Lewis Owens has been collaborating with Hostage International and Library/Arboretum to organise unique events and talks. He has created spaces for Hosrtage survivors to tell their stories and share their experience, giving a voice to people and their families who have so much to share and yet are so often forgotten.
In honour of our upcoming event with Terry Waite, Lewis Owens has kindly answered our questions.
Can you tell us about your own work and activities?
My background is largely academic. I completed my PhD at Cambridge and then taught both at Cambridge and Canterbury for a few years before establishing my own education consultancy – EdmissionUK – in 2006. During this time I have also been President of the UK Shostakovich Society which included writing and producing a documentary for SkyARTS in Moscow and St Petersburg. I have also written 2 children's books (in aid of the Autism Research Trust, of which I am a proud Trustee) and released my first novel last year (in aid of The Forward Trust, a charity which seeks to break the cycle of addiction and crime). I am also a playwright and my first play was staged at Sadler's Wells, Royal Academy of Music and Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, in 2015. I am in the process of trying to get another staged (especially as Thom Yorke from Radiohead gave me permission to use his music!). I volunteer at 2 prisons and am also the Founder and Director of the St Martin's Award
Where you come from Geographically?
My family are from Eltham, South-East London, but I grew up in Epsom.
Why did you become a member?
I had been looking for a members' club for a while, mainly because I missed the social side of work! I did my homework and visited quite a few but I was immediately struck by the friendliness and atmosphere of Library and Arboretum. As Laila was showing me around I felt it was 'my kind of place' and 'my kind of people' and that has proved overwhelming to be the case! I am also very attracted to the emphasis on positive social change and well-being. The location is also pretty special, too!
Why do you like being part of the club?
My background is in literature and the arts. I studied and taught in areas of philosophy and have been involved in music for the last 15 years. There is therefore an obvious attraction to both Library and Arboretum. Having spent far too long in stuffy university libraries it's nice to finally hang out in a cool one without getting fined ;-) In addition, I find the staff to be incredibly helpful and welcoming but also extremely efficient and professional. I often have to meet quite 'high profile' clients and it is so reassuring to know that they will be met and looked after so professionally. That ranges from reception to the bars. Thank you Maja, Laila, Russell, Davide, Marika, Joe and all members of staff!
What you are looking forward to doing?
For many years now I have been involved in a variety of literary and artistic projects and I am extremely excited to continue this at Library/Arboretum. More recently, I have joined the team of Hostage International and yesterday held an event at St Luke's Restaurant in honour of former hostage Ingrid Betancourt. The next event will be 'An Evening with Terry Waite' in the main Arboretum lounge. Terry will talk about his experiences of being held hostage in Beirut and it is poignant that it will be 28 years to the day since his release on November 18, 1991. All proceeds from this event will go to Hostage International. I am also in discussions with other people about some events in 2020 but I am not allowed to mention anything yet!
Join Lewis and Terry Waite for an exceptional talk at Arboretum on the 28th anniversary of Terry's release.
More info here
Book tickets here