Conversation with the Author: The Optician of Lampedusa

This October, Cardiff Amnesty is pleased to partner with Cardiff University BookTalk for their first event of the academic year 

The Cardiff Amnesty Human Rights Book Club is delighted to be hosting another joint event with Cardiff University BookTalk. The event will focus on The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby and she will join us for what is sure to be a fascinating discussion. 

Award-winning former BBC correspondent, Emma Jane Kirby will be a familiar voice to Radio 4 listeners where she covered many stories from the midst of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Her book, The Optician of Lampedusa, is informed by the true account of one man she interviewed during this time. It follows the story of an ordinary Italian who unwittingly found himself in the middle of a rescue operation whilst aboard his boat and the repercussions that followed. 

A snapshot from the book…

‘I can hardly begin to describe to you what I saw as our boat approached the source of that terrible noise. I hardly want to. You won’t understand because you weren’t there. You can’t understand. You see, I thought I’d heard seagulls screeching. Seagulls fighting over a lucky catch. Birds. Just birds.’

We are thrilled that Emma can join us to discuss her incredible and important book. The event will be in conversation with Tom Davies, Amnesty International UK Campaign Manager, who will be able to shine a light on some of the work that Amnesty has done in support of refugees. Attendees will be able to put their questions to both Emma and Tom in what we’re sure will be a fascinating discussion of both this wonderful book and the wider context that informs it.

The event will be held online on Thursday 21st October from 7pm until 9pm and is free to attend. You can join us by registering for the event on Eventbrite here.  
We hope as many of you can join us as possible and that you enjoy the event. If you would like to join the regular bi-monthly meetings of the Cardiff Amnesty International Human Rights Book Club, you can email us at

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