Harriet Martineau Lecture: Speaking Truth to Power

Friday 26 May
Adnams Spiegeltent, Chapelfield Gardens
12.30 - 1.30pm
£8 / £80 weekend ticket

For this year’s Harriet Martineau Lecture we welcome two of Mexico’s finest journalists, Lydia Cacho and Anabel Hernández, who will describe their international campaign to lay bare the shocking corruption and violence of the government. Their work has resulted in the persecution of their families, attacks on their homes and a persistent threat to their lives; in fact, almost one hundred Mexican journalists have been murdered for trying to speak the same truth to power.

Cacho and Hernández’s determination to change the world’s view of Mexico and heal the country’s many sorrows draws strong parallels with Harriet Martineau, who wrote openly against discrimination, slavery and corruption in Britain and the US.

The Harriet Martineau Lecture is held in Norwich annually, celebrating the legacy of this remarkable, world-changing woman by inviting globally-renowned radical writers to respond to her life and work. 

In association with MacLehose Press.

WEEKEND TICKET: Purchase a ticket for all three days of the City of Literature weekend for £80! Call the box office on 01603 766400.

MULTI-BUY DISCOUNT: Purchase tickets for four or more events at the City of Literature weekend and receive £1.50 off each ticket. Call the box office on 01603 766400.

'The Sorrows of Mexico - Meet Mexico’s famous investigative journalists, Lydia Cacho and Anabel Hernández'

'In conversation - How observation, surveillance and protest became dominant themes for the City of Literature programme'



About the speakers

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro is a Mexican journalist, feminist and human rights activist, whose reporting focuses on violence against and sexual abuse of women and children. Despite being incarcerated, brutally tortured and threatened by corrupt officials for her work, she has become a leader of the freedom of expression and human rights movement in Mexico. She is also the author of a number of books of which Los Demonios del Edén/ Monsters in Eden (Grijalbo, 2005) and Memorias de una Infamia/ Memoirs of an Outrage (Debate, 2008) caused a national furore, while Slavery Inc.: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking (Portobello, 2013) has appeared in many languages throughout the world. She has received numerous international awards for her journalism, including the Civil Courage Prize, the Wallenberg Medal, the Olof Palme Prize, the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights and the Hrant Dink Award. In 2010, she was named U.N.A.N.I.M.A. World Press International Hero 2010 (for the International Press Institute in Vienna) and in March 2016 was awarded the A.L.B.A./Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism. Her most recent book, En busca de Kayla/ In Search of Kayla (Sexto Piso, 2013), is an illustrated short story to teach children about the power they have over their own safety on the internet and how to tackle human trafficking. Website

Lydia Cacho: 'They want to erase journalists in Mexico' (Guardian, April 2015)

Dangerous Women Project: Lydia Cacho (Dangerous Women Project, Dec 2016)


Anabel Hernández is a Mexican journalist known for her investigative journalism in newspapers, magazines and books, including works on slave labour, sexual exploitation, political corruption and abuse of power and the drug cartels. She started her career as a reporter at Reforma, later reporting for the national newspapers Milenio, Reforma, El Universal and its supplement, La Revista. Today she is a contributing journalist for the online publication Reporte Indigo and Proceso magazine. Her editorial on the importance of a Free Press in Mexico, called “The Perverse Power of Silence” in which she wrote, “If we remain silent we kill freedom, justice and the possibility that a society armed with information may have the power to change the situation that has brought us to this point” won her the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ Golden Pen of Freedom in 2012. Her books include Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers (Verso, 2013).

Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers (Verso Books, 2016)

'Mexico's war on drugs is one big lie' (Guardian, Sept 2013)