BOOK LAUNCH – The Pioneering Life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Scientist and Feminist by Jo Willett

Location BIAA, Atatürk Bulvarı 154/1, Çankaya, Ankara

Date and time Tuesday 5 March 2024
16:00 - 18:00 (London GMT)
19:00 - 21:00 (Ankara UTC+3)

Speakers Jo Willett
Writer and TV producer
Mine Özyurt Kılıç (Discussant)
Social Sciences University of Ankara

Event Summary

A talk on the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, focusing on her life in Turkiye. Lady Mary travelled to Adrianople (modern day Edirne) and Constantiople (modern day Istanbul) as the wife of the British Ambassador, in the early eighteenth century. There she learned at first hand about the practice of inoculation against the deadly disease, smallpox. She ensured her only son was protected against smallpox whilst still in Turkiye, following in the footsteps of the previous ambassador. When she returned to England her only daughter was also inoculated. Young Mary, as she was called, was the first person in the West to be protected in this way.

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Event Speakers

Jo Willett

Writer and TV producer

Jo Willett was a television drama producer for many years. She is the proud recipient of a BAFTA, a Royal Television Society Award and an International Emmy. Her first book, THE PIONEERING LIFE OF MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU, about the woman who brought smallpox inoculation to the west, was published during the Covid crisis in April 2021. Her second book, SARAH SIDDONS: THE FIRST CELEBRITY ACTRESS, is due to be published in May 2024. Jo lives in London and West Dorset.

Mine Özyurt Kılıç (Discussant)

Social Sciences University of Ankara

Mine Özyurt Kılıç is a professor of English literature with special research focus on women and writing, literary Modernism, empathy and writing, theories of the fantastic, matricentric feminism, Virginia Woolf, Angela Carter, Ursula Le Guin, Edna O'Brien, Pat Barker, Maggie Gee and Jeanette Winterson She is the co-creator and organizer of the Woolf-related event series, "A Press of Ones’ Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Hogarth Press" (Harvard University), "Virginia Woolf Studies in Turkey" project (British Council TR), "100 Years of Literary Modernism"-1922-2022 (Irish Embassy TR) and "Understanding Literary Modernism" (Ders101-SiyahBeyaz) that included translation and printing workshops, Woolf-Joyce-Eliot inspired exhibition of Turkish contemporary art, and author meetings. She designed and taught the first all-Woolf BA and MA course in Turkey, “Fictional and Non-fictional Works of Virginia Woolf” in 2023. She has a forthcoming edited collection of essays by Edinburgh University Press, Companion to Transnational Woolf (with Elisa Bolschi et al), and is working towards an edited collection on poetics of empathy.