“Connecting readers with great writing and ideas is part of Penguin Random House’s DNA, rooted in our founder Allen Lane’s mission to make good books available to all.

Building on this heritage, the ambition behind Penguin Talks is to ensure that young people from across the country are given access to these writers and feel inspired and empowered to engage in their debates.”

Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK

Penguin Talks is a new programme of free creative talks hosted by Penguin for young people across the UK, which give the audience the opportunity to both hear from and directly question a world-renowned thinker, writer or influential figure from our family of authors.

Our aim is to help equip young people for the future by introducing a new generation of readers to new ideas and perspectives, and broadening their understanding of issues which speakers feel to be particularly prevalent for this generation.

Each Penguin Talk will be published in full online, together with free curriculum-based resources for teachers to enable young people in classrooms across the UK to engage with the themes and issues discussed. 

Penguin Talks audience member asking a question

Michelle Obama at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School

In December 2018, Michelle Obama paid a special visit to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington, London, to talk to pupils about empowerment through education and the important role of self-belief in achieving your goals.

The Penguin Talk saw over 250 girls from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Mulberry School hear directly from the former First Lady of the United States in her only visit to a UK school to mark the publication of her memoir, Becoming

The event was filmed, with the video available to watch below. A free teaching resource, based on the central themes and ideas of Becoming, will also be available to download from this page shortly.

Yuval Noah Harari in conversation with Russell Brand

In September 2018 the inaugural Penguin Talk gave 300 young people from colleges and secondary schools across South London the opportunity to hear from global phenomenon Professor Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens, in conversation with comedian Russell Brand.

Hosted at Lilian Baylis Technology School in Kennington, Harari explored some of the ideas in his latest Sunday Times bestseller, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. During the talk Prof. Harari turned his mind to some of the most urgent questions facing every human being, with a particular focus on changes and decisions which will impact young people in the not-so-distant future, including the future of education and the job market.

Russell Brand interviewing Yuval Noah Harari
Russell Brand interviewing Yuval Noah Harari

Here’s the Penguin Talk in full: 

Downloadable teaching resource

Click here to download a free resource pack based on Yuval Noah Harari’s latest book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

Please note that this resource is designed with Key Stage 5 students in mind. The activities can be used to form one hour-long lesson plus extension tasks, or individually for shorter tutor time or PSHE/Citizenship sessions. Learning outcomes of the activities are mapped to the Government's Careers Guidance for FE Colleges and 6th Form Colleges, and the CDI Framework for Careers.

Are you a secondary school teacher?

We are currently programming future events for 2019. If you are a state secondary school based in the UK and are interested in hosting a future Penguin Talk, please email us on comms@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

Penguin Talks event with Harari

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