Housmans Bookshop and Comma Press have joined forces to host two online events featuring readings from the Protest anthology by renowned British actors Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake.
Stories and essays that explore and commemorate key moments of British defiance and people power… written in close consultation with historians, sociologists and eyewitnesses.
Published in Comma’s History-into-Fiction strand, edited by Ra Page and featuring pieces by the likes of Kit de Waal and Holly Pester, Alexei Sayle and David Constantine, Protest (published in 2017) and sister publication Resist (out last year) are anthologies of stories and essays that explore and commemorate key moments of British defiance and people power.
Written in close consultation with historians, sociologists and eyewitnesses, the authors reimagine campaigns and uprisings successful and unsuccessful – “from Boudica to Blair Peach, from the Battle of Cable Street to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 to the anti-Iraq War demo of 2003”.
The two events will take place on two consecutive dates, with Christopher reading on 9 and Maxine on 10 February. Both readings will be followed by a conversation between authors and historians discussing the events depicted in the stories read by Christopher and Maxine.
After reading from ‘Withen: A story from the Miners’ Strike’ from the Protest anthology, Emmy Award-winning (and ninth Doctor) Christopher Eccleston will be joined by its author Martyn Bedford and contributing historian David Waddington, professor of communications and co-director of the Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University. Together, they will discuss their work inspired by the Battle of Orgreave, a violent confrontation on 18 June 1984 between pickets and officers of the South Yorkshire Police and other police forces at a British Steel Corporation coking plant at Orgreave, in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Martyn Bedford is the author of five novels for adults and two for young adults. His first collection of short stories, Letters Home, is published by Comma Press.
Maxine Peake – Royal Exchange and small screen regular and performer at Working Class Movement Library events including Radical Readings – will be reading the story ‘Night Cleaners’ Strike’ by Maggie Gee with input from Sally Alexander, part of the early 1970s campaign and among the protestors in the 1970 Miss World Demonstration and emeritus professor of modern history at Goldsmiths University of London. Maggie Gee is the author of a memoir, a collection of short stories and 11 novels, including The White Family, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.