5 Speakers, 15 Minutes Each - February 2023

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Join us in February as we dig into prehistoric landscapes and the science of emotion, explore America's underbelly and celebrate sporting glory and England's Lionesses

Patrick Radden Keefe
The Snakehead

Patrick Radden Keefe is an award-winning staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of the international bestsellers EMPIRE OF PAIN (winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction), SAY NOTHING (winner of the Orwell Prize) and, most recently, ROGUES: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks. First published in 2009, THE SNAKEHEAD is a sweeping history of the American dream, Manhattan’s Chinatown underbelly, and the mastermind behind one of the largest human-smuggling rings – a middle-aged grandmother. Described as a ‘mash-up of The Godfather and Chinatown’, it is both a kaleidoscopic crime story and a brilliant exploration of the ironies of immigration in America.


Thomas Halliday
Otherlands

Thomas Halliday is an Associate Research Fellow at the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Birmingham. His PhD won the Linnean Society Medal for the best thesis in the biological sciences in the UK, and he won the Hugh Miller Writing Competition in 2018. His book OTHERLANDS, a history of life on earth, was a Sunday Times bestseller, a Foyles Book of the Year 2022, and longlisted for Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. He was raised in Rannoch in the Scottish Highlands, and now lives in London with his family


Suzanne Wrack
Lionesses

Suzanne Wrack is the Guardian and Observer’s women’s football correspondent - the first person to hold this role at a national newspaper. In A WOMAN’S GAME, she explores the history of women’s football from the Victorian era – when players wore high-heeled boots – to the present day. It is the story of a rise, fall, and rise again, from the game’s first appearance in England in the late nineteenth century, through to the height of its popularity in 1920, when crowds of 53,000 flocked to Goodison Park. Subsequently banned for 50 years in the UK, Wrack’s story ends in triumph, with England’s Lionesses’ victory at the Euros in the summer of 2022.


Dean Burnett
Emotional ignorance

Dr Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist, blogger, sometime comedian and author. His previous books, THE IDIOT BRAIN and THE HAPPY BRAIN, were international bestsellers, while his Guardian articles have been read over sixteen million times. In EMOTIONAL IGNORANCE, he puts his own feelings under the microscope to ask where they come from, what purpose they serve, and why they make us feel the way they do. Addressing questions such as ‘Why can’t we think straight when hungry?’, ‘What’s the point of nightmares?’, and ‘Why can’t we forget embarrassing memories?’, as well as his grief at losing his dad to COVID-19, he discovers how emotions make us who we are.


Kirsty Sedgman
On being unreasonable

Kirsty Sedgman is a cultural studies expert who specialises in audience experience and human behaviour. Currently a lecturer at the University of Bristol, she has spoken about her research around the world, and has seen her work featured in outlets including BBC Front Row, the Times Literary Supplement, Guardian, and New York Times. In her new book On Being Unreasonable, she argues that sometimes we need to act unreasonably to bring about positive change. Looking back through history and around the world, Kirsty Sedgman set out to discover how unfairness and discrimination got baked into our social norms, dividing us along lines of gender, class, disability, sexuality, race.


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