From the writings of Swift and Dickens to Goya's Third of May and Picasso's Guernica, art and literature have often been interwoven with politics. But today there are many, like the critics of Joker and the novels of Hilary Mantel, who argue that art has no alternative but to be political, and that a failure to recognise this makes the work worthless.

Should we see all creative work as playing a vital part in forming the culture of our time, and thus as inherently political? Or is this to undermine the very nature of art, which should be focused on creating work that is of aesthetic value and offers new ways of making sense of the world?

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, Director of the Young Vic theatre Kwame Kwei-Armah, celebrated Jamaican dub poet Linton Kwesi-Johnson and Carnegie Prize winning novelist Meg Rosoff consider the importance of politics in art.

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