Herstory is bringing together poets, activists, librarians, curators and communities to explore the unfinished fight for women’s rights in the UK through poetry, performance and discussion.

In March 2022 a multi site festival, Herstory: Care with Courage will take place in Newcastle, Exeter and online – an opportunity to discover, celebrate and champion stories from the long and ongoing battle for gender equality. It will foreground the voices that too often go unheard or ignored in the movement and show that courage and strength have always gone hand in hand with an ethic of nurturing and care.

The Herstory festival will take over libraries across Newcastle and Exeter with electrifying live performance, intimate installations and enlivening discussions. Audiences online will be able to join and contribute to key events, igniting a national conversation.

From the pressures of the pandemic, to the media’s portrayal of women’s bodies, to the power of resistance and everyday acts of defiance, Poet in the City have gathered diverse voices and perspectives to speak to the issues and themes that animate the fight for acceptance, equality and care.

The festival is the culmination of a multi-year engagement with individuals and community groups in Newcastle and Exeter which has explored women’s history in the two cities and the issues that matter to those fighting for gender equality today. These discussions have shaped the themes of Herstory: Care with Courage.

Herstory is a partnership between Poet and the City, the British Library, Newcastle Libraries, and Libraries Unlimited Exeter. It is inspired by the British Library exhibition Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights and is the latest project in Poet and the City and the British Library’s ongoing Collections in Verse collaboration.

Herstory centres women’s stories with the understanding that ‘women’ means everyone who identifies as a woman. This project recognises that many of its themes and histories are also very relevant to the lives of non-binary people and their fight for acceptance and equality. These vital discussions include everyone and we warmly invite the involvement of all - men, women and non-binary people.