5 Speakers, 15 Minutes Each - March 2023
Blake Morrison is a poet, novelist and journalist. His non-fiction books include And When Did You Last See Your Father? (1993), which won the J. R. Ackerley Prize and the Esquire/Volvo/Waterstone's Non-Fiction Book Award, As If (1997), about the murder of the toddler James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993, and a memoir of his mother, Things My Mother Never Told Me (2002). His poetry includes the collections Dark Glasses (1984), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, and Shingle Street (2015). He is a regular literary critic for the Guardian.
Katherine Rundell grew up in London, Zimbabwe and Belgium. She was elected a Fellow of All Souls College Oxford at the age of 21, and is now a Fellow of St Catherine’s College. Rundell is also the author of Super-Infinite, which won the Baillie Gifford Prize, and Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise, both Sunday Times bestsellers. Her award-winning best-selling books for children have been translated into thirty languages. She is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books.
Tania Branigan is a Guardian foreign leader writer. Having spent seven years as the Guardian’sChina correspondent, she has also written for the Washington Post and The Australian. Red Memory is her first book.
Jeremy Denk is one of America's foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur 'Genius' Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Denk returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and has appeared with renowned ensembles including the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. His recordings have received critical acclaim, including reaching No. 1 on the Billboard classical charts and featuring on many 'best of the year' lists. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, New Republic, Guardian, and the New York Times Book Review. Denk graduated from Oberlin College, Indiana University, and the Juilliard School. In Every Good Boy Does Fine, Denk explores how classical music is relevant to ‘real life’, despite its distance in time; how it is structured; and how it achieves its effects. He unpacks pieces by composers that have shaped him –Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms, among others – and shares unusual and highly original lessons on the roles of melody, harmony, and rhythm. Denk passes on to his readers the lessons he has learned; honours the debt he owes to so many remarkable and different teachers; and reminds us that music is our creation, and that we need to keep asking questions about its purpose.
Julie McDowall is a freelance journalist and book critic specialising in the nuclear threat. Her writing has appeared in The Times, Economist, Spectator, Guardian, TLS, Prospect and Independent, and she is also the host of the Atomic Hobo podcast in which she reveals findings in the nuclear archives and reports on her travels to nuclear bunkers and other Cold War sites. Her book Attack Warning Red! How Britain Prepared for Nuclear War, is the first book to tell the story of day-to-day life on the nuclear home front. While today we may read about the Cold War and life in Britain under the shadow of the mushroom cloud with a sense of amusement and relief, Attack Warning Red! is also a timely and powerful reminder that, so long as nuclear weapons exist, the nuclear threat will always be with us.