The British Library and the Royal Society for Literature presents:

Postponed – Literature Matters: RSL 200 – Stephen Fry and Meera Syal

  • 📅

    Tue 14 April 2020

  • Doors open: 18:45

  • £26 | £13 con.* adv + cmsn

  • Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, London, N1 2UN.

Entry Requirements: Under 16s accompanied by an adult

Due to the current global health crisis, Literature Matters: RSL 200 – Stephen Fry and Meera Syal, originally planned for 14 April 2020 has been postponed. We are working with the promoter to reschedule this date and will advise as soon as this is confirmed. Once announced, your tickets will be valid for the new date. If you cannot make the new date, a refund will be available from point of purchase.

If you have any concerns or questions please do get in touch to [email protected]. We appreciate your patience during this very busy time.

Throughout 2020 the RSL will celebrate its bicentenary with RSL 200, an event series bringing together some of world’s best known writers to explore the impact of literature on their lives. In the first Literature Matters: RSL 200 event, RSL Fellows Stephen Fry and Meera Syal will discuss their writing across forms – from sketch comedy to poetry, independently and in collaboration, written and performed – that has elevated them each to the status of national treasure.

Stephen grew up in a house with colossal bookcases filled with classic works of literature, and would use them as medicine cabinets to treat his childhood. He has remarked that writing is a ‘newer technology – only five or six thousand years old’ by which ‘we can change utterance into permanence’, and when once asked for writing advice, he responded: ‘the important thing to do for those who want to liberate their writing is to be able to let go of their self-consciousness, to allow the words to write for them.’

Meera ‘never planned to be a writer.’ Yet in her fiction and screen writing, and her work for theatre and radio, she has not only found great critical acclaim but has broken down some of the barriers she has experienced as a British Asian writer and actor. She writes from her life, commenting that ‘when you’re a writer nothing is sacred; everything gets used’, and finds the importance of the arts in ‘empathy, sharing stories and reminding people what we share, not what makes us different.’

Stephen Fry was elected a Fellow of the RSL in 2019. He is an actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director and all-round national treasure. He has written and presented several documentary series, contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines, appears frequently on radio, reads for voice-overs and has written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles and his latest, More Fool Me. He has recently toured his one-man show Mythos based on his book of the same name.

Meera Syal was elected a Fellow of the RSL in 2017. She is an actor, author and screenwriter. Her first novel Anita And Me won the Betty Trask Award, was adapted for screen and is on the National Curriculum. Her many acting credits include Beatrice in the RSC’s Much Ado About Nothing and Zehrunissa in David Hare’s Behind The Beautiful Forevers. She was writer/performer in the comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars At Number 42 (for which she was nominated for a BAFTA). Meera is the recipient of several awards including two International EMMYS. She was visiting Professor of Drama at Oxford University in 2012 and was awarded the CBE for Services to Drama and Literature in 2015.

Please note that this event includes a 30 minute interval.

Estimated Times

All times are subject to change on the night

18:45 – Doors, Bar and Margins Cafe serving hot homemade food open

19:30 – Event begins

22:30 – Curfew

Union Chapel Bar open after the show.

Margins Cafe

Margins Cafe will be serving delicious, hot, homemade food at this event. All profits support The Margins Project, which works with people who face homelessness and crisis and is based here at the Chapel.

Important: You must also have a ticket for this event to eat at Margins Cafe. The Cafe opens to all ticket holders when the chapel doors open, scheduled to be 18:45 for this show. We’re also taking limited early dinner reservations at 18:15 for this event. Be quick it can fill up fast!

How to book early dinner reservations: You can book for dinner when buying your ticket through our site. If the option doesn’t appear then it means dinner is fully booked. If you have already purchased your ticket for this show you can check availability and book for all dates here. If there are no tables available it will say ‘We are sorry but this event has sold out.’

Information for people with a reservation: You’ll get an email with full details shortly before the event, however, you just need to come to the black gate to the left of the main entrance, marked Early Dinner Reservations at 18:15 and show your reservation and gig ticket.

Menu: The menu will be displayed here; it normally goes up a couple of days before the show.   There will always be at least two hot meals, one of which will be veggie, to choose from, plus lighter bites such as quiche and salad.  Check out the sample menu here.

*Ticket Info, Disabled Tickets and Essential Companions

Ticket Info: Concession tickets are available to those under the age of 26, students, and those in receipt of DLA / PIP payments or Job Seekers Allowance.


Disabled Tickets and Essential Companions: We do not have separate tickets for disabled customers – just buy a standard ticket above. Essential companions do not need a ticket, but you do need to inform us in advance if you are attending with an essential companion.

We will happily reserve a suitable space for disabled patrons with specific access requirements. Please be in contact to inform us of any specific requirements you have and the size of your party. We will reserve a space for you in the auditorium and make the appropriate notes for our staff so they can provide any necessary assistance.

[email protected] | 020 7226 1686 (Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm).

NB: Please note that we are unable to accept calls from withheld numbers.

For more information regarding disabled access at Union Chapel, please click here.

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