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A. C. Grayling – Hay Festival


AC Grayling believes three of our biggest global challenges are climate change, the rate of development in high-impact technologies and the deficit of social and economic justice.

He asks if human beings can agree on a set of values that will allow us to confront the threats facing the planet, or will we continue with our disagreements as we approach possible extinction? As every day brings new stories about extreme weather, spyware, lethal autonomous weapons and international political-economic, health and human rights imbalances, he argues that we need to find an answer to the question: Is Global Agreement on Global Challenges Possible?

Emily Kenny – Waterstones Ashford

Emily Kenny will be in store signing copies of her twisty, adventurous debut middle grade novel, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks, which may or may not feature a talking seagull…
We will also be making some funky bookmarks. Come along and take part!

Sam Fowles – Glasgow Aye Write!

An insider’s view into how our government has undermined our democratic principles from a barrister who took the Prime Minister to court.

British democracy is on trial. We can no longer hold our leaders to account; the state has too much power; and the truth doesn’t matter at all. Those we voted into government have nothing but contempt for the democratic system that got them there. From exposing the unlawful prorogation of Parliament to helping the smallest city in England against predatory developers, public law barrister Sam Fowles puts our society under cross-examination. Our media happily lies to us. Our politicians brazenly break the rules. And we seem to think there’s nothing we can do about it. If living in a liberal society means anything at all, we need to fight for what’s ours.

Peter Fiennes – Bath Festival


Join author and Time Out publisher Peter Fiennes (A Thing of Beauty) as he tells of his journeys on the trail of the Greek myths, exploring the modern relevance of Theseus, Hera and Pandora and discovering what’s to be found now at the places where heroes fought and gods once quarrelled.

Twitter: @pfiennes

Instagram: @pfiennes


Agnès Poirier – Daunt Books Marylebone

Daunt Books Festival 2022

The Pleasures of Walking: Where My Feet Fall

Join three of our best travel writers to explore Paris, London, Rome and Milan by foot.

Duncan Minshull discusses his fantastic collection of writing about the joys of walking. We are very lucky to have two of the contributors to Where My Feet Fall here to discuss their journeys with him, and expound on the magic of movement.

Tim Parks is the author, most recently, of The Hero’s Way which follows the incredible journey of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi as he walked from Rome to Ravenna.

Agnès Poirer takes us vividly to Paris in her latest book, Notre Dame, as she explores the enduring love the world feels for the iconic building.

Helen Carr – Daunt Books Marylebone

Daunt Books Festival 2022

From the palaces of Istanbul to the blood-soaked fields of central Europe and the scorched coasts of north Africa, The Lion House pioneers a bold new style of eye-witness history to tell a true story of power at its most glittering, personal and perilous: Suleyman’s rise to become the most feared and powerful man of the sixteenth century.

The Lion House is not just the story of two civilisations in an existential duel and of one of the most consequential lives in world history. It is a tale of the timeless pull of power, dangerous to live with, deadly to live without.

We are delighted that author and historian Helen Carr will be joining Christopher de Bellaigue in conversation. Helen Carr is the author of The Red Prince which vividly brings to life the complex character of John Gaunt, the brother of the Black Prince.

Victoria Shepherd – Bath Festival


In this special event writer and producer Victoria Shepherd (A History of Delusions) and writer and former consultant neurologist Jules Montague (The Imaginary Patient) explore the implications behind diagnostic labels, the stories of collective anxieties and traumas, the history behind illness and our current modern maladies. They speak to Judith Robinson.

Twitter: @victoriashephe1 / @Jules_Montague

Sam Fowles – Bath Festival

Our media happily lies to us. Our politicians brazenly break the rules. Public law barrister Sam Fowles (Overruled: Our Vanishing Democracy in 8 Cases) has experience of holding the government to account at the highest level, including taking the Prime Minister to court with the Gina Miller case. Marion Milne chairs.

Twitter: @SamFowles

Instagram: @drsamfowles

Martin Bell – Bath Festival

Over six decades, Martin Bell, (War and Peacekeeping: Personal Reflections on Conflict and Lasting Peace) the finest war reporter of his generation, has stood in 18 war zones as a soldier, a reporter and a UNICEF ambassador. He looks back on our efforts to keep the peace since the end of the Second World War and considers the current darkening political landscape with broadcaster and journalist Mark Lawson.

Lucy Ward – Portico Library, Manchester

Join Lucy Ward to hear about her new book on Catherine the Great, vaccination and smallpox – history with contemporary resonance!

More details here

Lucy Ward tells David Isaac the story of how Catherine II of Russia (the Great) summoned a physician from Hertford, Thomas Dimsdale, to inoculate herself and her son against smallpox, then promoted inoculation (the forerunner of vaccination) across her empire. Catherine and many others saw inoculation not only as a lifesaving procedure but as a symbol of the triumph of reason and scientific observation over superstition.

The empress’s inoculation took place in 1768, but the book tracks back to the arrival of inoculation in Britain some 50 years previously, thanks to another extraordinary woman, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and the beginnings of anti-inoculation sentiment (the term ‘anti-inoculators’ came into use 300 years ago this year). Lucy draws on the example set by yet another visionary woman, Princess Caroline of Ansbach (the Princess of Wales), in having her daughters inoculated and publicising their safe recovery, again 300 years ago this year.

Catherine and Thomas became close friends and maintained their friendship till the end of their lives, but were never lovers. Their relationship was remarkable: it was founded on mutual intellectual respect and trust.

Lucy Ward is a writer and journalist. Growing up near Manchester, she studied Early and Middle English at university, before training as a journalist with the Bradford Telegraph & Argus. Moving south, she covered education for the Independent before becoming a Lobby correspondent for the Guardian during Tony Blair’s premiership. Despite an attempt by Peter Mandelson to sack her, she spent over five years at Westminster, campaigning for greater female representation. Lucy lived in Moscow from 2010-2012. A chance meeting led her to a barely-known story combining eighteenth century Russian history, female political leadership and public understanding of science. That story is the subject of her first book.

David Isaac is a comedy writer and regular Coronation Street script writer based in Manchester. His sitcom ‘Lunch Monkeys’ was broadcast on BBC3 earlier this year; the second season of is currently running. He has also worked as a writer on BBC1 shows ‘Not Going Out’ (series 3 and 4), and ‘Life of Riley’(series 2 and 3), and BBC3 sketch show ‘Scallywagga’ (series 1).

This event is part of Feminist Book Fortnight.

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