Sir Mark Rylance Meets Elizabeth Winkler | How To Academy



Tue, 6 June 2023

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm BST

Sir Mark Rylance Meets Elizabeth Winkler

Who Wrote Shakespeare?

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Was Shakespeare a woman? An aristocrat? A government spy? Join Mark Rylance and Elizabeth Winkler for a heretical investigation into the Shakespeare authorship controversy.

The theory that Shakespeare may not have written the works that bear his name is the most horrible, vexed, unspeakable subject in the history of English literature. Scholars admit that the Bard’s biography is a “black hole,” yet to publicly question the identity of the legend is unacceptable, even (some say) “immoral.”

In conversation with Sir Mark Rylance, arguably the most distinguished stage actor of his generation,  journalist and critic Elizabeth Winkler will set out to probe the origins of this literary taboo.

Whisking readers from London to Stratford-upon-Avon to Washington, DC, she will pull back the curtain to show how the forces of nationalism and empire, religion and mythmaking, gender and class have shaped our admiration for Shakespeare across the centuries.

As she considers the writers and thinkers – from Walt Whitman to Sigmund Freud to Supreme Court justices – who have grappled with the riddle of the plays’ origins, she will explore who may perhaps have been hiding behind his name. Hovering over the mystery are Shakespeare’s plays themselves, with their love for mistaken identities, disguises, and things never quite being what they seem.

This livestream event will forever change how you think of Shakespeare… and of how we as a society decide what’s up for debate and what’s just nonsense, just heresy.

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Elizabeth Winkler

Journalist and Critic

Elizabeth Winkler is a journalist and book critic whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, and The Economist, among other publications. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her master’s in English literature from Stanford University. Her essay “Was Shakespeare a Woman?”, first published in The Atlantic, was selected for The Best American Essays 2020. She lives in Washington, DC.

Mark Rylance

Actor and Director

Mark Rylance was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London for 10 years (1995-2005). Theatre roles include: Countess Olivia in Twelfth Night; Richard III; and Johnny “Rooster” Byron in Jerusalem; Valere in La Bête and Robert in Boeing-Boeing. Mark Rylance film work includes three films with Steven Spielberg,  Bridge of Spies, The BFG, and Ready Player One. Ciro Guerra’s film Waiting for the Barbarians, Dunkirk, Trial of the Chicago 7, The Institute Benjamenta, Don’t Look Up, The Phantom of the Open and The Outfit and most recently Bones and All. His television appearances include Wolf Hall. In 2017 he was knighted for services to the Theatre.