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Lewes Speakers Festival 2023

12th, 13th and 14th May 2023 at All Saints Centre, Lewes

Friday 12th May 2023

Jade McGlynn
Russia’s War

Friday 12th May 17.30 – 18.40

In the early hours of 24 February 2022, Russian forces attacked Ukraine. The brutality of the Russian assault has horrified the world. But Russians themselves appear to be watching an entirely different war – one in which they are the courageous underdogs and kind-hearted heroes successfully battling a malign Ukrainian foe.

Russia analyst Jade McGlynn takes us on a journey into this parallel military and political universe to reveal the sometimes monstrous, sometimes misconstrued attitudes behind Russian majority backing for the invasion. Drawing on media analysis and interviews with ordinary citizens, officials and foreign-policy elites in Russia and Ukraine, McGlynn explores the grievances, lies and half-truths that pervade the Russian worldview. She also exposes the complicity of many Russians, who have invested too deeply in the Kremlin’s alternative narratives to regard the war as Putin’s foolhardy mission. In their eyes, this is Russia’s war – against Ukraine, against the West, against evil – and there can be no turning back.

Jade McGlynn is a specialist in Russian media, memory and foreign policy in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. She is the author of Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin’s Russia and frequently writes and comments for the media, including CNN, BBC, The Times, The Spectator, The Telegraph, MSNBC, The Diplomat, and Foreign Policy.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Ed Stourton


The agenda-challenging, unexpected memoir from one of our best-loved broadcasters

Friday 12th May 19.00 – 20.10

Edward Stourton was born into a life of privilege. The son of ex-pat parents in colonial Nigeria, Ed was sent back to Britain to be educated by Benedictine monks at Ampleforth, at the time when, it was later revealed, the school and monastery were the setting for serial abuse cases. He then went up to Cambridge, where his life as an undergraduate gave him access to a network of future ministers, judges and newspaper editors. As a young journalist, he reported first from party conferences and picket lines and then from war zones, witnessing the events making international headlines, from Haiti to Hong Kong, before returning home to join the infighting on BBC Radio 4's Today.

During this time, the Empire has given way to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, men-only clubs have been replaced by Me Too, and instead of a choice selection of voices on a handful of radio and television channels, we have millions of voices on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok. The world has changed, and so has Ed. Brought face to face with the author of his obituary and his own inevitable mortality, Ed is prompted to reflect on the life he has led and the events that have shaped him. In this talk, he describes this remarkable journey with candour, humour and the insight that only forty years' experience of writing and reporting can provide.

Edward Stourton regularly presents BBC Radio Four programmes such as The World at One, The World This Weekend, Sunday and Analysis. He has been a foreign correspondent for Channel Four, ITN and the BBC, and for ten years he was one of the main presenters of the Today programme.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Lizzie Dearden 

Plotters: The UK Terrorists Who Failed

Friday 12th May 20.30 – 21.40


This talk provides an eye-opening account of the British terror attacks you’ve never heard of―because the perpetrators were caught in time.

Since 2017, the UK has seen fifteen terrible terrorist attacks. But the atrocities on our evening news are the tip of a vast iceberg. Security services are striving to contain a staggering 3,000 jihadists, far-right extremists and other potential threats. We are in a new age of terror, with self-radicalising, hard-to-categorise individuals planning violence―but each one caught by the British state tells us something about British society.

For every successful plot in the six years since Westminster Bridge, more than twice as many have been foiled. Some were thwarted by nerve-wracking undercover operations; others were narrowly averted by heroic citizens, or ruined by the absurd mistakes of would-be attackers. Invariably, the all-too-human stories of these failed terrorists reveal the true picture of UK extremism.

Through interviews with senior counter-terror figures and astonishing court testimony, this talk unpacks how and why British terror attacks happen―and don’t. From dating websites and prison cells to Telegram networks and Tesco knives, Lizzie Dearden’s deep dive offers one disturbing certainty: the plotters will keep coming. To confront them, we need to understand them.

Lizzie Dearden has been covering terrorism as a journalist since Isis declared its caliphate in Syria and Iraq in 2014. She initially reported on Isis-inspired attacks around the world and the group’s propaganda and strategy, before her work widened to cover other kinds of terrorism. She has focused on terror attacks and prosecutions, security threats and extremism of all kinds in the UK in-depth since 2017 and is now the Independent’s home affairs editor.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Saturday 13th May 2023

Roger Highfield

Virtual You: How Building Your Digital Twin Will Revolutionize Medicine and Change Your Life

Saturday 13th May 9.50 – 11.00


This talk is about the visionary science behind the digital human twins that will enhance our health and our future. Highfield gives a panoramic account of efforts by scientists around the world to build digital twins of human beings, from cells and tissues to organs and whole bodies. These virtual copies will usher in a new era of personalised medicine, one in which your digital twin can help predict your risk of disease, participate in virtual drug trials, shed light on the diet and lifestyle changes that are best for you, and help identify therapies to enhance your well-being and extend your lifespan―but thorny challenges also remain.


He reveals what it will take to build a virtual, functional copy of a person in five steps. Along the way, he takes you on a fantastic voyage through the complexity of the human body, describing the latest scientific and technological advances, from multiscale modelling to extraordinary new forms of computing, that will make “virtual you” a reality, while also considering the ethical questions inherent to realizing truly predictive medicine.


Roger Highfield is Science Director at the Science Museum Group, a member of the Medical Research Council, and visiting professor at University College London and the Dunn School, University of Oxford.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Simon Jenkins

The Celts: A Sceptical History

Saturday 13th May 11.20 – 12.30


The history of the Celts is the history of a misnomer.

There has never been a distinct people, race or tribe claiming the name of Celtic, though remnants of different languages and cultures remain throughout Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. The word keltoi first appears in Greek as applied generally to aliens or 'barbarians'—and theories of Celticism continue to fuel many of the prejudices and misconceptions that divide the peoples of the British Isles to this day.

Often seen as unimportant or irrelevant adjuncts to English history, in this talk Jenkins offers a compelling counterargument. This is a fascinating and timely debate on who the Celts really were—or weren't—and what their legacy should be in an increasingly dis-United Kingdom.


Simon Jenkins is a British author, a newspaper columnist and editor. He was Editor of the Evening Standard from 1976 to 1978 and of The Times from 1990 to 1992.

Jenkins chaired the National Trust from 2008 to 2014. He currently writes columns for The Guardian.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Professor Malcolm Gaskill

The Ruin of All Witches: Life and Death in the New World

Saturday 13th May 12.50 - 14.00


This talk is based on the book which was a Sunday Times bestseller and a Times and BBC History book of the year.


In the frontier town of Springfield in 1651, peculiar things begin to happen. Precious food spoils, livestock become sick and property vanishes. People suffer fits and are plagued by strange visions and dreams. Children become ill and die. As tensions rise, rumours spread of witches and heretics, and the community becomes tangled in a web of spite, distrust and denunciation. The finger of suspicion falls on a young couple struggling to make a home and feed their children: Hugh Parsons - the angry brickmaker and his troubled wife, Mary. It will be their downfall.

This talk is about the dark, real-life folktale of witch-hunting in a remote Massachusetts plantation. These were the turbulent beginnings of colonial America, when English settlers' dreams of love and liberty, of founding a 'city on a hill', gave way to paranoia and terror, enmity and rage. Drawing on uniquely rich, previously neglected source material, Gaskill brings to life a New World existence steeped in the divine and the diabolic, in curses and enchantments, and precariously balanced between life and death.

Through the gripping micro-history of a family tragedy, we glimpse an entire society caught in agonized transition between supernatural obsessions and the age of enlightenment. We see, in short, the birth of the modern world.

Malcolm Gaskill is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. One of Britain's leading experts in the history of witchcraft, his works include the highly acclaimed Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century English Tragedy and Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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John Dickie
The strange death of Cosa Nostra.
What is the current state of the world’s most notorious, criminal mafia organisation?
Saturday 13th May 14.20 - 15.30

Ever since it was born in the fragrant lemon gardens of Palermo a century and a half ago, a sworn brotherhood has pursued power and money by cultivating the simple, terrible art of killing people with impunity. Thanks in part to Hollywood, the Sicilian mafia—or Cosa Nostra (‘our thing’) as its members call it—has established worldwide notoriety, yet at the same time it has managed to remain mysterious.

In the 1980s, its power reached a bloody peak, and it was on the verge of turning Sicily into a narco-state. It murdered anyone who stood in its way: police, carabinieri, judges, journalists, politicians, and ordinary citizens who refused to pay the mafia’s protection racket ‘tax’. The violence culminated in 1992 when bombs planted by Cosa Nostra killed the two figureheads of the fight for the rule of law in Sicily: investigating magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. The following year mafiosi launched a major terrorist bombing campaign on the Italian mainland, attacking cities such as Florence, Rome and Milan. In a lecture that takes off from the brutal and puzzling murder of a leading Palermo lawyer in 2010,  John Dickie will explain what Cosa Nostra is, how its power has endured so long, and what state it is in now, thirty years after the terrible violence of 1992-93.

John Dickie is Professor of Italian Studies at University College London. He is the author of the worldwide best-seller: Cosa Nostra. A History of the Sicilian Mafia, which was hailed in Italy as the best book ever written about the mafia. It has been translated into 21 languages and has sold a million copies. He has a high public profile in Italy, particularly as an expert on organized crime. He is the author of several other successful books, including: Delizia! The epic history of the Italians and their food was made into a 6-part TV series in Italy. (The English version of the series is available on Amazon Prime as Eating History: the story of Italy on a plate.) The Craft. How the Freemasons made the modern world, has been translated into ten languages and was one of The Times’s books of 2020 (‘a superb book that reads like an adventure novel. It’s informative, fascinating and often very funny’). John’s other works include Mafia Republic and Mafia Brotherhoods.     In 2005 the President of the Italian Republic appointed him a Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (a civil honour).


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Martin Brunt
No One Got Cracked Over The Head For No Reason  - Dispatches from a Crime Reporter
Saturday 13th May 15.50 – 17.00

What is it about crime that we find so fascinating, even if at the same time the details are repugnant? Why are some crimes more newsworthy than others? And how has that perception changed, if at all, in an age when every smartphone-owner is a potential on-the-spot reporter?

Martin Brunt has been with Sky since its inception in 1989 and has covered and often led the headlines on pretty much every major crime story since then. He has been widely acknowledged as having unparalleled sources, with one journalist observing at the time of the ‘Suffolk Strangler’ murders in 2006 that when he phoned Suffolk Police for a comment on the case, he was told: ‘Call Martin Brunt. He knows everything before we do.’
But of course that was BL – Before Leveson, the inquiry into dealings between the police and media, which has changed the landscape entirely.

This talk will offer a fascinating overview of the nature of crime reporting and how it has changed over the past thirty-five years or so. Along the way Martin will reveal many previously undisclosed details from some of the biggest stories he’s covered, from the ‘Thames torso’ to Fred and Rose West; from the disappearance of Sarah Payne to the Hatton Garden ‘diamond wheezers’.

Martin Brunt is Sky News’ crime correspondent, covering several of the biggest stories of the past 20 years. He has delivered a series of exclusive reports while covering the Cromwell Street killings, the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando, the trial of terrorist Carlos the Jackal, the London 7/7 bombings, the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the Hatton Garden diamond heist. He has also tracked down several fugitives abroad.

 A Q&A Session will follow.

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Alison Weir
Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose
Saturday 13th May 17.20 – 18.30

This talk is based on the captivating new historical novel from Alison Weir, Sunday Times bestselling author of the Six Tudor Queens series. Tracy Borman describes
Elizabeth of York as Alison Weir’s ‘most compelling heroine yet... and is historical fiction at its absolute best.'

Elizabeth of York was: Mother. Survivor. Queen.

She was an English princess, born into a war between two families. Eldest daughter of the Royal House of York, Elizabeth dreams of a crown to call her own. But when her beloved father, King Edward, dies suddenly, her destiny is rewritten. Her family's enemies close in. Two young princes are murdered in the Tower. Then her uncle seizes power - and vows to make Elizabeth his Queen.

But another claimant seeks the throne, the upstart son of the rival royal House of Lancaster. Marriage to this Henry Tudor would unite the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster - and change everything. A great new age awaits. Now Elizabeth must choose her allies - and husband - wisely, and fight for her right to rule.

Alison Weir is the biggest-selling female historian (and the fifth best-selling historian) in the United Kingdom since records began in 1997. She has published thirty-two titles and sold more than 3 million books - over a million in the UK and 2.2 million in the USA. She is now working on two concurrent series of books: Six Tudor Queens, comprising six novels on the wives of Henry VIII (with associated e-books, above), and England's Medieval Queens, a quartet of historical works of non-fiction.

 A Q&A Session will follow.

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Tom Clark
Broke - Fixing Britain’s poverty crisis
Saturday 13th May 18.50 – 20.00

A dozen years into austerity, statistical warning lights are flashing to suggest a return to types of deprivation that we once imagined we had consigned to the history books. In the decade up to the pandemic, the official count of rough sleepers doubled. Recorded malnutrition in hospital patients has tripled. Dependence on food banks is up by an order of magnitude. Amid rising prices and falling confidence, all the forecasts are for such numbers getting even worse.

And yet it has never been statistics but rather individual human stories – from the fictionalised accounts of Dickens to the faithful reporting of Orwell and Priestley – that have seared the reality of hard times into the imagination. In this talk, Clark assembles today’s masters of social reportage to go deep into the communities so often ignored by politicians, introducing us to those at the hardest end of the poverty crisis. He will speak about cold, hunger, homelessness, ill-health, disability, debt, work and the migrant experience.

Among the star cast of journalists whose work he alludes to, several have first-hand experience of the issues raised. This urgent collection restores some badly needed empathy to the public discussion, blending powerful human stories with analysis of the policies that have led us to where we are now – and the reforms we urgently need.

Tom Clark is a fellow at the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation, a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and a contributing editor at Prospect, the leading monthly magazine he edited from 2016 to 2021. He previously spent a decade at The Guardian, specialising in social affairs and economics, and rising to be the paper’s chief leader writer. Before journalism, he had spells working in Whitehall and at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Clark’s 2014 book Hard Times: Inequality, Recession, Aftermath, co-written with Anthony Heath, made sense of the fallout from the financial crisis with the same mix of human stories and analysis that gives Broke such clout. It was hailed as a must-read by everyone from Thomas Piketty to Gordon Brown.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Benedict Rogers

The China Nexus

Saturday 13th May 20.20 – 21.30

Benedict Rogers first went to China at age 18 to teach English for six months in Qingdao (1992), three years after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

That opened the door to a thirty-year adventure with China, from teaching English in schools and hospitals to working as a journalist in Hong Kong documenting the plight of refugees escaping from Beijing-backed satellite dictatorships and then campaigning for human rights in China. In 2017, on the orders of Beijing, he was denied entry to Hong Kong, 20 years after he had moved to the city and began his working life as a journalist and activist.

This talk tells the story of his fight for freedom for the peoples of China and neighbouring countries Myanmar and North Korea and sets out how a global movement for human rights in China is emerging and what the free world should do next. It describes the importance of the "China Nexus" in the speakers's journey and geopolitics and its challenges. Pioneering international inquiries into forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, the genocide of the Uyghurs and global action for Hong Kong, as well as highlighting the Vatican's silence, the speaker has been at the heart of advocacy for human rights in China in recent years.

Rogers takes you on a journey through some of the leaders and participants in the Human rights activities that China has suppressed since its inception in 1949. He goes on to dispute and lays to rest all of the non-genuine claims by the tyrants in Beijing that all Chinese citizens are equal and are afforded human and civil rights. Currently, the regime is engaged in re-education, cultural assimilation, and multiple genocides, leading to better citizens for China and the world if one believes Chinese officials.


Benedict Rogers is a British human rights activist and journalist based in London. His work focuses on Asia, specialising particularly on Burma, North Korea and Indonesia. He is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Huffington Post and has appeared on BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and other many others.

Rogers is the co-founder and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party's human rights commission and the co-founder of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea. He is also the East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the founder of Hong Kong Watch and a member of the advisory group of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) and an advisor to the World Uyghur Congress.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Sunday 14th May 2023

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Dr Sophie Mort
A Manual for Being Human
Sunday 14th May 9.50 - 11.00

This talk is based on the The Sunday Times Best Seller. Do you want to believe in yourself and your ability to be content with who you are? If the answer is yes, then this talk is for you. Do you want to understand how your childhood affects who you are today? How it affects your relationship with yourself and others? How school, bullying, gender expectations and even the social media you consume each day affects your emotional wellbeing? Do you want to know what your emotions actually are, where they come from and how to manage them when they threaten to overwhelm you?

In this practical and insightful talk, Dr Soph will help you to understand why we all feel anxious, stressed, insecure and down from time to time. Her three-step methodology, developed through years of experience supporting people to make genuine change in their lives, will help you to identify problems arising from past experiences and current life events, look at the patterns, bad habits and negative cycles that may be keeping you stuck, and then draws on established, proven therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness, journaling, self-compassion, grounding and breathing and relaxation techniques to provide a toolkit of go - to techniques to use any time.

Reassuring, knowledgeable and kind, Dr Soph offers support to those feeling lost at sea in today’s troubling times and gives you the tools you need to help get the most out of life.

Called “The Guru of Insta-Therapy” by The Times, Dr Soph has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a masters in neuroscience and a doctorate in clinical psychology, and is one of the few clinical psychologists in the world right now taking psychology out of the therapy room.
After seeing the staggering decline of the nation’s mental health, she left behind her traditional role as a clinical psychologist in the NHS in order to provide more people with the access they need to have good mental health. Since 2018, she has helped thousands manage their emotional wellbeing by sharing her psychological knowledge on Instagram, on her blog and through her online private practice. Her Sunday Times Bestselling book ‘A Manual For Being Human’ will continue this important work.

Dr Soph is also an expert for the mindfulness app Happy Not Perfect and has been featured in global outlets including The Times, Vice Magazine, Girlboss, Psych Central and Teen Vogue. A Manual for Being Human is her first book.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Claer Barrett

What They Don't Teach You About Money: Seven Habits that Unlock Financial Independence
Sunday 14th May 11.20 - 12.30

Amidst the cost-of-living crisis, money agony aunt Claer Barrett is the voice of reason. Offering calm counsel, her talk explains everything we need to know to regain control over our finances, in a jargon-free and accessible way.

This is an indispensable whistlestop tour of seven powerful financial habits we can all learn to master. Using these as a foundation, Barrett unpicks the complex emotional relationship we all have with money, which can drive us to keep up with the Joneses, fall for get-rich-quick schemes, or bury our heads in the sand when the going gets tough. This talk will give you the knowledge and confidence to plan your finances beyond today’s troubled times. It provides digital tools that can gently steer us towards better relationships with money and simplifies the tasks of saving and investing for the future. With no finger-wagging or headache-inducing jargon, it will even make readers laugh along the way.

Barrett offers hope to people who simply don’t know where to start with money. Her very human take on our place in the financial world debunks the pervasive money myths perpetuated by those who profit most from our ignorance. With the cost-of-living crisis threatening a dramatic period of financial turbulence, now is the time to tackle the gaps in our knowledge, beat our overdrafts, and finally get to grips with our finances.

Claer Barrett is the Consumer Editor at the Financial Times. She presents the FT’s award-winning weekly Money Clinic podcast, helping listeners resolve their real-life financial dilemmas, and writes a high-profile column in the FT Weekend covering issues of interest to financial consumers everywhere. She frequently appears on TV and radio – from weekly appearances on ITV’s Lorraine to LBC – answering money questions from the public.



A Q&A Session will follow.

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Chris Mullin
Didn’t You Use to Be Chris Mullin? Diaries 2010–2022
Sunday 14th May 12.50 - 14.00

I retired from Parliament in April 2010, I ceased keeping a diary, on the assumption that life would no longer be of sufficient interest to justify doing so. It soon became apparent that I was wrong…
I am under no illusion, however. Despite the occas
ional moment in the sunshine, I have never been much more than a fleabite on the body politic. On a visit to Parliament a couple of years after retiring, I came across a former colleague. He peered at me over the top of his glasses and said, ‘Didn’t you use to be Chris Mullin?’

Picking up where he left off in 2010’s Decline and Fall, celebrated diarist Chris Mullin returns with his trademark irreverence and keen eye for the absurd to chronicle the turbulent last decade of the second Elizabethan era.
Didn’t You Use to Be Chris Mullin? charts the collapse of New Labour, the long years of austerity politics, the highs and lows of Brexit, the rise and fall of Jeremy Corbyn and no fewer than four Tory Prime Ministers, culminating in the death of the Queen.

Wise, witty and deeply perceptive, Mullin paints a vivid portrait of our recent political history.

Chris Mullin was the Labour MP for Sunderland South from 1987 until 2010. He played a key role in Tony Blair's New Labour government, chairing the Home Affairs Select Committee and served in three departments. He is the author of three volumes of diaries, A View from the Foothills, A Walk-On Part and Decline and Fall, and the bestselling novel A Very British Coup, re-published by Serpent's Tail, which was turned into an award-winning television series.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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A C Grayling
Philosophy and Life
Sunday 14th May 14.20 – 15.30

There is a question everyone has to ask and answer – in fact, has to keep on asking and keep on answering. It is ‘How should I live my life?’, meaning ‘What sort of person should I be? What values shall I live by? What shall I aim for?’ The great majority of people do not ask this question, they merely answer it unthinkingly in conventional ways.

This is the ‘Socratic Question’, challenging us to examine the philosophy of life we live by. Everyone has a philosophy of life, but most people do not know that they have one, because they imbibed it unconsciously from society, parents, schools, friends. What are the assumptions of that unconscious philosophy, and the reasons for living according to it? Do these assumptions and reasons survive scrutiny? If one really thought about one’s life and the philosophy that underlies it, what changes would one make?

This talk explores how to answer the Socratic challenge and examines the most important questions that arise in doing so: death, the great inevitable, love, the great desirable, meaning, the great mystery – and the great hope, happiness. What do these concepts mean – really mean? And what difference will exploring them, and other equally important questions, make to one’s life and its choices?

A. C. Grayling is the Founder and Principal of New College of the Humanities at Northeastern University, and its Professor of Philosophy. He is also a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He is the author of over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays. He was also a columnist on the Guardian, the Times, and Prospect magazine

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC
Unlawful Killings: Life, Love and Murder: Trials at the Old Bailey
Sunday 14th May 15.50 – 17.00

Her Honour Wendy Joseph says: 'Every day in the UK lives are suddenly, brutally, wickedly taken away. Victims are shot or stabbed. Less often they are strangled or suffocated or beaten to death. Rarely they are poisoned, pushed off high buildings, drowned or set alight. Then there are the many who are killed by dangerous drivers, or corporate gross negligence. There are a lot of ways you can kill someone. I know because I've seen most of them at close quarters.'

High-profile murder cases all too often grab our attention in dramatic media headlines - for every unlawful death tells a story. But, unlike most of us, a judge doesn't get to turn the page and move on. Nor does the defendant, or the family of the victim, nor the many other people who populate the court room.

And yet, each of us has a vested interest in what happens there. And while most people have only the sketchiest idea of what happens inside a Crown Court, any one of us could end up in the witness-box or even in the dock.

With breath-taking skill and deep compassion, she describes how cases unfold and illustrates exactly what it's like to be a murder trial judge and a witness to human good and bad. Sometimes very bad.

The fracture lines that run through our society are becoming harder and harder to ignore. From a unique vantage point, the Wendy Joseph warns that we do so at our peril.

Until March 2022 Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC was a judge at the Old Bailey, sitting on criminal cases, trying mainly allegations of murder and other homicide. She read English and Law at Cambridge, was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1975, became a QC in 1998 and sat as a full-time judge from 2007 to 2022. When she moved to the Old Bailey in 2012 she was the only woman amongst sixteen judges, and only the third woman ever to hold a permanent position there. She was also a Diversity and Community Relations Judge, working to promote understanding between the judiciary and many different sectors of our community, particularly those from less privileged and minority groups. She mentors young people, from a variety of backgrounds, who hope for a career in law and has a special interest in helping women. Unlawful Killings is her first book.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Peter Hitchens
A Revolution Betrayed: How Egalitarians Wrecked the British Education System
Sunday 14th May 17.20 - 18.30

In this talk, Peter Hitchens describes the misjudgements made by politicians over the years that have led to the increase of class distinction and privilege in our education system. This is of course the opposite of what was intended, especially by former Minister of Education Shirley Williams and Margaret Thatcher, her successor in that role, who closed down many more Grammar Schools than Williams.

Given that the cost of private secondary education is now in the region of £200,000 and the cream of Comprehensive Schools are now oversubscribed (William Ellis, Camden School for Girls, The Oratory, Cardinal Vaughan), parents are spending thousands on private tutoring and fee-paying prep schools in order to get their children into these academically excellent schools. Meanwhile hypocritical Labour politicians like Diane Abbott send their children to expensive private day schools. So, what alternatives – if any – are there?

Peter Hitchens argues that in trying to bring about an educational system which is egalitarian, the politicians have created a system which is the exact opposite. And what’s more, it is a system riddled with anomalies - Sixth Form Colleges select pupils on ability at the age of 15, which rules out any child who does not have major educational backing from home (heavy involvement by working parents or private tutors, for example) and academies also are selective, though they pretend not to be.
This is an in-depth look at the British education system and what will happen if things don’t change radically.

Peter Hitchens is a British journalist, author, and broadcaster. He currently writes for the Mail on Sunday, where he is a columnist and occasional foreign correspondent, reporting most recently from Iran, North Korea, Burma, The Congo, and China. A former revolutionary, he attributes his return to faith largely to his experience of socialism in practice, which he witnessed during his many years reporting in Eastern Europe and his nearly three years as a resident correspondent in Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Steve Richards

The Prime Ministers We Never Had: Success and Failure from Butler to Corbyn
Sunday 14th May 18.50 – 20.00

Was Harold Wilson a bigger figure than Denis Healey? Was John Major more ‘prime ministerial’ than Michael Heseltine? Would David Miliband have become prime minister if it were not for his brother, Ed? Would Ed have become prime minister if it were not for David? How close did Jeremy Corbyn come to being prime minister?

In this piercing and original talk, journalist and commentator Steve Richards looks at 11 prime ministers we never had, examining what made each of these illustrious figures unique and why they failed to make the final leap to the very top.


Combining astute insights into the demands of leadership with compelling historical analysis, this fascinating exploration of failure and success sheds new light on some of the most compelling characters in British public life.

Steve Richards is a political columnist, journalist, and presenter. He regularly presents The Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4 and has presented BBC radio series on Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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