Writing in Times of Conflict

Senate House Library's latest exhibition, Writing in Times of Conflict, showcases the power of words to achieve peace and reconciliation in response to conflicts over the last 100 years. The exhibition is free and open to the public until 14 December 2019. 

The exhibition and events season gives you the chance to explore some of the world's most notable conflicts through the eyes of people that were there and consider some of the world’s biggest questions…Is the pen mightier than the sword? Can there ever be world peace?

The exhibition begins in 1919 just after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles marked the formal end of the First World War, which led to the establishment of contemporary peace movements. It explores some of the most significant military, environmental and economic conflicts that ensued right up until 2019, touching on current political issues such as Brexit, economic inequality, and climate change.

There are many bold stories by well-known writers on display. These include one of the first editions of John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace, a rare signed copy of in our time by Ernest Hemingway, a letter from Virginia Woolf describing the WWII bombers flying overhead, and a first edition of Carol Ann Duffy's thought-provoking play My Country: a Work in Progress. These are complemented by unique photographs and documents, such as one of the few surviving photostatic copies of the 'Nazi Black Book' written in 1940, listing peace activists and politicians to be targeted by the Gestapo.

Told through Senate House Library’s global collections, Writing in Times of Conflict combines a selection of narratives by writers, journalists, politicians and local communities from Africa, Latin America and Europe, divided into four main themes:

Writing for Peace

Writing in Wartime

Writing from Exile

Writing in Protest

To accompany the onsite exhibition, there is a dedicated Writing in Times of Conflict microsite where you can explore images in the online gallery, download the exhibition guide and find out more about events being held.