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I am Malala – A story from the past and a story for the future


The problems children around the world face simply trying to receive an education were highlighted last year when 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban.

Her plight became worldwide news and shone a spotlight on the fact that education is not a right for everyone.

Charity campaigner and writer Sarah Brown will highlight Malala’s experience – and those of other girls like her - when she talks about the importance of supporting education and literacy initiatives across the globe at this year’s Fickling Lecture on Developments in Children’s Literature, at Newcastle University, on 25 April.

Sarah Brown said: "I am very honoured to come and give the Fickling Lecture this year to share my stories and love of books, and to look at the global challenge we have - and can meet - to open up reading and learning to every child around the world.”

Her talk, which has been organised in conjunction with Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books, is entitled I am Malala: A story for the past and a story for the future.  Sarah will discuss how children's literature can be the basis of good learning and personal development and explain the scope of the campaign and other global initiatives to provide education for every child by the end of 2015 (the deadline for the UN's Millennium Development Goals, including Universal Primary Education). She will also talk about her visits to Seven Stories and her ongoing engagement with Book Trust.

She said: “Why are the Taliban terrified of a girl with a book?  They know, perhaps better than we do, that a girl with an education is the most formidable force for freedom in the world. A girl who can read and write and argue can be brutalised and oppressed, she can be bought and sold, discriminated against and denied her rights. But she cannot, in the end, be stopped. Girls like Malala, in the end, will prevail."

Sarah, wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is a campaigner for universal education, which strives to help the 61 million children in the world who miss out on schooling, and to reach the 200+ million who are in need of improved education and learning.

Earlier this year, Sarah and her husband, who is the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, appeared with Malala’s father, Ziauddin, at the Women of the World Festival in London, to discuss why girls’ education is crucial in achieving a fairer world for both women and men.

Sarah is also an advocate for women’s health; a member of the High Level Panel for Global Education; the Founder and President of the Children’s charity PiggyBankKids, and the author of Behind the Black Door, an account of life in Downing Street.

The annual Fickling Lectures are funded by David Fickling Books, and bring a major contemporary voice in cultural affairs to Newcastle to address a wide audience on an aspect of children's books and culture.

The Fickling Lecture will take place at 5.30pm, on Thursday, 25 April, in the Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, at Newcastle University. Admission is free and on a first come, first served basis. 

published on: 17 April 2013