This lecture is the first in a series of annual lectures held in honour of former PEN President, the author, visionary and human rights campaigner, H.G. Wells. H.G. Wells foresaw the creation of the worldwide web, most particularly in a series of talks and essays which he first published in 1936 under the title ‘World Brain’. The PEN/H.G. Wells lecture will showcase visionary writing and new thinking that embodies the spirit of the pioneering writing and activism of H.G. Wells. The inaugural lecture will be given by Audrey Niffenegger.