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Lewes Speakers Festival 2024

19th, 20th and 21st January 2024 at All Saints Centre, Lewes

Friday 19th January 2024

Laura Bates
Fix the System, Not the Women
Friday 19th January 15.30 – 16.40

‘Too often, we blame women’ contends Laura Bates in this blistering call to arms. ‘For walking home alone at night. ‘For not demanding a seat at the table’. ‘For not overcoming the odds that are stacked against them’. ‘This distracts us from the real problem’, she says:- ‘the failings and biases of a society that was not built for women’.
‘The more you think about it’ she states, ‘the more absurd it is that people think you can usefully talk about something like sexual violence without discussing the criminal justice system. In order to have a discussion about domestic abuse you have to recognise that the roots of power and control we are really talking about begin in childhood and school.  These are also plainly on display in the dynamics of our political system.

‘Misogyny’, she holds, ‘arises from a society in which the sexual objectification, harassment and oppression of women is commonplace and in which the superiority, privilege and entitlement of usually white, heterosexual, non-disabled men goes unchallenged’.
We’ve all been thinking of our stories as individual problems – our own personal, coincidental lists. But they are not.
They are connected. And that means that the problem isn’t with us; it is with the system.

In this talk, she delivers an uncompromising attack on the systemic prejudice at the heart of five of our key institutions: education, politics, media, policing and criminal justice.

‘It is time to stop’ she says. ‘Time to let our girls learn they have nobody to apologise to and nothing to be ashamed of. Time to raise our boys to disrupt the system’.

Laura Bates has written for the Guardian, the Independent and the New Statesman and is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project - an ever-increasing collection of over 200,000 testimonies of global gender inequality. She is a frequent media commentator across Newsnight, Today, BBC Breakfast, Channel 4 News, CNN and more. She has presented two BBC television documentaries and is a consultant for productions tackling issues around gender inequality. Her speaking work has taken her from Wembley Stadium to the Sydney Opera House to President Obama’s White House Summit on the United State of Women.

She has been named a Woman of the Year by Cosmopolitan, Red Magazine and The Sunday Times Magazine. She was also one of the BBC’s inaugural 100 Women. In the US, she has received the Women’s Media Award from the Women’s Media Center, and been named one of CNN’s 10 ‘Visionary Women’.

A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Professor Sir David Omand
How to Survive a Crisis: Lessons in Resilience and Avoiding Disaster
Friday 19th January 17.00 – 18.10

We never know when a crisis might explode. Some 'sudden impact' events, such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, blow up out of a clear blue sky. Other 'slow burn' crises smoulder away for years, often with warning signs ignored along the way until, as if from nowhere, the ‘troops storm the palace’.

In this talk, Sir David draws on his experience in defence, security and intelligence, to show how you can detect a looming crisis and extinguish it (or at least survive it with minimum loss).

Using gripping real-world examples from his storied career and drawing lessons from historic catastrophes such as Chernobyl, 9/11, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the WannaCry ransomware cyberattack, this empowering talk is filled with practical advice on how to survive the multiplying crises of the future. Not every crisis need tip into disaster - if we have invested in personal, business and national resilience.

This talk is an essential toolkit for our turbulent twenty-first century.

Professor Sir David Omand was the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, responsible to the Prime Minister for the professional health of the intelligence community, national counter-terrorism strategy and “homeland security”. He served for seven years on the Joint Intelligence Committee. He was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office from 1997 to 2000, and before that Director of GCHQ (the UK Sigint Agency). Previously, in the Ministry of Defence as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Policy, he was particularly concerned with long term strategy, with the British military contribution in restoring peace in the former Yugoslavia and the recasting of British nuclear deterrence policy at the end of the Cold War. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary during the Falklands conflict, and served for three years in NATO Brussels as the UK Defence Counsellor.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Jade Angeles Fitton
Hermit: A Memoir of Finding Freedom in a Wild Place
Friday 19th January 20.00 – 21.10

When Jade Angeles Fitton’s partner leaves the barn that they moved into just weeks before, he leaves a dent in the wall and her life unravelled. Numbed from years in a destructive relationship, she faces an uncertain future and complete solitude. Slowly, with the help of Devon's salted cliffs and damp forested footpaths, Jade comes back to life and discovers the power of being alone.
Through conversations with other hermits across the world, Fitton sheds light on an extraordinary and misunderstood way of living which has survived into the 21st century - from monks, to hikikomori, and the often-ignored female hermit.
This is an inspirational memoir and story of recovery, of finding home and of celebration of solitude in the natural world.  This talk is about the consolations of solitude in which Jade wanders a sunlit, windswept, delicately drawn landscape of loss and longing, and in doing so finds the stillness at the centre of herself.

Jade Angeles Fitton is a writer and journalist and an award-winning producer. Over the last 7 years Jade has worked as a writer and journalist for The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Independent, Vogue, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Statesman, Literary Review, The Fence, The British Fashion Council, The BBC, London Design Week, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Her life has also been featured in The Guardian.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Saturday 20th January 2024

Simon Heffer
Sing As We Go: Britain Between the Wars
Saturday 20th January 9.50 – 11.00

This talk gives an overview of the political, social and cultural history of the country from 1919 to 1939.

It explores and explains the politics of the period, and puts such moments of national turmoil as the General Strike of 1926 and the Abdication Crisis of 1936 under the microscope. It offers pen portraits of the era's most significant figures. It traces the changing face of Britain as cars made their first mass appearance, the suburbs sprawled, and radio and cinema became the means of mass entertainment. And it probes the deep divisions that split the nation: between the haves and have-nots, between warring ideological factions, and between those who promoted accommodation with fascism in Europe and those who bitterly opposed it.

Simon Heffer is a journalist, author and broadcaster. In a thirty-year career in Fleet Street, he has held senior editorial positions on The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator and is now a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph. His previous books include: Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle, Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell, Power and Place: The Political Consequences of King Edward VII, Nor Shall My Sword: The Reinvention of England, Vaughan Williams, Strictly English, A Short History of Power, Simply English and High Minds: The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Andrew Monaghan
The Sea in Russian Strategy
Saturday 20th January 11.20 – 12.30

For the majority of the post-Cold War era, Russian maritime power has hardly featured in the Euro-Atlantic community’s thinking. But in the mid-2010s, the idea that the Russian navy poses a threat to NATO began to gain ground. It took very real form in February 2022, when Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine. This talk, which is based on the book that has been warmly praised for its insights by Admiral Sir Tim Fraser former Vice Chief of Defence Staff, 2019-22 and Admiral James G. Foggo, former Commander of United States Naval Forces Europe-Africa, presents the first sustained examination of Russian maritime power in the period since the Cold War.

It brings together the insights of leading specialists from public policy and academia to reflect on historical and contemporary aspects of Russia's naval strategy and capacities. At a time of mounting tensions, which some observers have named the ‘Fourth Battle of the Atlantic’, this presentation offers an informed argument, taking into account the view from Moscow and how this differs from western perspectives. It sketches a trajectory of Russia’s power at sea and reflects on current capabilities and problems, as well as Moscow’s strategic planning for the future.

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, and he has written extensively on Russian Grand Strategy, UK-Russia Relations, and the Euro-Atlantic community’s relationship with Russia, particularly modern deterrence. He founded the Russia Research Network in 2006, and continues as its Director.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Jake Wallis Simons
Israelophobia: The Newest Version of the Oldest Hatred and What To Do About It
Saturday 20th January 12.50 - 14.00

In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated for their religion. In the twentieth century, they were hated because of their race. Today, Jews are hated for something else entirely, their nation-state of Israel. Antisemitism has morphed into something both ancient and modern: Israelophobia. But how did this transformation occur? And why?

Award-winning journalist Jake Wallis Simons answers these questions, clarifying the line between criticism and hatred, exploring game-changing facts and exposing dangerous discourse.

This talk reveals why the Middle East's only democracy, which uniquely respects the rights of women and sexual and religious minorities, attracts such disproportionate levels of slander. Rather than defending Israel against all criticism, it argues for reasonable disagreement based on reality instead of bigotry.

Through charting the history of Israelophobia - starting in Nazi Germany, travelling via the Kremlin to Tehran and along fibre optic cables to billions of screens - and using it to understand contemporary prejudice, this timely talk will restore much-needed sanity to the debate, creating the space for mutual understanding, tolerance and peace.

Jake Wallis Simons is an award-winning British journalist and novelist. In December 2021, he was appointed Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, where he has become known for publishing a number of world exclusives about the Mossad, including the inside story of the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and a major three-part sabotage operation in Iran. In addition, he is a writer for the Spectator, a commentator for Sky News and a broadcaster for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Geoff Norcott
The British Bloke, Decoded: From Banter to Man-Flu. Everything Finally Explained.
Saturday 20th January 14.20 - 15.30

If you see a man drinking a pint in an airport pub alone, that's a bloke.
If you see a man driving to the tip on a Saturday morning with a smile on his face, that's a bloke.
And if you see a man heading back from the tip and on the way to the pub, that's a very happy bloke.

The British Bloke appears simple and straightforward. He loves football, cricket, beer, sheds, wearing socks and books about the SAS.

But beneath that simple exterior lies a mysterious and complex being.

In this talk, regular bloke and comedian, Geoff Norcott peels back the layers of blokedom, revealing the truth behind the sometimes inexplicable behaviour of Britain's husbands, dads and brothers.

Based on 46 years of field research and almost scientific insights, Geoff digs deep into subjects as wide as: the value of Banter, the surprising roots of Mansplaining, the near impossibility of getting blokes to send birthday cards, and whether there could be a medal system for Hoovering.

And ultimately, he concludes that whilst the toxic men have been grabbing all the publicity - perhaps now's the time to celebrate the simple British bloke in all his eccentric splendour.

Geoff Norcott is an English comedian, notable for specialising in political humour. Norcott has appeared on a number of the UK's biggest comedy shows, including 'Live at the Apollo', 'Would I Lie to You?', 'The Mash Report', 'Mock the Week', 'The Last Leg', '8 out of 10 Cats' and many more.  Norcott has had numerous sold out live runs nationally and at the Edinburgh fringe. His last Tour 'Taking Liberties' got four stars from the Times and head comedy critic Dominic Maxwell commented, 'Sets himself apart from the Liberal commentariat with a sharp self-knowing wit.'
Geoff also writes for television, with credits ranging from 'Have I got News For You' & 'A League of Their Own' to sitcoms, like the hit BBC1 show 'King Gary'. He writes columns for a range of newspapers, including The Times, Telegraph and Independent. As well as popping up on a number of topical radio shows - including the News Quiz and Now Show on BBC Radio Four - Geoff hosted his own Time Radio slot several times in 2020, covering for Giles Coren.  Away from TV & Radio, Norcott also received an operational services medal for his work performing to troops on frontline bases in Afghanistan.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Sir Vince Cable
The Chinese Conundrum
Saturday 20th January 15.50 – 17.00

According to many experts, China is already the largest economy on the planet – yet its relations with the rest of the world have deteriorated in recent years, and are now at an all-time low. Is this a passing phase caused by the shockwaves of the Covid pandemic and the personalities of leaders in China and in the USA, or are the current divergencies going to become wider and more entrenched, as China grows economically and develops technological leadership? Can the West learn from its past mistakes and engage successfully with China on many common interests, or are we on the verge of a new Cold War?

In this talk, Sir Vince Cable provides an answer to these and many other topical questions of global politics and economy, examining the long history of relationships between China and the West, as well as the change in attitudes on both sides of the divide. The result is a gripping, insightful and accessible investigation into the intricacies of today’s economic and geopolitical situation.

Sir Vince notes that China's GDP, measured in PPP dollars, is now beyond the level of the US, which marks an important point in world history. By 2050 it is likely that China's GDP will be double that of the USA. He cautioned that this reality has not been fully absorbed in the West. He addresses a number of challenges that China faces, including its demographic transformation, the high level of debt, the need to increase productivity and the low share of consumption in GDP. The West's perception has shifted from regarding China as a 'business El Dorado' for the West during the 'Golden Era', to viewing it as an economic threat in recent years.

The Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable was Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade (2010-2015). He served as Member of Parliament for Twickenham 1997-2015, leader of the Liberal Democrats 2017-2019, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats 2007-2010, and Shadow Chancellor 2003-2010.

 A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Polly Toynbee
An Uneasy Inheritance: My Family and Other Radicals
Saturday 20th January 17.20 – 18.30

While for generations Polly Toynbee's ancestors have been committed left-wing rabble-rousers railing against injustice, they could never claim to be working class, settling instead for the prosperous life of academia or journalism enjoyed by their own forebears. So where does that leave their ideals of class equality?

Through a colourful, entertaining examination of her own family - which in addition to her writer father Philip and her historian grandfather Arnold contains everyone from the Glenconners to Jessica Mitford to Bertrand Russell, and features ancestral home Castle Howard as a backdrop - Toynbee explores the myth of mobility, the guilt of privilege, and asks for a truly honest conversation about class in Britain.

Polly Toynbee is a journalist, author, and broadcaster. A Guardian columnist and broadcaster, she was formerly the BBC’s social affairs editor. She has written for the Observer, the Independent and Radio Times and been an editor at the Washington Monthly. She has won numerous awards including a National Press Award and the Orwell Prize for Journalism. 


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Dom Joly
The Conspiracy Tourist: Travels Through a Strange World
Saturday 20th January 18.50 – 20.00

Conspiracy theories used to be fun, a bit of laugh. Did we really land on the moon? Was Paul McCartney cloned? Nowadays, however, in the aftermath of Donald Trump, a global pandemic and the ever-increasing influence of social media algorithms and AI, they are part of the body politic and a massive cause of division and mistrust.

Conspiracy theories are starting to become so much more than the obsession of fringe individuals. A survey by New Science magazine found that the percentage of people believing in one or more conspiracies had risen from 15% twenty years ago to 35% per cent last year. They are shaping politics, media, and the way we view life itself.

In this talk, Dom Joly sets out on a global journey to find out what's going on. His travels see him meeting followers of QAnon in Cornwall, some New Age-ers in Glastonbury, hunting for UFOs in Roswell, chasing Alex Jones of Info Wars around Austin, Texas, trying to prove that Finland exists and taking a flat-earther to the edge of the world. On the way, Dom inevitably finds the funny and the quirky, but he also tries to understand what makes people so drawn to conspiracy theories. What if those he has long dismissed as crazed loonies actually have a point? What if we are the sheeple and they've been right all along? Join a wide-eyed, slightly jaded, adventurous tourist on a very different kind of sightseeing trip …

Best known for his multi-award winning, global-smash-hit comedy series Trigger Happy TV.
Dom Joly’s other comedy television credits include This is Dom Joly, World Shut Your Mouth and Fool Britannia. He also makes TV travel shows including Dom Joly’s Happy Hour and Dom Joly’s Excellent Adventure in which he respectively travelled the world drinking too much and went on a mammoth road trip through Lebanon and Syria. His most recent travel series How Beer Changed the World sold to fifty-nine countries.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Ghada Karmi
One State: The Only Democratic Future for Palestine-Israel
Saturday 20th January 20.20 – 21.30

In 1948, Ghada Karmi and her family in Jerusalem were among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were exiled during the creation of the state of Israel. She has since become one of the most vocal proponents of the single, democratic state in Palestine-Israel.

In this timely talk, given the current war in Gaza, Karmi argues that this one-state settlement is the best possible route to a just future for all concerned, including Jews and Palestinian refugees. She seeks to map a way out of the impasse Palestinians currently find themselves in, rejecting the two-state solution that has been the standard template for the last half-century.of Zionism. “This”, she says, “was a project that was bizarre and, on the face of it, unworkable: namely to set up a Jewish-only collective, existing on a land belonging to another people and to their exclusion”.

In a discussion of the main historical influences in the ‘colonisation’ of Palestine, Karmi lays out the political intricacies:

– how the weakness of Arab states enhances Israel’s strength, Israel’s preoccupation with stifling any threat to its existence, what she views as ‘the colonial premise’ within the Balfour Declaration, Israel’s preoccupation with the demographic threat and the exclusionary politics of the two-state paradigm, which excludes Palestinian refugees.

She argues that: uniting the land – from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan in one democratic state – and allowing the Palestinian right of return is the only way to find peace.

Ghada Karmi has been a tireless and fearless advocate for the Palestinian people since 1967. She practised as a doctor for many years working as a specialist in the health of migrants and refugees. She held a number of research appointments on Middle Eastern politics and culture at the School of Oriental and African Studies, and in the Universities of Durham and Leeds.

From 1999 to 2001 she was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where she led a major project on Israel-Palestinian reconciliation. In 2009, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Currently Ghada Karmi is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. She is described as an ‘intelligent, sensitive writer’ by the Financial Times

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Sunday 21st January 2024

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Helen Fry
Women in Intelligence: The Hidden History of Two World Wars
Sunday 21st January 9.50 – 11.00

This talk provides a groundbreaking history of women in British intelligence, revealing their pivotal role across the first half of the twentieth century.
From the twentieth century onward, women took on an extraordinary range of roles in intelligence, defying the conventions of their time. Across both world wars, far from being a small part of covert operations, women ran spy networks and escape lines, parachuted behind enemy lines, and interrogated prisoners. And, back in Bletchley and Whitehall, women’s vital administrative work in Military Intelligence offices kept the British war engine running.
In this major, panoramic history, Helen Fry looks at the rich and varied work women undertook as civilians and in uniform. From spies in the Belgian network “La Dame Blanche,” knitting coded messages into jumpers, to those who interpreted aerial images and even ran entire sections, Fry shows just how crucial women were in the intelligence mission. Filled with hitherto unknown stories, this talk provides new research on record for the first time and showcases the inspirational contributions of these remarkable women.

Historian and biographer Helen Fry is the author of The Walls Have Ears, Spymaster, MI9, and more than twenty books on intelligence, prisoners of war, and the social history of World War II. She appears regularly in media interviews and podcasts and has been involved in numerous documentaries.


A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Julian Baggini
How to Think Like a Philosopher: Essential Principles for Clearer Thinking
Sunday 21st January 11.20 - 12.30

The Sunday Times bestselling author of ‘How the World Thinks’ shares his twelve key principles for a more humane and balanced approach to thinking in this vital new talk.

Pay attention.

As politics slides toward impulsivity, and outrage bests rationality, how can philosophy help us critically engage with real world problems?

Question everything.

Drawing on decades of work in philosophy including a huge range of interviews with contemporary philosophers, Julian Baggini sets out how philosophical thought can promote incisive thinking. Introducing everyday examples and contemporary political concerns - from climate change to implicit bias – this talk is a revelatory exploration of the techniques, methods and principles that guide philosophy, and how they can be applied to our own lives.

Seek clarity, not certainty.

Covering canonical philosophers and focal movements, as well as introducing new voices in contemporary philosophy, this is both a short history of philosophy and an accessible, practical guide to good thinking. Through twelve key principles, Julian Baggini outlines a pathway to a more humane, balanced and rational approach to thinking, to politics, and to life.

Dr Julian Baggini is the author, co-author or editor of over 20 books. He was the founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine and has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as for the think tanks 'The Institute of Public Policy Research', 'Demos' and 'Counterpoint'. He is Academic Director of the Royal institute of Philosophy and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent. His website is


A Q&A Session will follow.

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Tania Branigan   
Red Memory: Living, Remembering and Forgetting China's Cultural Revolution       
Sunday 21st January 12.50 - 14.00

This talk, which is based on the Radio 4 book of the week, provides an indelible exploration of the Cultural Revolution and how it shapes China today. It uncovers forty years of silence through the rarely heard stories of individuals who lived through Mao's decade of madness.

A 13-year-old Red Guard revels in the great adventure, and struggles with her doubts. A silenced composer, facing death, determines to capture the turmoil. An idealistic student becomes the 'corpse master' . . .

More than fifty years on, the Cultural Revolution's scar runs through the heart of Chinese society, and through the souls of its citizens. Stationed in Beijing for the Guardian, Tania Branigan came to realise that this brutal and turbulent decade continues to propel and shape China to this day. Yet official suppression and personal trauma have conspired in national amnesia: it exists, for the most part, as an absence.

This talk explores the stories of those who are driven to confront the era, fearing or yearning its return. What happens to a society when you can no longer trust those closest to you? What happens to the present when the past is buried, exploited or redrawn? And how do you live with yourself when the worst is over?

Tania Branigan spent seven years in Beijing as The Guardian's China correspondent – writing about the Communist Party's politics, satirical novels, rural development, feminist activism, protests in Hong Kong, natural disasters, ethnic unrest and much more. She interviewed everyone from artists and tycoons to factory workers, farmers and a missile researcher turned volunteer matchmaker. What fascinated her most was the dizzying scale of the country's extraordinary transformation, which was reshaping the world, and its impact on people's lives at the most intimate level. Over time, she also came to realise that it was impossible to understand China without understanding its recent history. This talk is the result.

She is now The Guardian's foreign leader writer, based in London, and was previously a political correspondent and national news correspondent for the paper. She has also written for the Washington Post and The Australian.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Anna Murphy in conversation with Jane Mulkerrins
Destination Fabulous: Finding your way to the best you yet
Sunday 21st January 14.20 – 15.30

'Perhaps the most important thing I have learned when it comes to appearance is that looking your best self is, more than anything, about what is going on inside. The more fully-realised you are, the more you find your purpose, the more that will shine out of you and the better you will look.'

From the Fashion Director of The Times comes a wise, inspiring and invigorating guide to making the most of life as a grown-up woman - from the practical (how to dress your best) to the existential (how to feel your best).

At 51, Anna Murphy feels more visible than at any point in her life to date. This talk is the toolkit you need to embrace your age and celebrate the wisdom and inner beauty that comes with it.

It's not about impossible goals. It's not about running a marathon (unless you want it to be). It's not about denying the ageing process, nor attempting to erase its signs. It's not about letting everything go, either. It's about balance. It's about the possible and the present. And it's about the future you want.

How do you lift and smooth your face naturally? Should you go grey, and, if so, how? How do you deal with menopause? Anna combines her knowledge from years of writing about fashion and beauty with her openness to the alternative ways of thinking found in disciplines such as yoga and Chinese medicine. For her, natural is always best.

As for fashion, Anna knows better than anyone that this can be the ultimate route into surfacing the true you. She shares all her tricks for finding your way to a wardrobe that will transform not just the way you look but the way you feel. And she shares the highlights of her conversations over the years with super-stylish agers such as Iris Apfel and Miuccia Prada. How have they got it right?

Drawing on the wisdom of writers as diverse as Pema Chödrön and Eckhart Tolle, Dorothy Rowe and Osho, Nora Ephron and Mary Oliver, she discusses saying goodbye to what doesn't serve you and welcoming what does; about forging relationships that work for you as well as others; and about finding your purpose, whether in your personal or professional life. Discover how the bumps on her road have helped her find her way to her true path. Her hope is that this talk will help you to find yours, too.

As Fashion Director of The Times, it goes without saying that Anna Murphy is passionate about what we wear. The author of ‘How Not To Wear Black’ believes strongly that the supposedly superficial act of choosing what to put on every morning can have a profound impact not just on how we look, but how we feel.  Her years of writing and research, plus her own life experience have also opened Anna up to fresh thinking around beauty, diet and exercise, and - overarching all of it - the best ways to live a life that is contented and fulfilled, especially as you grow older.

What has always motivated Anna in her work is to help women, and to bring them joy. At 51 she feels more visible - and more fully realised - than at any point in her life to date. She wants her listeners to feel that way, too. She has an Instagram following of 29,000.

Jane Mulkerrins began her career as a news reporter at The Sunday Times in 2001, before working at The Daily Mail, You Magazine and the late London Lite. She spent ten years in New York, from where she reported for The Times and The Sunday Times among many other UK and US titles. She returned to London in 2021 to become associate editor at The Times Magazine where she commissions, edits and writes features and interviews. She is also a regular contributor to Times Radio.

A Q&A Session will follow.

Click Here to purchase tickets

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Sir Chris Bryant in conversation with Norman Baker
Code of Conduct: Why We Need to Fix Parliament – and How to Do It
Sunday 21st January 15.50 – 17.00

The extraordinary turmoil we have seen in British politics in the last few years has set records. We have had the fastest turnover of ministers in our history and more MPs suspended from the House than ever. Rules have been flouted repeatedly, sometimes in plain sight. The government seems unable to escape the brush of sleaze. And just when we think it's all going to calm down a bit, another scandal breaks.

Having spent years as Chair of the Committees on Standards and Privileges, Sir Chris has had a front-row seat for the battle over standards in parliament. Cronyism, nepotism, conflicts of interest, misconduct and lying: politicians are engaging in these activities more frequently and more publicly than ever before. The result? The work of honest and accountable MPs is tarnished. Public trust is worn thin. And when nearly two thirds of voters think that MPs are out for themselves, democracy is in trouble.

It is time for a better brand of politics. Taking us inside the Pugin-carpeted corridors of Westminster, from the prime minister's office to the Strangers' Bar, this talk examines how parliament has got into this mess and suggests how it might - at last - get its house in order.

‘My life has been full of careers’, notes Chris Bryant. I have been a priest in the Church of England, Head of European Affairs at the BBC, Minister for Europe, London Manager for the educational charity Common Purpose, Hackney Councillor, author and (from 2001 to today) MP for the Rhondda. I was the one who asked Rebekah Brooks whether the News of the World had ever paid police officers for information - and asked Boris Johnson whether the Russians had ever tried to influence British elections and referendums. I was the first MP to perform his civil partnership in the Palace of Westminster - and then wrote a two volume history of Parliament. And I'm now the Chair of the House of Commons Committee on Standards.

Sir Chris Bryant, who was knighted in the 2023 New Year's Honours list, returned to the Labour front bench in September 2023 when Keir Starmer appointed him Shadow Minister for Creative Industries and Digital.


Norman Baker was MP for Lewes and  Minister of State at the Home Office in the coalition government of 2010–2015.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Steve Bell  
The Windsor Tapestry (and why we need to fix the Monarchy once and for all)
Sunday 21st January 17.20 - 18.30

The celebrated cartoonist of the Guardian presents and explains his visual cartoon history of Prince/King Charles that he has been working on for his exhibition in France.

Steve Bell has, since 1981, drawn the daily ‘If’ strip in the Guardian. In addition, he has produced from 1993 four large free-standing cartoons a week on the leader pages. He created the memorable image of John Major with his underpants worn outside his trousers, of Tony Blair with Margaret Thatcher’s rogue eyeball, and of George W Bush as a chimpanzee. His work has been published all over the world and he has won numerous awards. He has made a number of animated cartoons for TV, including a cartoon biography, Margaret Thatcher — Where Am I Now? broadcast on Channel 4. He has had thirty books published, including a cartoon autobiography of George Bush called Apes of Wrath, numerous anthologies of the ‘If strip’ and, more recently a Tony Blair self-help guide titled My Vision For a New You.

A Q&A Session will follow.

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Sir Max Hastings
World on the Brink, The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962
Sunday 21st January 18.50 – 20.00

This talk is based on the Times History Book of the Year from the #1 bestselling historian Max Hastings.

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the most perilous event in history, when mankind faced a looming nuclear collision between the United States and Soviet Union. During those weeks, the world gazed into the abyss of potential annihilation.  

Max Hastings’s graphic new history tells the story from the viewpoints of national leaders, Russian officers, Cuban peasants, American pilots and British disarmers. He deploys his accustomed blend of eye-witness interviews, archive documents and diaries, White House tape recordings, top-down analysis, first to paint word-portraits of the Cold War experiences of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Nikita Khrushchev’s Russia and Kennedy’s America; then to describe the nail-biting Thirteen Days in which Armageddon beckoned.

Hastings began researching believing that he was exploring a past event from twentieth century history. He was shocked to discover that the events in Ukraine gives this narrative a hitherto unimaginable, twenty-first century immediacy. We may be witnessing the onset of a new Cold War between nuclear-armed superpowers.
To contend with today’s threat, which Hastings fears will prove enduring, it is critical to understand how, sixty years ago, the world survived its last glimpse into the abyss. Only by fearing the worst, he argues, can our leaders hope to secure the survival of the planet.

Sir Max Hastings is a British journalist and military historian who has worked as a foreign correspondent for the BBC, editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, and editor of the Evening Standard. He has presented many history TV documentaries, including the Channel 4 series ‘Winston’s War’. In his early career days he was a foreign correspondent and reported from more than 60 countries and 11 wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard.
He is also the author of thirty books, most significantly histories, which have won several major awards. Hastings currently writes a bimonthly column for Bloomberg Opinion and contributes to The Times and The Sunday Times.


A Q&A Session will follow.

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