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5 speakers 15 minutes each
Wed 23rd Sep 2015
Andrew Roberts has written or edited twelve books, and appears regularly on radio and television around the world. His biography of the Earl of Halifax, entitled The Holy Fox was published in 1991, followed by Eminent Churchillians in 1994. Other books include Salisbury: Victorian Titan, Napoleon and Wellington and Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 brought him an invitation to the White House in February 2007, where he delivered the prestigious White House Lecture. The Storm of War was published in August 2009 and reached No.2 on The Sunday Times bestseller list, and won the British Army Military Book Award for 2010. In April 2012 he was awarded the William Penn Prize.
Michael Morpurgo, OBE, is the former Children’s Laureate and best-selling author of over 130 books for children, including Private Peaceful, The Butterfly Lion, Kensuke’s Kingdom and War Horse, which first performed at the National Theatre in 2007. It continues to be performed at the New London Theatre to packed theatres. War Horse was released as a film directed by Steven Spielberg in January 2012. In 1976, Michael and his wife, Clare, started the charity Farms for City Children. The charity runs three farms around the country, in Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and North Devon. Each farm offers children and teachers from urban primary schools the chance to live and work in the countryside for a week, and gain hands-on experience. Michael’s latest novel is Listen to the Moon, published in Autumn 2014 by Harper Collins.
Martin Rees is a cosmologist and space scientist. He is currently on the Board of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study and has served on many bodies connected with education, space research, arms control and international collaboration in science. He lectures, writes and broadcasts widely for general audiences. Ever since his book 'Our Final Century?' was published , he has been concerned with the threats stemming from humanity's ever-heavier 'footprint' on the global environment, and with the runaway consequences of ever more powerful technologies. These concerns led him to join with colleagues in setting up a Centre for the Study of Existential Risks (CSER) based in Cambridge. Posthuman evolution, here on Earth and far beyond, will be the outcome of technological changes (genetics, cyborg and AI) rather than Darwinian selection.
Until the age of 14, James had no formal academic musical education or dedicated mentoring. Aged 18 he stopped playing the piano entirely for a decade. Since returning to the piano, he has released five albums, all of which have topped the iTunes classical charts. James has presented a Chopin documentary for BBC4 and had his own television series James Rhodes: Piano Man on Sky Arts. Last year James filmed a two-part documentary for Channel 4 called ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ which gave schoolchildren the chance to learn a musical instrument by calling for an 'instrument amnesty' - a mission to collect unused musical instruments from around the country which raised over £1 million of instruments for primary schools in the UK. His memoir, Instrumental, was recently published by Canongate. It is a brutally honest, moving and compelling story that was almost banned until the Supreme Court unanimously overthrew an injunction in May 2015.
Photo credit: Dave Brown
Photo credit: Dave Brown
Tiffany Watt-Smith is research fellow at the QMUL Centre for the History of the Emotions, and was also a 2014 BBC New Generation Thinker. Before beginning her career in research, she worked as a theatre director for seven years, including as Associate Director at the Arcola Theatre and International Associate Director at the Royal Court. She lives in London.