‘Book of the Year’ author Sarah Bakewell to deliver Rosalind Franklin Lecture 2023

20 January, 2023

Humanists UK today announced that Sarah Bakewell – author of 2016’s At the Existentialist Café, a New York Times’ Book of the Year – will explore the lives and contributions of humanist women through the ages at the Rosalind Franklin Lecture, Humanly Possible.

A limited number of Early Bird tickets are available now from humanists.uk/franklin2023.

Her upcoming book, Humanly Possible, is a treasure trove of ideas, personalities, and real-life examples of humanism in action – from the literary enthusiasts of the 14th century to the contemporary secular campaigners. From Christine de Pizan to Bertrand Russell, and from Voltaire to Zora Neale Hurston, Sarah will showcase the history, diversity, and continuity of humanist thinking.

This International Women’s Day, Sarah will delve into the rich history of humanism by examining the works of writers, thinkers, scientists, and artists spanning 700 years – with a particular focus, in her lecture, on humanist women. In her Rosalind Franklin Lecture, Sarah will uncover their contributions to the ongoing pursuit of understanding what it means to be human.

Sarah Bakewell is a bestselling and prize-winning author and professor. Her four books are all biographical, and her two most recent – How to Live and At the Existentialist Café – also explore philosophical ideas. How to Live won the Duff Cooper Prize and the US National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Biography, and At the Existentialist Café was chosen in 2016 as one of the New York Times’ ‘Ten Best Books of the Year.’

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘We’re thrilled to have Sarah Bakewell as our Rosalind Franklin Lecturer and Medallist, and delighted that those attending in person will be among the first in the country to get their hands on Humanly Possible – three weeks ahead of the official publication date. We look forward to humanists from across the country joining us online or in London to hear from Sarah this International Women’s Day.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 020 3675 0959.

Marking International Women’s Day, the Rosalind Franklin Lecture explores and celebrates the contribution of women towards the promotion and advancement of aspects of humanism in the UK and around the world. The Rosalind Franklin medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.