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We have hosted authors for many years now and we are so pleased to be back!

Hundreds of  books have been discussed by the person that knows them best (the author!)

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From small beginning's with a modest festival that we held in Lewes, East Sussex we have grown significantly and now organise and host our popular Speakers Festivals throughout the year.

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Lewes Speakers Festival 2023

20th, 21st and 22nd of January 2023 at All Saints Centre, Lewes

Friday 20th January 2023

The Countess of Carnarvon

Seasons at Highclere:

Gardening, Growing, and Cooking through the Year at the Real Downton Abbey

Friday 20th January 17.30 – 18.40

In this talk, join Lady Carnarvon as she opens the gates to Highclere Castle, the 'real Downton Abbey' and where the series was filmed. You will discover how the iconic British landmark celebrates and changes each season.

She reveals the treasures within Highclere Castle's land and estates: Georgian architecture, follies, secret gardens, the monks' garden, wildflower meadows and the woods of enchantment. Alongside history and anecdotes, she also details sumptuous recipes for dishes inspired by local, seasonal produce, such as Heritage Tomato Tart, Highclere Baked Figs with Goats Cheese, and Honeyed Winter Vegetable Salad.

She gives the stories of the treasures within Highclere Castle's grounds, untold secrets from the castle's archives and much more.

Fiona, 8th Countess of Carnarvon, is the wife of Geordie, 8th Earl of Carnarvon. She and her husband and son live 'quietly' with eight dogs, too many horses, a brood of chickens, a number of bee hives and some rare breed pigs, amongst the normal farm animals in the farm and landscape of Highclere Castle today.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Vince Cable

How to be a Politician: 2,000 Years of Good (and Bad) Advice

Friday 20th January 19.00 – 20.10


Structured to follow the arc of a life in politics - from childhood aspirations and first attempts at getting elected, to navigating the back benches, ascending the greasy pole, dealing with detractors, facing crises, and finally escaping - this unique collection weaves together the wittiest, wisest and most acerbic political quotations from the last 2,000 years. Punctuated throughout by candid insights from Sir Vince Cable, this talk is a timeless and entertaining education in the dark arts of politics.

Vince Cable is the former Liberal Democrat leader 2017-2019 and was Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills 2010-2015. Some of his achievements include launching the world's first ever Green Investment Bank that supports young people through apprenticeships and the promotion of socially responsible capitalism. He is currently a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Saturday 21st January 2023

Angela Gallop

How to Solve a Crime: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Forensics

Saturday 21st January 9.50 – 11.00


Forensic science is one of the most important aspects of any criminal investigation. The impartial and objective evidence it provides can help convict the guilty. It enables courts to have confidence in their decisions and to ensure that justice is done. 

Professor Angela Gallop has been at the forefront of forensics for more than 45 years. During her remarkable career, she has established and run forensic science laboratories and has worked on thousands of cases in the UK and across the world. In this talk, she describes some of her own and her colleagues most intriguing cases and the wide range of skills and techniques used to solve them.


Whether it's looking at blood patterns and footwear marks at crime scenes to work out what happened, extracting data from suspects mobile phones to discover where they were at critical times, or analysing fragments of textiles fibres, glass or paint to determine where they might have come from, Gallop shows that every contact really does leave a trace and every trace can help to solve a crime. 

Angela Gallop is one of the UK’s most eminent forensic scientists, she is known for setting up full scale forensic science laboratories and for leading scientific teams responsible for solving many of the UK’s most complex and high-profile cold cases.


A Q & A Session will follow.

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Joe Zammit-Lucia
The New Political Capitalism:

How Businesses and Societies Can Thrive in a Deeply Politicized World
Saturday 21st January 11.20 – 12.30

In this talk, Zammit-Lucia explains the lack of familiarity of the business community, even at the most senior levels, with political thinking. He demonstrates how businesses that develop effective political antennae can enhance their performance.

He challenges the notion that business is, or can ever be, 'apolitical' and argues that politics - the visible reflection of social values and cultural trends - shapes the environment in which business operates. Socio-political issues increasingly affect purchasing decisions with the marketplace becoming one way in which citizens express their political identity - the rise of what some have called 'political consumerism'. Markets themselves are politically constructed, and investors increasingly focus on corporations' political positions - be they environmental or societal.

Drawing upon extensive research and case studies, this talk weaves together socio-political trends with business purpose, strategy and operations. From why businesses exist at all, to the importance of diversity, and what a company stands for, both culturally and politically.

Joe Zammit-Lucia is an entrepreneur, investor, leadership advisor and commentator. He advises senior business and institutional leaders on leadership in contemporary culture. He writes on business and politics for The Huffington Post (UK), Het Financieele Dagblad (Netherlands), Die Achse Des Guten (Germany), The Guardian (UK), The Times of Malta (Malta) and The Stanford Review of Social Innovation (USA).


A Q & A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Xi: A Study in Power
Kerry Brown
Saturday 21st January 14.20 – 15.30

Although Xi Jinping came to power a decade ago, he remains an enigmatic figure in the West. His priority has always been to keep Chinese society as stable as possible, steering a course through a period of astounding economic growth, while ensuring that nothing challenges the political status quo.

But with unrest stirring in Hong Kong, reports of human rights abuses taking place in the Xinjiang region and, devastatingly, the outbreak of a virus that would change the world, suddenly understanding Xi's China is more important than ever before.

In this talk, Kerry Brown examines the complexities behind the man, explaining the impact that his rule is already having on the West. But who is Xi really, and what is his vision for China's future? And, crucially, what does that mean for the rest of the world?

Kerry Brown is a Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at Kings College London. He is the author of over ten books on modern Chinese politics, history and language.


A Q & A Session will follow.

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Olesya Khromeychuk
UKRAINE TALK - The Death of a Soldier Told by His Sister
Saturday 21st January 15.50 – 17.00

Killed by shrapnel as he served in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Olesya Khromeychuk's brother Volodymyr died on the frontline in eastern Ukraine. As Olesya tries to come to terms with losing her brother, she also tries to process the Russian invasion of Ukraine: as an immigrant living far from the frontline, as an historian of war and how societies respond to them, and as a woman, a civilian, and a sister.

She tells the story of her brother - the wiser older sibling, the artist and the soldier - and of his death. Deeply moving and thoughtful, in this talk, she picks apart the ways political violence shapes everyone and everything it touches and depicts with extraordinary intimacy the singular and complicated bond between a brother and sister. Olesya's vivid talk is a personal and powerful commitment to honesty in life, in death and in memory. She writes:

'Soon before he died, my brother said he had become a warrior. Why would a thinker, an artist, wish to become a soldier? Perhaps I didn't appreciate what it meant to be a thinker and an artist, or, maybe, what it meant to be a soldier.'

Olesya Khromeychuk is an historian and writer. She has taught the history of East-Central Europe at the University of Cambridge, University College London, the University of East Anglia and King’s College London, and has written for the New York Review of Books, Der Spiegel, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.


A Q & A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Robert Hardman
Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II
Saturday 21st January 17.20 – 18.30

Based on the book which was an Amazon No. 1 Bestseller and Sunday Times Bestseller this is the definitive biographical talk about Queen Elizabeth II by one of Britain’s leading royal authorities.

With original insights from those who knew her best, new interviews with world leaders and access to unseen papers, bestselling author Robert Hardman explores the full, astonishing life of our longest reigning monarch in this compellingly authoritative yet intimate biography.

Elizabeth II was not born to be queen. Yet from her accession as a young mother of two in 1952 to the age of Covid-19, she proved an astute and quietly determined figure, leading her family and her people through more than seventy years of unprecedented social change. She faced constitutional crises, confronted threats against her life, rescued the Commonwealth, saw her prime ministers come and go, charmed world leaders, was criticised as well as feted by the media, and steered her family through a lifetime in the public eye.

Robert Hardman is an internationally renowned writer and broadcaster, specializing in royalty and history for more than twenty five years. He has previously written the acclaimed books Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work, Our Queen and Queen of the World, along with the BBC and ITV television documentaries of the same name.  

Hardman interviewed the Prince of Wales for the BBC’s Charles at 60, the Duke of Edinburgh for the BBC’s The Duke: In His Own Words and the Princess Royal for ITV’s Anne: The Princess Royal at 70. He wrote and co-produced the BBC’s Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, for which he interviewed a dozen members of the Royal Family. He is also an award-winning newspaper journalist for the Daily Mail in London.  


 A Q & A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Mark Thomas
50 Things About Us: What We Really Need to Know About Britain
Saturday 21st January 18.50 – 20.00

This talk is a fast and furiously funny journey through our national memory. It's about money, history, songs, gongs, wigs, unicorns, guns, bungs, sods of soil and the rich.

'Patriotism is often the point where history and advertising intersect, and it was that brand of nationalism that Rees-Mogg and Johnson attempted to sell. It is a brand that can only hark backwards; a nostalgic nationalism built on half histories and wishes... The kind of patriotism where the poetry of John Betjeman sits alongside blaming migrants for TB. But that is not our story. In fact, it is far from the narrative so many of us are a part of.'
From self-deceptions on size, stature and space (clue: there's more than enough for everyone if we lose the golf courses) to the living links between empire, slavery, money and power, this is Mark Thomas' quest to remind us of the true and shared greatness of modern Britain.

Structured as a list of fifty crucial 'Things', and fresh from a lock-down spent interviewing hundreds of NHS workers for the Wellcome Collection permanent archive, this is Mark Thomas at his provocative, passionate best.

Mark Thomas is an English comedian, presenter, political satirist, and journalist. He first became known as a guest comic on the BBC Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience in the late 1980s. He is best known for political stunts on his show, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product on Channel 4. Thomas describes himself as a "libertarian anarchist".

 A Q & A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Andrea Leadsom
Snakes and Ladders
Saturday 21st January 20.20 - 21.30

In the high-stakes world of politics, there are superb highs and terrible lows – and never more so than in the period since 2010, during which so much has changed. Few are better placed to give an insider’s view of the turmoil than the Dame Andrea Leadsom.

From working cross-party on reform of the European Union to taking to the stage at Wembley as a key figure in the Leave campaign, through two leadership bids, Cabinet intrigue, squaring off against an increasingly erratic Speaker, founding a campaign to give babies the best start for life and securing a landmark Spending Review settlement, Andrea’s story tracks the ups and downs of a political career and particularly some of the challenges for female MPs. In this very personal talk, she gives a real insight into the daily goings-on with ministers, parliamentary colleagues, civil servants, special advisers, the media and constituents.

As a lifelong optimist, Andrea argues that political careers don’t always – as is so often claimed – end in failure, and explains how, like a game of snakes and ladders, politics is often about getting yourself into the right place at the right time.

Dame Andrea Leadsom has served in government as Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She is currently serving as the government’s Early Years Healthy Development Adviser.


A Q & A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

Sunday 22nd January 2023

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Anil Seth
Being You: A New Science of Consciousness
Sunday 22nd January 9.50 - 11.00

This talk is based on the book which was: a top 10 Sunday Times Bestseller; a New Statesman, Economist, & Bloomberg Book of the Year; and a Financial Times and Guardian Science Book of the Year.

Being you is not as simple as it sounds. Somehow, within each of our brains, billions of neurons create our everyday conscious experience. But how does this happen? Anil Seth's unique and ground-breaking theory of what it means to 'be you' challenges our understanding of perception and reality, doing for brain science what Dawkins did for evolutionary biology.

Being You is an accessible, inspiring and eye-opening exploration of consciousness by one of the most remarkable pioneers working in science today.

Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Neuroscience of Consciousness.  HIs 2017 main-stage TED talk had more than 13 million views and is one of TED’s most popular science talks.

A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Diana Darke

The Ottomans: A Cultural Legacy

Sunday 22nd January 11.20 - 12.30


At its height, the Ottoman Empire spread from Yemen to the gates of Vienna. Western perceptions of the Ottomans have often been distorted by Orientalism, characterizing their rule as oppressive and destructive, while seeing their culture as exotic and incomprehensible. Based on a lifetime’s experience of living and working across its former provinces, Diana Darke offers a unique overview of the Ottoman Empire’s cultural legacy one century after its dissolution. She uncovers a vibrant, sophisticated civilization that embraced both arts and sciences, whilst welcoming refugees from all ethnicities and religions, notably Christians and Jews.

Darke celebrates the culture of the Ottoman Empire, from its aesthetics and architecture to its scientific and medical innovations, including the first vaccinations. She investigates the crucial role that commerce and trade played in supporting the empire and increasing its cultural reach, highlighting the significant role of women, as well as the diverse religious values, literary and musical traditions that proliferated through the empire. Beautifully illustrated with manuscripts, miniatures, paintings and photographs this talk presents the magnificent achievements of an empire that lasted over 600 years and encompassed Asian, European and African cultures, shedding new light on its complex legacy.


Diana Darke is the author of Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe, which was one of BBC History Magazine’s best books of 2020 and chosen by William Dalrymple as his history book of the year. Her other books include The Merchant of Syria, My House in Damascus and The Last Sanctuary in Aleppo, as well as travel guides on Turkey and Syria.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Peter Stothard interviewed by Norman Baker
Crassus - The First Tycoon
Sunday 22nd January 12.50 - 14.00
The story of Rome’s richest man, who died a humiliating desert death in search of military glory.

Marcus Licinius Crassus (115–53 BCE) was a modern man in an ancient world, a pioneer disrupter of finance and politics, and the richest man of the last years of the Roman republic. Without his catastrophic ambition, this trailblazing tycoon might have quietly entered history as Rome’s first modern political financier. Instead, Crassus and his son led an army on an unprovoked campaign against Parthia into what are now the borderlands of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, losing a battle at Carrhae which scarred Roman minds for generations.

After Crassus was killed, historians told many stories of his demise. Some said that his open mouth, shriveled by desert air, had been filled with molten gold as testament to his lifetime of greed. His story poses both immediate and lasting questions about the intertwining of money, ambition, and power.

Peter Stothard is an author, journalist, and critic. He is a former Editor of The Times of London and of the Times Literary Supplement.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Ian Williams
The Fire of the Dragon: China’s New Cold War
Sunday 22nd January 14.20 – 15.30
Under President Xi Jinping, China’s global ambitions have taken a dangerous new turn. Bullying and intimidation have replaced diplomacy, trade and investment. Beijing has strengthened its alliance with Vladimir Putin, supporting Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, and brooks no criticism of its own flagrant human rights violations against the Uyghur population in western China.

Western leaders say they don’t want a cold war with China, but it’s a little too late for that. Beijing is already waging a more complex, broader and more dangerous cold war than the old one with the Soviet Union. And it is intensifying.
This thought-provoking and alarming talk examines this new cold war’s many fronts – from Taiwan and the South China Sea to the Indian frontier, the Arctic and cyberspace. In doing so it proclaims the clear and sobering message that we must open our eyes to the reality of China’s rise and its ruthless bid for global dominance.
Ian Williams was foreign correspondent for Channel 4 News, based in Russia (1992–1995) and then Asia (1995–2006). He then joined NBC News as Asia Correspondent (2006–2015), when he was based in Bangkok and Beijing. As well as reporting from China over the last 25 years, he has also covered conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East and Ukraine. He won an Emmy and BAFTA awards for his discovery and reporting on the Serb detention camps during the war in Bosnia.

A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Mark Galeotti
Putin's Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine
Sunday 22nd January 15.50 – 17.00

A new history of how Putin and his conflicts have inexorably reshaped Russia, including his devastating invasion of Ukraine.

This talk provides a timely overview of the conflicts in which Russia has been involved since Vladimir Putin became prime minister and then president of Russia, from the First Chechen War to the two military incursions into Georgia, the annexation of Crimea and the eventual invasion of Ukraine itself. But it also looks more broadly at Putin's recreation of Russian military power and its expansion to include a range of new capabilities, from mercenaries to operatives in a relentless information war against Western powers. This is an engrossing strategic overview of a rejuvenated Russian military and its successes and failures on the battlefield.


The talk is also peppered with anecdotes of military life, personal snapshots of conflicts, and an extraordinary collection of first-hand accounts from serving and retired Russian officers.

Russia continues to dominate the news cycle throughout the Western world. There is no better time to understand how and why Putin has involved his armed forces in a variety of conflicts for over two decades. There are few thinkers better placed to demystify the capabilities of the Russian military and give a glimpse into what the future may hold.

Professor Mark Galeotti is one of the foremost Russia-watchers today. He  travels there regularly to teach, lecture, talk to his contacts, and generally watch the unfolding story of the Putin era. Based in London, he is Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague, having previously headed its Centre for European Security, and was before then Professor of Global Affairs at NYU. A prolific author on Russia and security affairs, he frequently acts as consultant to various government, commercial and law-enforcement agencies.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Ben Robinson
England's Villages: An Extraordinary Journey Through Time
Sunday 22nd January 17.20 - 18.30

England's villages have survived, developed, and thrived over hundreds of years. But what makes a village and how has that changed over time?

Take a charming and unexpected journey through the quirks of England's villages throughout the ages in the excellent company of Dr Ben Robinson, expert archaeologist. Join him in visiting villages from prehistoric, to Roman, to medieval times, all the way through to today's modern, urban villages. Discover how landowners, governments and communities have shaped villages, why village greens, village pubs and village halls exist, and the real meaning behind names like Bunny, Yelling, Lover, Great Snoring and Slaughter.

This talk is based on his study of archaeology, history and architecture and gives a vision of our oldest homes, uncovering and revealing the extraordinary heritage of the places that surround us.

Dr Ben Robinson, 'The Flying Archaeologist' is an archaeologist, broadcaster and author. As a youth, Ben persuaded the RAF to teach him to fly. He has enjoyed an aerial perspective on landscape history as a pilot of microlight aircraft ever since. His TV credits include many BBC regional Inside Out programmes. Ben also co-presented three series of Channel 4's Britain's Most Historic Towns with Alice Roberts, acting as 'the eye in the sky' (2018-2020).

In 2019 Ben presented BBC series Pubs, Ponds and Power: The Story of the Village (BBC One, BBC Four, BBC Two) and in 2020 Villages by the Sea (BBC One and BBC Two). The second series of Villages by the Sea was shown on BBC Two in November and December 2021. The 3rd series of Villages by the Sea was shown on BBC Two in October 2022.

A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

Christina Lamb

The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless: A True Story of Love and Compassion Amid a Pandemic

Sunday 22nd January 18.50 – 20.00


A story of poverty, generosity and worlds colliding in modern Britain.

When Covid-19 hit the UK and lockdown was declared, Mike Matthews wondered how his four-star hotel would survive. Then the council called. The British government had launched a programme called ‘Everyone In’ and 33 rough sleepers – many of whom had spent decades on the street – needed beds. The Prince Rupert Hotel would go on to welcome well over 100 people from this community, offering them shelter, good food and a comfy bed during the pandemic.

This is the story of how that luxury hotel spent months locked down with their new guests, many of them traumatised, addicts or suffering from mental illness. As a world-leading foreign correspondent turning her attention to her own country for the first time, Christina Lamb chronicles how extreme situations were handled and how shocking losses were suffered, how romances emerged between guests and how people grappled with their pasts together.

Unexpected and profound, heart-warming and heartbreaking, this is a tale that gives a panoramic insight into modern Britain in all its failures, and people in all their capacities for kindness – even in the most difficult of times.


Christina Lamb is US editor for the Sunday Times. In 2009 she was awarded the prestigious Prix Bayeux Calvados for her reporting from Afghanistan. She won the Foreign Press Association Award for Story of the Year in 2007,  and was also named Foreign Correspondent of the Year. She is the author of the best-selling ‘The Africa House’, ‘The Sewing Circles of Herat’, and ‘I Am Malala’, co-authored with Malala Yousafzai.

A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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