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5 speakers 15 minutes each
Mon 1st Dec 2014
Elif Shafak is Turkey's most-read woman writer and an award-winning novelist. Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the voices of women, minorities, subcultures, immigrants and global souls. Shafak is also a political commentator; she has written for several international daily & weekly publications, including The Guardian, The New York Times, Die Zeit, La Repubblica and The Independent.
Simon Singh studied physics, before completing a PhD in particle physics at Cambridge University and at CERN, Geneva. In 1990 he joined the BBC’s Science Department, as a producer and director in programmes such as Tomorrow’s World and Horizon. In 1996 he directed Fermat’s Last Theorem, a BAFTA award winning documentary about the world’s most notorious mathematical problem. This was also the subject of his first book, Fermat’s Last Theorem. His book The Code Book resulted in a return to television when he presented The Science of Secrecy for Channel 4. The stories in the series range from the cipher that sealed the fate of Mary Queen of Scots to the coded Zimmermann Telegram that changed the course of the First World War. His has also written a book, which explores mathematical themes hidden in The Simpsons. Everyone knows that The Simpsons is the most successful show in television history, but very few people realise that its team of mathematically gifted writers have used the show to explore everything from calculus to geometry, from pi to game theory, and from infinitesimals to infinity.
Michael Rosen was born in 1946 in North London. There are several letters after his name: MA Oxon (he read English at Oxford); Ph.D (in reading and writing); and various honorary titles including D Lit (Doctor of Letters fro m the University of the West of England). He is a former Children’s Laureate and the bestselling author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which won the Smarties Best Bo ok of the Year Award, and many other books. He presents Word of Mouth on BBC Radio 4. This is the book he has always wanted to write.
Wendy Cope was born in Erith, Kent. After university she worked for fifteen years as a primary-school teacher in London. Her first collection of poems, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, was published in 1986. In 1987 she received a Cholmondeley Award for poetry and in 1995 the American Academy of Arts and Letters Michael Braude Award for light verse. She was awarded an OBE in 2010, and her most recent collection, Family Values, was published in 2011.
Alan Johnson was born in May 1950. He is a British Labour Party politician who served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that, he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Alan Johnson has been the Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle since 1997.