Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop

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The Shame Game by Mary O'Hara

Thursday, Mar 05 2020
19:30 - 21:00
Mary O'Hara, Paul Sng
location: The Bookshop

Book places here.

Award-winning journalist and writer of Austerity Bites, Mary O’Hara, looks at the pernicious narrative demonising people in poverty. Historically, “bad decisions” and personal flaws have been used to blame people living in poverty for their own circumstances, rather than economic inequality or policy decisions. This has invaded the public consciousness and influenced people across the country in their ideas and dealing with the most vulnerable people in our society.

Drawing on a two-year multi-platform initiative, this book by award-winning journalist and author Mary O’Hara, asks how we can overturn this fundamentally pernicious portrayal once and for all. Crucially, she turns to the real experts to try to find answers – the people who live it.

Mary will be interviewed by filmmaker and activist Paul Sng.


Mary O’Hara is an award-winning journalist and author specialising in social policy and social justice. She was inspired to write about social issues in part because of her experience of childhood poverty growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mary freelances across a number of publications and platforms including The Guardian and Mosaic Science. She is also an executive producer on the podcast Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness and founder of the anti-poverty initiative, Project Twist-It.

Mary is the author of Austerity Bites: A Journey to the Sharp End of Cuts in the UK and has contributed to other books including The Violence of Austerity (Pluto Press, 2017) and ‘Council Skies’ (2019) by the artist PeteMcKee.

Paul Sng is a filmmaker and writer of dual British and Singaporean heritage whose work focuses on people who challenge the status quo. In 2015 he founded Velvet Joy Productions to explore the lives and work of individuals who have been neglected, marginalised or misrepresented by mainstream media.


Remember you can buy your tickets in the shop & save yourself the eventbrite booking fee :P

The bookshop is wheelchair accessible, events are seated and speakers use microphones throughout their events. We have further details about accessibility HERE, or feel free to get in touch, we’re happy to help however we can!

The Bookshop operates a Safe Space Policy which all guests and speakers are asked to respect - you can read it here.

As ever we have 15 free tickets available for this event! These are intended to make the evening accessible to those who are unwaged/ on benefits/ might not otherwise be able to attend - If you can afford a £3 ticket please book one as this supports the bookshop and allows us to save free places for those who can’t, thanks!

Book places here.