Laurie Penny On Freedom

What is freedom without feminism? British journalist and activist Laurie Penny asks us to reconsider what we are fighting for.

Spend an evening with The School of Life and one of the most insightful and provocative commentators of our time, Laurie Penny. Penny began writing about feminism online at 19 years of age, and in little over a decade has become a leading voice in discussions around gender, identity, injustice and the role of men in feminism.

In an industry in which she is told to be ‘objective’, to focus on ‘real’ politics, to conciliate and to be agreeable, Laurie Penny chooses freedom: the freedom to write what she really thinks, and to question what freedom means. She asks: what is it we are fighting for if it isn’t a world in which the oppressed, the marginalised and the outsiders can live free?

The backlash is significant. Amid political and environmental crises, Penny is told she is worthless and ugly, her work devalued and she receives frequent death threats. With empathy and resilience she focuses on the real work she is trying to do: Penny argues that now, more than ever, is no time to go on the defensive, no time to capitulate, to accept a diluted definition of freedom. She continues to attempt to change the world in small ways using words.

Join us for an insightful conversation as Laurie Penny shares her personal story, the power of the written word, and how a new understanding of freedom might just change the world.

This event is proudly presented in association with Bloomsbury.

Photograph by J Cheadshot.


18.45      Doors Open
19.00      Welcome & Introduction
19.10       On Freedom
20.00      Audience Q&A
20.25      Closing Remarks
20.30      Book Signing  

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'Feminism has never just been about liberating women from men, but about freeing every human being from the straitjacket of gender oppression.'
— Laurie Penny


Laurie Penny is a writer and journalist. She writes for Vice, the Guardian and many other publications, is a columnist and Contributing Editor at the New Statesman magazine and Editor-at-Large at cult New York literary project The New Inquiry. She was the youngest person to be shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writing on her blog ‘Penny Red’. She has reported on radical politics, protest, digital culture and feminism from around the world, working with activists from the Occupy movement and the European youth uprisings. She has 130,000 followers on Twitter and in 2012 won the British Media Awards’ ‘Twitter Public Personality of the Year’ prize. Laurie is a nerd, a nomad and an activist. She is thirty years old and lives in London. 


Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.

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Laurie Penny On Freedom


Special Event
When and where:
  • Tuesday 5 September 2017 7 - 8.30pm
    Dendy Theatre, 9/2 East Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 2000


General Admission: $35.00
Concession: $25.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee)

Please note there is no allocated seating for this event. 

This event will be photographed and audio recorded.

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.  

Auslan interpretation can be provided for this event. If you require this service please book tickets and email

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