5 Speakers, 15 Minutes Each - September 2023

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Join 5x15 in September to hear about the world of animal senses, a murky tale of invention & murder, the power of recovery, Coco Chanel, and the unsung heroes who created the OED.

Ed Yong
An immense world

Ed Yong's first book, I Contain Multitudes, about the amazing partnerships between microbes and animals, was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize and the Wellcome Book Prize. It was a NewYork Times bestseller. He is a science writer on the staff of The Atlantic, where he won the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism for his coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the George Polk Award for science reporting, among other honours. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic, Wired, The New York Times, Scientific American, and more. He lives in Washington, D.C. In An Immense World, Ed Yong coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses, welcoming us into previously unfathomable dimensions - the world as it is truly perceived by other animals.

Mark O’Connell
A thread of violence

Mark O’Connell is the author of A Thread of Violence, Notes from an Apocalypse, and To Be a Machine, which was awarded the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize, the 2019 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. His work has appeared in The New Yorker,The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and The Guardian. He lives in Dublin with his family.

Justine Picardie
Coco Chanel

Justine Picardie is the author of six books, including her bestselling memoir If the Spirit Moves You; Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture; and the international bestseller, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, which will be reissued in a new, revised edition in August 2023 to coincide with the forthcoming Chanel exhibition at the V&A. She has also contributed essays to several anthologies and museum exhibitions on art, fashion and photography. She is a contributing editor to Harper’s Bazaar, having previously been its editor-in-chief. She was formerly an investigative journalist for the Sunday Times, a columnist for the Telegraph, editor of the Observer Magazine, editor of Town & Country and features director of Vogue.

Octavia Bright
Recovery and renewal

Octavia Bright is a writer and broadcaster. She co-hosts Literary Friction, the literary podcast and NTS Radio show, with Carrie Plitt. Recommended by the New York Times, Guardian, BBC Culture, Electric Literature, Sunday Times and others, it has run for ten years and has listeners worldwide. She has also presented programmes for BBC R4 including Open Book, and hosts literary events for bookshops, publishers, and festivals – such as Cheltenham Literature Festival and events for The Southbank Centre. Her writing has been published in a number of magazines including the White Review, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Wasafiri, Somesuch Stories, and the Sunday Times, amongst others. She has a PhD from UCL where she wrote about hysteria and desire in Spanish cinema. Her first book, This Ragged Grace: A Memoir of Recovery and Renewal, was published by Canongate in June 2023, and described by Olivia Laing as "an extraordinary, electrifying book."

Sarah Ogilvie
The Dictionary People

Sarah Ogilvie teaches at the University of Oxford, and specializes in language, dictionaries, and technology. As a lexicographer she has been an editor at the Oxford English Dictionary and was Chief Editor of Oxford Dictionaries in Australia. As a technologist she has worked in Silicon Valley at Lab 126, Amazon's innovation lab, where she was part of the team that developed the Kindle. She originally studied computer science and mathematics before taking her doctorate in Linguistics at the University of Oxford, and then taught at Cambridge and Stanford.