We live in a world preoccupied by ideas of youth, productivity and self-improvement.

Cutting through society’s clamorous exhortations to look younger and live longer, Marina Benjamin gives us a clear-eyed and elegant account of turning fifty in her new book The Middlepause, On Turning Fifty. From the secret – and misogynistic – history of HRT to why a spot of Jung might be even better for you than going to the gym, she tackles what middle age means today, and shows how we can face it with poise and greater insight.

From childhood on, we’re barraged by messages that it’s sad to be old, that wrinkles are embarrassing and old people useless. Author and activistAshton Applewhite believed them too – until she realised where this prejudice comes from and the damage it does. Ashton will explain the roots of ageism—in history and in our own age denial – and how it divides and debases, subjects covered in her new book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. She will examine how ageist myths and stereotypes cripple the way our brains and bodies function, look at ageism in the workplace and the bedroom, critiquing the portrayal of olders as burdens to society.

Ashton and Marina will be signing copies of their books after the talk.

Ashton Applewhite is an author and activist who has been recognised by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Ageing as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks, speaks widely, has written for Harper’s and Playboy, and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? In 2015 she was included in Salt magazine’s list of the world’s 100 inspiring women—along with Arundhati Roy, Aung San Suu Kyi, Naomi Klein, Pussy Riot, and other remarkable activists—who are committed to social change.

Marina Benjamin is a writer and editor. She’s the author of two previous memoirs, Rocket Dreams, shortlisted for the Eugene Emme Award, and Last Days in Babylon, longlisted for the Wingate Prize. She has also worked as a journalist, writing for most of the broadsheets and serving as arts editor at the New Statesman and deputy arts editor at the Evening Standard. She is currently senior editor at the digital magazine Aeon, and is the founding editor of the Royal Literary Fund’s online weekly publication Collected.

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