Book to the Future

Activity: Engagement and Public eventsEngagement event


Fiction 4 Empathy

This event will explore the complicated but important relationship between fiction and empathy; how Creative Writing and reading allow us to both expand our horizons and try to understand the lives of others. Dr Ruth Gilligan, Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, will speak about a recent storytelling project she ran with the US charity, Narrative 4. The project brought together three diverse local schools in the hope of breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes and fostering ‘radical empathy’. Ruth will also speak about Narrative 4’s founder, novelist Colum McCann, whose internationally-bestselling fiction is founded on the principle that we shouldn’t write what we know, but rather towards what we want to know. This will also allow Ruth to reflect on her own fiction, particularly her latest novel, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, which is based around a community and set of experiences with which she is most definitely not familiar. She will conclude with a short reading from the novel, available now from Atlantic Books.
Period14 Oct 2016
Event typeWorkshop
LocationBirmingham, United KingdomShow on map


  • Fiction
  • Empathy
  • Narrative 4
  • storytelling