Journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue presents a history of the political and social reformations of Islam across the Muslim world, told through the forgotten and inspiring stories of philosophers, journalists and feminists, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 at the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium, 206-386-4636 . 

Library events are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. Parking is available in the Central Library garage for $6 after 5 p.m. 

"The Islamic Enlightenment" aims to be a narrative that rewrites everything Western culture thought it knew about the modern history of the Islamic world. De Bellaigue presents an account of the political and social reformations that transformed the lands of Islam in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This new book offers an assessment of the history of the Middle East since the Napoleonic Wars. 

De Bellaigue has worked as a journalist in south Asia and the Middle East, writing for the Economist, the Guardian, and the New York Review of Books. He is the award-winning author of four books, has made several BBC television and radio documentaries and has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Harvard and Oxford. He lives in London.