The Sacred

The Sacred

A podcast about the things we hold sacred, and how to talk to people different from ourselves.

Arifa Akbar on freedom, the ethics of writing a memoir and what we can learn from the arts

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Arifa is the chief theatre critic at The Guardian. She is a former contributor to The Observer and previously worked as the arts editor at Tortoise Media. She is also a trustee of the Orwell Foundation, and has been a judge for the UK Theatre Awards and the Women's Prize for Fiction among others. She is also author of ‘Consumed’ about the life and early death of her sister from tuberculosis.

Arifa speaks about why choice and freedom are sacred to her, her spiritual encounters with Islam, the delicacy of telling other people’s stories and the power of the arts.

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About this podcast

The Sacred is a podcast about our deepest values, the stories that shape us and how we can build empathy and understanding between people who are very different.

Each episode features a conversation with someone who has a public voice, from academics to journalists, playwrights and politicians. We ask them where they have come from, what they are trying to do and what might help heal our very divided public conversations.

The Sacred is hosted by Elizabeth Oldfield, former director of Theos think tank.

For more information about the people and ideas behind the podcast, visit or follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank, @sacred_podcast and @ESOldfield.

by Theos think tank


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