The Inaugural Room of One’s Own Lecture | Ali Smith

Sun 23 Apr 2023 | 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Lecture sold out
Ali Smith

A Room of One’s Own Lecture is a joint initiative between Cambridge Literary Festival and Newnham College, Cambridge. It offers an annual opportunity for the foremost women writers of our day to share their work and to ask how far have we come since Woolf said: ‘Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.’ 

The lecture was the joint inspiration of Festival Founder & Director Cathy Moore and founding Honorary Patrons Ali Smith and Dame Professor Gillian Beer. Ali Smith will deliver the first lecture.  

Dr Bonnie Lander Johnson will introduce the Lecture. All attendees will receive a commemorative booklet containing the lecture.  

With thanks to Newnham College and the Newnham College Guild of Friends who are kindly hosting The Room of One’s Own Lecture.

Venue: Clough Hall, Newnham College

Duration: 1hr

In partnership with

Choose your tickets:

In-person tickets:
Clough Hall, Newnham College
  A Room of One's Own | Lecture: Ali Smith Live In-Person ticket - Full Price £20
This ticket has sold out.
    Total: £0
Please wait...
Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again.

Author biography

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. She is the author of SpringWinterAutumnPublic library and other storiesHow to be bothShireArtfulThere but for theThe first person and other storiesGirl Meets BoyThe AccidentalThe whole story and other storiesHotel WorldOther stories and other storiesLike and Free LoveHotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Bailey’s Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Autumn was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017 and Winter was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2018. Ali Smith lives in Cambridge and is an Honorary Patron of Cambridge Literary Festival. 


Cambridge Literary Festival 

Cambridge Literary Festival launched in 2003 to provide a space for readers and writers to meet and share their love of books and ideas, debate the issues of the day, embrace diversity, and to provide a space for like-minded individuals to come together to enjoy a weekend of collective literary joy and inspiration. It has welcomed a roll call of writers including Booker Prize winners, Nobel Prize winners, Poet Laureates, Children’s Laureates, musicians, scientists, economists, historians, journalists, translators, comedians, celebrity chefs, academics, debut writers, environmentalists and biographers. It takes place in beautiful historic venues across the City of Cambridge.   


Newnham College 

Newnham College Cambridge opened as a house of study for women in 1871 but it wasn’t until 1948 that women were allowed to take degrees or attend the University’s libraries and lectures. Throughout Newnham’s history male students were vehemently, often violently, opposed to the presence of women. It was in this atmosphere that the students of Newnham invited Virginia Woolf to come and speak on the subject of ‘Women and Fiction’. Woolf’s lecture went on to become A Room of One’s Own, modernity’s defining book about what women need in order to write and why they so rarely have access to it. For 150 years, Newnham has provided a space for women who want to write. Alumnae include A.S. Byatt, Margaret Drabble, Sylvia Plath, Claire Tomalin, Janet Todd, Sarah Dunant, Ali Smith and Jenn Ashworth. We are now approaching the centenary of Woolf’s visit.