History and Literature’ now.

Professor Joanna Bourke commented: “We are thrilled to use this event to welcome Winnie M. Li to SHaME’s first writer-in-residency. Her novel Dark Chapter is a powerful reflection on sexual violence, trauma, and (in)humanity. We are hoping that this ‘In Conversation’ will encourage dialogue between survivors, writers, and researchers.”

‘Sexual Violence and Criminal Justice: Approaches in Psychology, History and Literature’ is the first of three public events in the Writer in Residence Programme.

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