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LIONEL SHRIVER in conversation with Toby Young

April 15 at 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm BST

In conversation: LIONEL SHRIVER and Toby Young

DATE: Monday 15th April, 2024

Come along for a very special FSU Speakeasy in a great venue, to hear author LIONEL SHRIVER in conversation with FSU General Secretary Toby Young. They will discuss Lionel’s new book, MANIA.

In a reality not too distant from our own, the so-called Mental Parity Movement has taken hold and the worst thing you can call someone is ‘stupid’. Everyone is equally clever, and discrimination based on intelligence is ‘the last great civil rights fight’.

Exams and grades are all discarded, and smart phones are rebranded. Children are expelled for saying the S-word and encouraged to report parents for using it. You don’t need a qualification to be a doctor.

Best friends since adolescence, Pearson and Emory find themselves on opposing sides of this new culture war. Radio personality Emory – who has built her career riding the tide of popular thought – makes increasingly hard-line statements while, for her part, Pearson believes the whole thing is ludicrous.

As their friendship fractures, Pearson’s determination to cling onto the ‘old, bigoted way of thinking’ begins to endanger her job, her safety and even her family.

Lionel turns her piercing gaze on the policing of opinion and intellect, and imagines a world in which intellectual meritocracy is heresy. Hilarious, deadpan, scathing and at times frighteningly plausible, MANIA will delight the many fans of her fiction and journalism alike.

There will, of course, be an audience Q and A.

VENUE: Lola’s Bar, Lower Ground Floor, The Hippodrome, Main Entrance, London WC2H 7JH.

TIME: 7pm doors open. 7.30pm until 9pm conversation and Q & A, followed by book signing and social until 10.30pm.

Strictly over-18s only. Physical photographic I.D. must be provided on entry (photographs on devices will not suffice).

Ticket-holders only.


FSU Members: £10

Non FSU Members Entrance only: £15

Purchase MANIA with your ticket and collect on the night: £16

Purchase MANIA on the night: £20 (RRP is £22)


Free and exclusive to all FSU members — link to register provided in FSU newsletters.

FSU members can also buy a signed copy of MANIA at a discounted price, including UK delivery, of £20, if pre-ordered before Sunday 14th April. Link to purchase provided in FSU newsletters.

About our speakers:

Although LIONEL SHRIVER has published many novels, a collection of essays, and a column in the Spectator since 2017, and her journalism has featured in publications including the Guardian, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, she in no way wishes for the inclusion of this information to imply that she is more ‘intelligent’ or ‘accomplished’ than anyone else. The outdated meritocracy of intellectual achievement has made her a bestseller multiple times and accorded her awards including the Orange Prize, but she accepts that all of these accidental accolades are basically meaningless. She lives in Portugal and Brooklyn, New York.

TOBY YOUNG is the General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, a non-partisan, mass membership public interest body that stands up for the speech rights of its members. He co-founded four schools and a multi-academy trust in West London, served as a Fulbright Commissioner and is the author of four books, the best known of which is How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2001). He is an associate editor of the Spectator, where he’s written a weekly column since 1998, and Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Sceptic. He was formerly an Associate Editor of Quillette and is the author or co-author of a number of peer-reviewed academic articles.


The Hippodrome invites you to enjoy a meal before or after the event at one of its restaurants. Show your confirmation email to staff to receive a 20% discount at Chop Chop or the Heliot Steakhouse. Both are rated ‘exceptional’ on Opentable, with Heliot considered one of London’s very best steakhouses and Chop Chop by Four Seasons already hailed as one of the West End’s best Chinese restaurants only a year after launch. Please book here for Chop Chop or here for Heliot then show your confirmation email when you arrive at the restaurant. (Offer eligible only on Monday 15th April 2024.)


Hippodrome, London
Little Newport Street
London, WC2H 7JH United Kingdom
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