City of Literature Weekend: The world as we might make it

Here are some illustrations I did for the “City of Literature Weekend”. (As part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.) The event, hosted by The Writers’ Centre Norwich, was a series of talks exploring ideas ranging from the cutting edge of neuroscience to unimaginable stories of human perseverance….


The End of Alchemy with Mervyn King and Charles Clarke’

“Mervyn King was Governor of the Bank of England from 2003 to 2013, when the global financial crisis hit and started its recovery. Reading from The End of Alchemy, King examines what went wrong and why and what needs to be done to make a more stable future.

My response: It quickly became clear that a global economy based on constant growth was a time bomb. A financial crisis was inevitable. Perhaps of all the variables, human nature was the most terrifying. People are often irrational and likely to panic in times of uncertainty. I’ve tried to express this idea with a depiction of three people trapped on a desert island with very limited resources…


‘Free Speech in an Interconnected World with Timothy Garton Ash’

“Timothy Garton Ash is a University of Oxford Professor, Guardian columnist and author of nine books of political writing. Free Speech: Ten Principles For a Connected World, argues that the way to achieve combined freedom and diversity is to have more and better freedom of speech, using as examples China’s Orwellian censorship, Charlie Hebdo and Nigella Lawson’s court case to propose a framework for civilised conflict in a world where we are all becoming neighbours.”

My response: Free speech is an incredibly important aspect of western society, but it is constantly under threat. The debate continues today throughout all media. Here I’ve tried to depict Timothy’s three factors which potentially challenge free speech in a negative way, and in some cases, prevent free speech happening altogether…


‘Neurotribes: Thinking Smarter About Difference with Steve Silberman’

“After 70 years of research on autism, why do we still seem to know so little about it? Winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non- Fiction, Neurotribes is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding and full participation in society for people who think differently. Award-winning investigative reporter Steve Silberman’s pioneering viewpoint will change the ways we think not just about autism, but also about creativity and innovation.”

My response: This talk really opened my eyes to the true range of the Autistic spectrum. Much more than a two dimensional model, the spectrum is diverse and expands through a 3D space covering many traits, disabilities, and abilities. For me, the key message was about going beyond “awareness” and fully accepting Autism for everything that it is….


‘Generation Revolution with Rachel Aspden’

“Having lived and travelled widely in the Middle East, former New Statesman literary editor Rachel Aspden’s new book Generation Revolution, positions readers on the frontline between tradition and change in the wake of Tahrir Square and other revolutions. What happens when a revolution unravels? How do you choose between sex, tradition, consumerism and faith? Aspden looks at the complex forces shaping the lives of these young people and what they mean for the future of the Middle East.”

My response: The discussion followed a number of personal stories which created a much larger and more complex picture of modern Egypt. From the noise, the sights, and the smells of its largest cities to the regular and harsh treatment of women, this talk encompassed many thoughts and feelings that the country’s young generation are experiencing at this moment. It is a time of uncertainty for everyone involved…

About Daniel Saunders

Daniel Saunders is a Graphic Novelist and Alternative Therapist based in the UK. His humorous and thought-provoking style often explores complex themes such as life, death, creativity, justice, education, religion and politics.
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