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Public Speaking


Val is regularly invited to speak at global conferences about her work on various literary, social and political concerns. Val has previously taught public speaking at Birkbeck University of London, and continues to coach individual students.


If you would like to engage Val to give a talk, please contact her directly. 


2017 London - The Nehru Centre


 On March 22nd 2018, Val interviewed Sujit Bhattacharjee for the launch of his book My Journey from an Asian British to British Asian at the Nehru Centre in London. Sujit's book is a fascinating read, which Val found to be a profound account of his life's journey. 

2016 London - Symposium on the relevance of Rabindranath Tagore in Modern Times:

On March 31st 2016 Val was invited by the Tagoreans to speak at the Nehru Centre, Cultural Wing of the High Commission of India in London. Val chose, in this context, to speak on Tagore and his crucial, visionary ideas regarding the human impact on the environment, which Tagore first communicated a century ago. Claire Short chaired the following discussion with the audience.

2016 Venice - Presentation on The Live Literature Company's staging of William Blake's work:

In 2016 Val was invited to Venice to present a talk on her staging of William Blake's work to Circolo Italo-Britannico Venezia, followed by dinner. 


February 8th 2016 at 6pm;

Marina Militare Circulo Ufficiale 'Adriano Foscari', Fondamenta dell'Arsenale, Castello 2168, Venezia.

Above: The Divine Comedy, Beatrice and Dante, image by William Blake.


Val's talk focused on her staging of Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. This included live readings by Anna Del Parte of the 20th Century Italian poet Ungaretti's Italian translations of Blake's work. Also played on recorder was music by John Tavener, inspired by Blake.


This is the first event the Live Literature Company staged in Italy since our tour of Byron in Love to Verona, and it was delightful to be invited to return.


2014 Paris - L'Ambassade de L'Inde (The Indian Embassy in Paris)

On November 13th 2014, Val presented an evening with Bee Formentelli about Tagore's work on childhood. Bee Formentelli, a translator of Tagore's short stories from Bengali into French, presented her thesis Tagore and ChildhoodThis was followed by a screening of Wadja's film adaptation of Tagore's The Post Office. 


In their talks Bee and Val also highlighted Korczak's staging of The Post Office during World War Two. Korczak staged this production with children in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. He specifically chose this play so that the children may experience joy (which is at the heart of Tagore's play) before being sent to the gas chambers. Korczak chose to remain with these children and die with them. 


Val spoke on her concept for her own staging of The Post Office, which includes Korczak's work.She showed a short film extract from her production featuring nine-year-old Jyoti Goel playing Amal (below picture). This was followed by a discussion and questions with the audience and a concluding reception. 

 Above: Jyoti Goel and Noah Brooks after a performance of The Post Office.


2012 Edinburgh - International Tagore Conference - Tagore: The Global Impact of the Writer in the Community

Val was invited by The Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies at Edinburgh Napier University to give a talk to the conference entitled Tagore and the Indian Community in London, with reference to The Live Literature Company's staging of The Post Office at the British Library, May 2011.


Val discussed her production concepts for her staging of The Post Office, performed at the British Library in May 2011. This includes a focus on what Val describes as India in London now. 

2012 Bristol - The Martineau Society Conference 

Val was invited to speak at The Martineau Society Conference, Bristol. Her talk was entitled Deafness - Disability or Empowerment? and focused on the question of whether Harriet Martineau regarded being deaf as a disability, or an empowerment. Val presented The Live Literature Company film Shakespeare and Sign Language, featuring the deaf actor Lee O'Brien playing Romeo. 


 2011, London - Royal Doulton - A Family History

On November 10th 2011, Val gave the first presentation of her talk on the Doulton family history at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Founded in Lambeth by John Doulton, the Royal Doulton company was driven to success by John's son Sir Henry Doulton. Since its inception in 1815, Royal Doulton has become synonymous with beautiful fine porcelain and richly decorative pottery design. As John Doulton's great great granddaughter, Val offered a personal insight into the firm's history from her own archive.


2011 London - Mainstreaming Bengali drama and playwrights: challenges and opportunities explored - A Brick Lane Circle Seminar as part of a season of Bangla Drama

The Live Literature Company has strong links to The Brick Lane Circle community since Val's staging of The Post Office at The British Library. Val was invited to the Brick Lane Circle for the above evening. She presented the evening with Mukul Ahmed. Both spoke about their work staging Bengali drama.



2010 Oxford - The Sexy Blake Conference - Blake, Gender & Sexuality in the 21st Century

In July 2010, Val was invited to speak at The Sexy Blake Conference in Oxford. Her talk was entitled Blake's Visions of Freedom and Repression as Staged by The Live Literature Company.



2009 Monserrate Palace, Sintra, Portugal - International Byron Tour



Above: Val and Professor Antonio Lamas greeting the British Ambassador, Alex Ellis, and audience, at Monserrate Palace, Sintra. 


In her greeting to the audience Val said that the U.K. and Portugal are very firm friends, Portugal being the only European country that the British have not been to war against.

2009 London - An Evening Dedicated to E.M. Forster: A Passage to India

In October 2009 Val was invited to inaugurate a new literary tribute evening to be held annually at the Nehru Centre, each one on a writer connected to India. This particular evening was dedicated to the writing of E.M Forster. Val chose to speak predominantly on his great novel A Passage to India. This was followed by a discussion with the audience chaired by Venu Dhupa.


The talk was followed in the consecutive week by a screening of David Lean's 1984 film of A Passage to India. William Radice, the distinguished translator of Tagore into English, chaired following discussion with the audience. To read the full talk click here.    


Thu  29 Oct 6.30 pm

Literature : Tribute to E.M. Forster : A Passage to India




Fri 30 Oct 6.30 pm

Film : A Passage to India (1984)


2007 University of East Anglia - The Martineau Society Conference

Val was invited to speak at the Martineau Society Conference about her grandmother Vera Wheatley's biography The Life and work of Harriet Martineau. Her talk was entitled Vera Wheatley and Harriet Martineau. Val was subsequently invited to repeat this talk at Clare College, Cambridge University.  


2006 Paris - The 32nd International Byron Conference

Val gave a talk at The Sorbonne entitled Staging Byron. The talk focused on Val's staging of Anne Flemming's plays Byron the Poet and Byron in Love.

A performance of Byron in Love at Melbourne House (now Dover House) in the room where Byron met Lady Caroline Lamb launched The Live Literature Company in 2002.



1998, Amnesty International, Child Soldiers Campaign

Val was one of the founding members of the Children's Human Rights Group at Amnesty International when it was relaunched. Other members were David Maidment, Fred Shortland, and Catherine Suggitt. In 1998 this group ran a campaign for Amnesty focusing on child soldiers. The campaign featured a series on talks in the UK given by the founding members of the group. Sadly, Catherine Suggitt died and the tribute Val wrote for her can be found on the Amnesty website. 


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