Matrix Law Pod – What do human rights lawyers across the world enjoy reading?


Each week as part of our Matrix Law Pod series, we have been asking our guests to recommend a book for our listeners to read in lockdown. As you can see below, there is a wide range of genres.

To find out more about our podcast series and to listen to the latest one, please see here.

Episode 12: The Magnitsky Method – Hitting Human Rights Abusers Where it Hurts

  • Bill Browder, financier and policitcal activist, the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, recommended ‘Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia’ by Catherine Belton.

Episode 11: Building Back Better – Do Covid, Brexit and Black Lives Matter present a moment of constitutional opportunity for the UK?

  • Kate O’Regan, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, recommended the novel ‘Apeirogon’ by Colum McCann.
  • Alan Miller, Co-Chair of the Scottish National Taskforce on Human Rights Leadership, recommended ‘The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World’ by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams.

Episode 10: Past, Present, Future – Transitional Justice for Turbulent Times – a discussion with Paul Van Zyl

  • Paul Van Zyl, former Executive Secretary of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and co-founder of the International Centre for Transitional Justice, recommended Eric Lui’s ‘You’re More Powerful Than You Think’, a study of citizen activism.

Episode 9: Death, Protest, Change – A Discussion With David Lammy MP On The Response To The Killing Of George Floyd

  • David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, recommends ‘White Fragility’ by Robin DiAngelo.

Episode 7 – United or Divided? The Virus and Devolution

  • Professor Aileen McHarg, Professor of Public Law and Human Rights at Durham Law School recommended Hilary Mantel’s ‘The Mirror and the Light’ and Deborah Orr’s memoir ‘Motherwell: A Girlhood’.
  • Dr Evelyn Collins, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland recommended Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel ‘Go, Went, Gone’ translated from the German.
  • Professor Daniel Wincott, Blackwell Law and Society Chair at Cardiff University recommended the poetry of Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heany and Jackie Kay.

Episode 6 – The State of the Union – Trump, the virus and the American way

  • Professor David Cole, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, recommended ‘Heavy’ by Kiese Laymon and ‘The Guest Book’ by Sarah Blake.

Episode 5 – Every breath you take – data tracking in the age of Covid-19

  • Cori Crider,  a US qualified lawyer and the co-founder of Foxglove, recommended ‘If God Is Dead, Your Time Is Everything’ by Martin Hägglund.

Episode 4 – Unequal Impact: Race, Gender and Poverty in Times of Crisis

  • Martha Spurrier, a barrister and current Director of the prominent civil liberties organisation, Liberty. recommended Maggie Nelson’s ‘The Argonauts’, a beautiful exploration of motherhood, gender identity and sexuality.
  • Afua Hirsch, a barrister and well known author, journalist and broadcaster, for amongst others the Guardian, LBC and Sky News recommended ‘Minor Feelings’ by Cathy Park Hongan, an essential polemic on being Asian in America, and a beautifully written story about immigration and identity.

Episode 3 -The Sound of Silence: The Vacuum in International Leadership and its Impact on the World’s Poorest

  • Muthoni Wanyeki, the Open Society Foundation’s Africa Director, recommended ‘An Orchestra of Minorities’ by Chigozie Obioma.
  • Colin Gonsalves, one of India’s most prominent human rights lawyers, recommended ‘Siddhartha: An Indian Tale’ by Hermann Hesse.

Episode 2: Power Grabs – Covid Across the Globe

  • Michael Sfard, a leading human rights lawyer in Israel, recommended David Grossman’s  ‘A Horse Walks into a Bar’.
  • Patricia Ho, a prominent human rights lawyer in Hong Kong, has been enjoying reading books with her young children. She recommend ‘Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffers.