Michael Rosen: Author who survived 47 days on a ventilator with Covid, will speak in Edinburgh next month

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Children’s writer who nearly died from a virus to headline Edinburgh’s social justice and human rights festival in August.

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The former children’s laureate, will take to the stage at St. John’s Church to tell attendees about his near-death experience with the killer virus and discuss how society can emerge from the pandemic with a more equal future.

The 75-year-old author who penned the global bestseller, We’re going on A Bear Hunt, spent six weeks in a coma after contracting Covid-19 finally waking up in May 2020.

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Michael Rosen spent six weeks on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus. Photograph by: David LeveneMichael Rosen spent six weeks on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus. Photograph by: David Levene
Michael Rosen spent six weeks on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus. Photograph by: David Levene

Upon waking he discovered he had almost died several times and due to weakening of muscles through lack of use he had to relearn basic skills, such as how to walk.

Since recovering from the virus Mr Rosen has become an outspoken critic of the UK Government’s pandemic response.

In March, 2021 he backed calls for a public inquiry into the UK’s handling of the pandemic, alongside other prominent figures including the broadcaster Joan Bakewell, the film director Stephen Frears and the music producer and composer Talvin Singh.

Ahead of speaking at Edinburgh’s Just Festival next month Mr Rosen will explore alternative approaches to recovering from Covid-19.

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Festival director Helen Trew says: “The last year has shattered many illusions and laid bare the inequality at the heart of our society. So, as we come of age, it is time to put our shoulder to the wheel of a better, fairer, inclusive future for us all.”

Running from August 6-30, the festival will also feature a range of innovative events and art installations presented, through a blend of digital discussion and performance plus live audience events.

Originally established as the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, Just Festival celebrates humanity in all its differences and encourages the exploration of new perspectives in the hope of reducing religious, political and social intolerance.

Director of Events Paul Bush OBE said: “The Just Festival is a timely event that I am sure will spark engaging debate while offering a welcome return to in-person experiences for audiences alongside its impressive virtual programme and I am delighted that EventScotland has been able to support it through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund.”

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