Bookshop Barnie: Konstantin Kisin on An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West

Battle of Ideas festival 2022, Saturday 15 October, Church House, London


Bookshop Barnies are salon-type discussions that challenge an author to justify their work in front of an audience of specialists and critics.

Konstantin Kisin is one half of the Triggernometry podcast (with fellow comedian, Francis Foster). Konstantin is a Russian-British comedian and political commentator who has written a fascinating account of life in the West – and why it is better than Putin’s war-mongering totalitarianism.

An easy argument to win, you might think. But many left-wingers are obsessed with condemning Britain for its hateful, racist, slave-owning, warmongering, elitist, imperialist past. Meanwhile, right-wingers criticise Britain’s woke, intolerant, bureaucratic, lack of belief, decentralised, positive discriminatory present. In such circumstances, it is worth asking what this country offers those looking to the future.

An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West is an argument for free speech. It’s an argument for liberal democracy and against the illiberalism of contemporary politics. Country Squire magazine says that the book ‘appeals to nuance’. Conversely, the Daily Mail says, without much nuance, that the book shows that ‘Britain is turning into a Soviet state’.

Are we living under an authoritarian regime or should you self-censor from even thinking it? Should we pretend that Britain isn’t riddled with problems, for the sake of a quiet life, or should we stand up for one side against the other in the culture war? This Bookshop Barnie will ask Konstantin Kisin where he gets off coming to this country, saying how great it is.

This session will be introduced by Triggernometry’s Francis Foster.

Konstantin Kisin
satirist; podcaster, TRIGGERnometry; author, An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West

Austin Williams
senior lecturer, Dept of Architecture, Kingston University, London; honorary research fellow, XJTLU, Suzhou, China; author, China’s Urban Revolution: understanding Chinese eco-cities