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5 speakers 15 minutes each
Mon 4th Apr 2011
Luke Wright is one of the country's hottest young poets. His debut theatre show Luke Wright, Poet Laureate, played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006, racking up many five star reviews and paving the way for a 25+ date UK tour in 2007. Then followed Poet&Man, A Poet's Work is Never Done and most recently The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright. In all his shows Wright mixes poetry with anecdotal stand-up. Luke has curated The Poetry Arena at The Latitude Festival since 2006. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio, in 2008 he became a 'poet-in-residence' on BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live. In 2007 Wright self-released a spoken word album called The Rise&Fall of Luke Wright, Esq. Later that year Penguin published Who Writes This Crap? a book of parodies written with fellow Aisle16 poet Joel Stickley.
Victor Gregg was born in London in 1919 and enlisted in the Rifle Brigade aged 19. He was sent to the Middle East; following service in the western desert and at the battle of Alamein, he joined the Parachute Regiment and in September 1944 found himself at the battle of Arnhem. When the paratroopers were forced to withdraw, Gregg was captured. He attempted to escape, but was caught and became a prisoner of war; sentenced to death in Dresden for attempting to escape and burning down a factory, only the allies' infamous raid on the city the night before his execution saved his life. Gregg's story continues after the end of the war. In the 50s he became chauffeur to the Chairman of the Moscow Norodny bank in London and more adventures followed. He is appearing with Rick Stroud a television writer and director and author of The Book of the Moon. Rick has helped Vic to edit and publish his autobiography Rifleman: A Frontline Life.
Hisham Matar is an author whose debut novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Matar’s essays have appeared in Asharq Alawsat, The Independent, The Guardian, The Times and The New York Times. Born in New York City, Matar spent his childhood in America with his Libyan parents while his father was working for the United Nations. When he was three years old, his family returned to Tripoli, but in 1979 his father was accused of being a reactionary to Gaddafi’s revolutionary regime and was forced to flee the country. In 1990, while Matar was in London studying, his father was kidnapped in Cairo and has been reported missing ever since. Hisham Matar’s second novel- The Anatomy of a Disappearance- was published in March 2011. The FT called it: “a beautifully crafted tale coiled around an enigma.”
Amanda Foreman is a British/American biographer. While working as a researcher in Oxford in 1998, she published her first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, based on her doctoral thesis. The book received wide critical acclaim, was a bestseller and won the 1998 Whitbread Prize for Best Biography. The book has been the subject of a television documentary, a highly successful radio play, starring Judi Dench, and a film, The Duchess, starring Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley. Her history of British volunteers in the American Civil War, A World on Fire was published in 2010.
Fergal Keane began his career in journalism in 1979 as a reporter on the Limerick Leader before moving to The Irish Press. His first taste of broadcasting was with RTE News. From 1990 to 1994 his reports covered the township unrest in South Africa, the first elections following the end of apartheid and the genocide in Rwanda. He won the Amnesty International Press Awards in 1993 and won an Amnesty television prize in 1994 for his investigation of the Rwandan genocide, Journey Into Darkness. He has also been awarded a BAFTA. A columnist for The Independent, he writes for a range of publications and is the author of several books, including Season of Blood, and A Stranger's Eye. In 2010, he published his first major history work Road of Bones: the Siege of Kohima 1944, an account of the epic battle which halted the Japanese invasion of India.