Leading cultural and political figures from around the world pen essays on Shakespeare 

The British Council commissioned 'Living Shakespeare', a collection of essays by eminent thinkers around the world, from politicians to Nobel Prize-winning writers, interpreting themes in Shakespeare’s work for today.

Each author was invited to write from a personal perspective and the diverse set of contributors draw on contemporary social, political and emotional experiences to make comparisons with Shakespeare’s works.

The issues raised include optimism in diplomacy, female empowerment, listening, racial integration, and a response to extremism.

The essayists in the collection include: US Secretary of State John Kerry; Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka; Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin; Ahlem Mosteghanemi, the most popular writer in the Arab world; renowned South African director and actor John Kani; and solo percussionist Evelyn Glennie. 

The British Council worked in partnership with the BBC and the Open University on this project. 

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