Chichester Speakers Festival 2019

29th and 30th of November

The Assembly Rooms, Chichester City Council
The Council House, North Street, Chichester


Friday 29th November 2019

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John Hemming

People of the Rainforest: The Villas Boas Brothers, Explorers and Humanitarians of the Amazon
Friday 29th November 10.30 – 11.45

In 1945 three young brothers joined Brazil's first government-sponsored expedition to cut into its Amazonian rainforests, and were soon leading the tough two-year exploration. This, and a series of later expeditions into unknown terrain, made them the most famous explorers in South America of their day.


The Villas Boas brothers made four thrilling and dangerous 'first contacts' with isolated indigenous peoples and organised dramatic rescues of others. Captivated by these resilient tribal communities, they spent the rest of their lives with them, learning about their societies and above all helping them adapt to modern Brazil without losing their cultural heritage, identity and pride. The Villas Boases' drive for adventure and discovery quickly turned into political advocacy as they changed Brazilian attitudes to native peoples. Eccentric and charismatic, the brothers used their fame and status as national treasures to achieve humanitarian goals, securing 26,000 square kilometres as the Xingu protected area for both tropical forests and their indigenous guardians. This was the first such reserve, and it has been replicated throughout South America, to protect a significant proportion of the world's surviving tropical rainforests.

John Hemming is a former director of the Royal Geographical Society and the author of many books, including The Conquest of the Incas. He is a renowned explorer of Amazonia and the leading authority on the history of Brazil's indigenous peoples.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Linda Yueh

The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today
Friday 29th November 12.00 - 13.15
What can the ideas of history’s greatest economists tell us about the most important issues of our time? Since the days of Adam Smith, economists have grappled with a series of familiar problems – but often their ideas are hard to digest, before we even try to apply them. In the light of current economic problems, Linda Yueh explores the thoughts of economists from Adam Smith and David Ricardo through Joan Robinson and Milton Friedman to Douglass North and Robert Solow. She explains how their lives and times affected their ideas, how our lives have been influenced by their work, and how they could help with the policy challenges that we face today.


What do the ideas of Karl Marx tell us about the likely future for the Chinese economy? How does the work of John Maynard Keynes, who argued for government spending to create full employment, help us think about state investment? And with globalisation in trouble, what can we learn about handling Brexit and Trumpism?


Dr Linda Yueh is a fellow in economics at the University of Oxford. She has been an advisor to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the World Bank, the European Commission, and the Asian Development Bank. She is also a broadcaster and was BBC Chief Business Correspondent as well as the former Economics Editor at Bloomberg TV.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Bishop Richard Harries

Haunted by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith
Friday 29th November 13.30 – 14.45
W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, William Golding, Elizabeth Jennings, C. S. Lewis, Flannery O'Connor and Stevie Smith are some of the great poets and novelists whose struggles with faith find expression in their works, and who demonstrate the fascinatingly different forms that faith can take in different times and places. Richard Harries considers the work of twenty of these writers, painting vivid pictures of their lives and times. He also provides numerous critically sympathetic insights into the spiritual dimension of their writings.

Richard Harries is both a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. After nineteen years as Bishop of Oxford he was made a Life Peer (Lord Harries of Pentregarth) and he remains active in the House of Lords on human rights issues. His voice is well known to many through his regular contributions to the Today programme.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Lord Baker of Dorking

On the Seven Deadly Sins
Friday 29th November 15.00 – 16.15

This talk is lavishly illustrated from Medieval manuscripts to Picasso. It explores how the Seven Deadly Sins of Pride, Anger, Sloth, Envy, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust have shaped history from the Greek and Roman Civilisations, through their heyday in the Middle Ages, when sinners really believed they could go to Hell for all eternity, to the secular world of today, where they are still an alluring and destructive force.

The pride of certain leaders has led to wars and devastation: Hitler in Russia; the Japanese at Pearl Harbour; and Saddam Hussein in Kuwait. Anger, when righteous, can be a virtue, which helped to end the slave trade in the 19th century and to expose child abuse today, but there is still personal anger in domestic violence and Daesh terrorism. Sloth can be an amiable weakness as Tennyson said, Ah why should life all labour be , but the rewards go to the energetic. Envy is the mainstay of the global advertising industry encouraging everyone to improve their lives, but it is also a secret vice, a self-destroying morbid appetite.

Avarice, has led to better living conditions for many people but also to the Great Depression, the financial collapse of 2008, and to 1,800 billionaires with the combined wealth of US $6.48 trillion.
Gluttony is not a sin but a destructive ailment leading to obesity, Lust that demands immediate gratification is clearly still a sin, whether Paris abduction of Helen of Troy, or websites that encourage marital infidelity, or the fate of many politicians, as Kipling said, For the sins they do by two and two, they must pay for one by one.

Lord Kenneth Baker is a British politician and a former Conservative MP having served in the Cabinets of Margaret Thatcher and John Major as Environment Secretary, Education Secretary and Home Secretary.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Lynn Truss in conversation with Lesley Thomson

The Constable Twitten Mysteries.
Friday 29th November 16.30 – 17.45

Lynne Truss’s comic crime series is set in Brighton in 1957 – a place of milk bars, rock-and-roll, sun-burn, Punch & Judy, and enormous amounts of unsolved crime. Heading criminal investigations is Inspector Steine, who, preferring to rise above matters criminal, was beautifully described by a recent reviewer as a policeman of “unrelenting idiocy”. But down the mean streets of Brighton strides the young, keen Constable Peregrine Twitten – brave, incorruptible, and much too clever for his own good.

In A Shot in the Dark, a loathsome theatre critic is shot dead in the stalls of the Theatre Royal. In The Man That Got Away, a young council official is found in a seafront deck-chair with his throat cut. In each book the body count builds up from there…

Lynne Truss is a nationally celebrated writer and broadcaster and has written for The Times, Woman's Journal, the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times, for which she regularly reviews books. She is also the author of ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation'.

Lesley Thomson is the author of the Detective's Daughter series of London-set mysteries featuring private investigators Stella, a cleaner, and Jack, a tube driver. The first novel, The Detective's Daughter, was a number one bestseller, and the series has gone on to sell 750,000 copies to date. Lesley's most recent book, The Playground Murders, sees Jack and Stella re-examine a cold case in which a child was convicted for murder. Lesley Thomson lives in Lewes in Sussex with her partner and her dog..


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Sir Robin Knox Johnson

Running Free: The Autobiography
Friday 29th November 18.00 – 19.15

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston burst to fame when he became the first man ever to complete a single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation of the world. Now, 50 years on from that famous voyage, he reveals the true, extraordinary story of his life.

After leaving school, he immediately joined the Royal Naval Reserve before serving in the merchant navy and travelling the world. During that time, he spied for the British government in the Gulf, worked in the South African dockyards, and built his boat Suhaili in Bombay, before sailing home to England. In June 1968, he set sail in Suhaili in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, and this talk vividly brings to life that remarkable voyage, where he was the only person to finish the race, completing his journey on 22 April 1969 and thus entering the record books. Once back home, he set up a hugely successful business and continued his naval adventures, completing a second solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2007 – and at 68, he became the oldest to complete this feat.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Tim Bouverie

Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War'
Friday 29th November 19.30 – 20.45

This talk is based on his bestselling book which was received with huge acclaim by the historians: Antony Beevor, Max Hastings and Peter Frankopan.

On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. It was, he later assured the crowd in Downing Street, ‘peace for our time’. Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began.

This is a compelling new narrative history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy and parliamentary infighting that enabled Nazi domination of Europe. Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, it sweeps from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Bouverie takes us into the backrooms of 10 Downing Street and Parliament, where a small group of rebellious MPs, including the indomitable Winston Churchill, were among the few to realise that the only choice was between ‘war now or war later’. And we enter the drawing rooms and dining clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class and even some members of the Royal Family.

Tim Bouverie was a political journalist at Channel 4 News, where he worked alongside Michael Crick, as his producer, and covered all major political events, including both the 2015 and 2017 General Elections and the EU Referendum. He has  written for the Spectator, Observer and Daily Telegraph.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Saturday 30th November 2019

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Vicky Pryce

Women vs Capitalism: Why We Can't Have it All in a Free Market Economy

Saturday 30th November 9.45 - 11.00


The free market as we know it cannot produce gender equality. This is the bold but authoritative argument of Vicky Pryce, the government's former economics chief. 'Women vs Capitalism' is a fresh and timely reminder that, although the #MeToo movement has been hugely important, empowerment of the mind will not achieve full power for women while there remains economic inequality. Pryce urgently calls for feminists to focus attention on this pressing issue: the pay gap, the glass ceiling, and the obstacles to women working at all. Only with government intervention in the labour market will these long-standing problems finally be conquered. From the gendered threat of robot labour to the lack of women in economics itself, this is a sharp look at an uncomfortable truth: we will not achieve equality for women in our society without radical changes to Western capitalism.


Vicky Pryce's recent posts have included: Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting; Director General for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); and Joint Head of the UK Government Economics Service where she was responsible for evidence based policy and for encouraging measures that promoted greater productivity in the UK economy.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Guy Leschziner

The Nocturnal Brain: Tales of Nightmares and Neuroscience 

Saturday 30th November 11.15- 12.30

What happens to our brain at night? Are we really fully asleep and if so how is it that some individuals end up doing what they do? Or can it be the case that perhaps the brain never fully goes to sleep and that in some individuals there is a disconnect between the sleeping part of their brain and the active part of their brain so that the two become confused? Does this happen to all of us in varying degrees and can the reverse be the case too – so that some individuals are actually asleep during the day while appearing to be awake?!

In this ground-breaking talk, Guy Leschziner takes us on a fascinating journey through the nocturnal brain to illustrate the neuroscience behind nightmares, night terrors and sleep walking - 'The Nocturnal Brain: Tales of Nightmares and Neuroscience'. His book currently features in the Sunday Times 100 Best Summer Reads 2019.


Dr Leschziner is a consultant neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, where he leads the Sleep Disorders Centre. He also works at London Bridge and Cromwell Hospitals. He is the presenter of the Mysteries of Sleep series on BBC Radio 4.  

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Denis MacShane

Brexiternity: The Uncertain Fate of Britain
Saturday 30th November 12.45 – 14.00

Never in the lifetime of most British adults has there been such uncertainty about the future of the political and governing institutions of the state. Brexit has the potential to change everything - from the shape of government institutions, to the main political parties, from Britain's relationship with its near neighbour Ireland to its international trading. Those of the Leave campaign won the vote in 2016. But now others are gently taking over. Here, MacShane explains how the Brexit process will be long and full of difficulties - arguing that a `Brexiternity' of negotiations and internal political wrangling in Britain lies ahead.

Denis MacShane was a Labour MP serving in Tony Blair's government as Minister for Europe. He was first elected as MP for Rotherham in 1994 and served until his resignation in 2012. MacShane studied at Oxford and London universities and is a prominent commentator on European issues.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Andrew Monaghan

Dealing with the Russians
Saturday 30th November 14.15 – 15.30
How to handle Russia? This question has become ever more prominent as the Euro-Atlantic community's relations with Russia languish in crisis, with dialogue suspended, reciprocal sanctions in place and proxy wars raging. The wars in Ukraine and Syria, accusations of Russian interference in domestic politics and the attempted murder of the Skripals on UK soil have all contributed to soaring tension in the relationship. Yet faced with this array of serious challenges, Euro-Atlantic thinking about Russia remains stuck in twentieth-century rhetoric, trapped by misleading abstract labels and unsure whether to engage Moscow in dialogue or enhance deterrence and collective defence. Instead of thinking in these terms, Monaghan argues that we must devise a new grand strategy for dealing with the Russians.
Dr. Andrew Monaghan is a researcher and analyst in the field of international politics. He is a Russianist in the area studies style, with a preference for old-fashioned Kremlinology. His particular interests are Russian domestic politics, strategy and biography. His primary role is as, Director of Research on Russia and Northern European Defence and Security at the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre, Pembroke College, Oxford.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Jonathan Fenby

Crucible: Twelve Months that Changed the World Forever
Saturday 30th November 15.45 – 17.00
One year shaped the world we know today. This is the story of the pivotal changes which were forged in the space of thirteen months between 1947-48 

Two years after the end of the second conflict to engulf the world in twenty years, and the defeat of the Axis powers under Germany, this momentous time saw the unrolling of the Cold War between Stalin's Soviet Russia and the West. America also came to play a truly global role for the first time.

The British Empire began its demise with the birth of the Indian and Pakistan republics with the flight of millions and wholesale slaughter. 1948 marked the creation of the state of Israel and the refugee flight of Palestinians and the first Arab-Israeli war. It also saw the victories of Communist armies and their final triumph in China as well as the coming of apartheid to South Africa and the division of Korea.
Jonathan Fenby is a former editor of the Observer and of the South China Morning Post. In 2013 he was awarded the Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur by the French government for his contribution towards understanding between Britain and France.

Crucible was named among Books of the Year by The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and BBC History Magazine.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Theodore Dalrymple

'In Praise of Folly: A Psychiatrist on the Blindspots of Genius
Saturday 30th November 17.15 - 18.30

Travelling to the hard-living Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse in Laugharne, Wales, psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple considered along the way another foible - the folly of eminent people. Praised for their attainments in one area, high-achievers are more often than not prone to unexpected failings elsewhere. Enter a large cast of anti- and vivisectionists, surgeons, theologians, philosophers, admirals, judges, astrophysicists, Nazi-leaning homoeopaths, and writers such as D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, P.G. Wodehouse, and Conan Doyle. In his pithy and amusing style, Dalrymple casts a sobering light on an insuppressible trait of ours:- the fallibility of the human mind.

Theodore Dalrymple is a psychiatrist who acts as expert-witness in murder trials. After working as a doctor in Africa and the Gilbert Islands, he returned to Britain and has worked in prisons and hospitals in the East End of London, the Midlands, and Birmingham. He is a contributor to The Times, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Spectator, and the British Medical Journal. He is the author of several books, including the acclaimed Spoilt Rotten, The Knife Went In, Litter, and the Pleasure of Thinking.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Lord David Howell

Look Where We’re Going: Escaping the Prism of Past Politics
Saturday 30th November 18.45 – 20.00

This talk is a fresh look at the ideas, hopes, lessons and largely unintended consequences of successive generations of political leaders; it shows us how to Look Where We’re Going.
Based on deep personal experience – the speaker is one of the few left who served in Margaret Thatcher’s first Cabinet of just over forty years ago – Howell gives us a new picture of the dramas deep inside government and how yesterday’s clashes of ideology and personality have led to today’s unanticipated turmoil. Old assumptions are torn apart and accepted versions of what occurred are unravelled.

Howell shows how technology has made much of our conventional political vocabulary obsolete, how we now need quite different types of leadership serving new priorities and how, while we wrestle with the issues just before our eyes, much bigger forces are at work which are re-shaping our lives and our future.


Lord Howell of Guildford acted as policy adviser to Edward Heath in the 1960s and in the late 1970s he became head of Margaret Thatcher's speech-writing team. He served as Minister of State in Northern Ireland, under William Whitelaw, from 1972 to 1974, at the height of the troubles, before going on to serve as Secretary of State for Energy & Secretary of State for Transport in the first Thatcher Cabinet.  In 2010 he was enrolled as Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office with special responsibilities for the Commonwealth and for international energy issues. He is currently chairman of the newly set-up House of Lords Committee for International Relations.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click HERE to purchase tickets

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