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Open the Door 2021: In Conversation with Kate Charlesworth and Shazleen Khan

21st May, 2021 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Illustration of Shazleen Khan

Open the Door, Scotland’s first ever festival for women’s writing returns this year for its fifth edition! Inspired by Glasgow’s long history of bold, creative women, our theme this year is writers who are artists and artists who are writers, and we’re celebrating how women creatives weave these two practices together.

In Conversation with Kate Charlesworth and Shazleen Khan, Friday 21st May, 6.30pm to 8pm, Online


Join cartoonist and illustrator Kate Charlesworth and illustrator, writer and designer Shazleen Khan as they talk together about the importance of representation and seeing yourself in comics and graphic novels, and about how queer visibility helps with finding and creating a sense of community.

Sensible Footwear cover. Credit: Kate Charlesworth
Sensible Footwear cover. Credit: Kate Charlesworth

We’ll hear about the journey of their careers, touching upon changes in the industry from print journalism, the main form of Kate’s early practice, to the flourishing digital and indie publishing scene now. Be inspired by them, get insight into their creative practices, and hear who has opened the door for them in this relaxed conversation!

We’re spotlighting the work of historical writer Edith Simon this Friday – a creative with an extraordinary portfolio of illustrative and experimental art and writing. Find out more about Edith here.

Kate Charlesworth, originally from Barnsley, South Yorkshire is a cartoonist and illustrator living and working in Edinburgh. Starting out as a freelance in the 1970s, alongside the illustration ‘day job’ she worked in the ‘golden age’ of gay publishing, where she and other cartoonists accidentally documented L & G history. Although her work has appeared across the media, for several years her focus has been on comics and graphic novels. In 2014 she collaborated with Mary and Bryan Talbot to illustrate Sally Heathcote: Suffragette (Jonathan Cape); and her 2019 graphic memoir/LGBT+ history, Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide (Myriad Editions) has been shortlisted for several awards. A French edition (Casterman) is scheduled for 2021.

Illustration of Shazleen Khan
Credit: Shazleen Khan

Shazleen Khan is an Award-Winning London based Illustrator, Writer and Designer, specialising in Narrative and Sequential Illustration. Shazleen began self publishing their graphic novel work in 2011 and has since gone on to achieve a First Class Bachelor’s (hons) degree in Illustration (2017) and an Master’s in Children’s Books and Graphic Novels (2018). Shazleen currently works as a freelance Illustrator, and their upcoming OGN Saving Sunshine, written by Saadia Faruqi, is being published by First Second.



This is one of our Attend events this Spring. You can sit back and enjoy the conversation whilst also having the opportunity to ask your own questions in an audience Q and A. You can see all our Open the Door festival events here.

Please note that this event will be recorded. The recording will be available to watch for a short period after the event, with auto-generated subtitles.

Open the Door 2021 is supported by the Open University in Scotland.


Booking is now closed for this event.

This event is free and open to all. To attend, please book below and we will share an email invitation with a Zoom link with you a few days before the event.  If you would like to make a donation to Glasgow Women’s Library, you can do so herePlease note that booking will close on Thursday 20th May.


This session takes place via an online video call link. If you would like to attend, please book below and we will share an email invitation along with simple and straight forward instructions on how this will work. If you have any concerns about how this will work for you, please do get in touch and we’ll do all we can to support you in joining the session.

Stagetext Live Captioning will be available at this event.

Open University logoOpen the Door Logo



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Glasgow Women’s Library
0141 550 2267