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The Power of Reading

Frank Furedi discusses his new book in conversation with Russell Celyn Jones.

7:00pm, Monday 1 February 2016, Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

Have we forgotten how to read well? Is there a tendency to reduce reading to a minimalist set of functional skills? Or is reading over-fetishised as a signifier of civil and enlightened society? These are just some of the questions that will be posed in this discussion, co-produced by the IoI Arts & Society and Education Forums

In The Power of Reading, Furedi addresses 21st-century anxieties about the future of reading. He takes a wide ranging historical approach to examining the changing meanings attributed to the act of reading. From ancient Rome to contemporary society, his book focuses on the relationship between reading and social discourses about morality and culture. He questions key contemporary beliefs such as that the internet damages our ability to digest information and that boys don’t read, and argues for the art of reading, not as a mechanism to moral good or social and economic advancement, but as a humanist pursuit.


Frank Furedi
sociologist and social commentator; former professor of sociology, University of Kent in Canterbury; author of numerous books, including Authority: A Sociological History, On Tolerance and Wasted: Why Education Is Not Educating.


Russell Celyn Jones
professor of creative writing, Birkbeck, University of London; prize-winning novelist and short-story writer; book reviewer, The Times; Man Booker Prize judge.

Listen to the discussion:

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