5x15 - 5 speakers, 15 minutes each - October 2021

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Join 5x15 for a thought-provoking evening with an eclectic lineup of writers, thinkers and activists.

Lara Maiklem
A field guide to larking
Lara Maiklem is the founder of The London Mudlark. The mudlark was born amongst the filth and chaos of Victorian London. These poor degraded creatures were scavengers, wading through the foul-smelling mud to collect anything they could sell, such as rags, coal and rope. Most mudlarks were children and old people - society's most vulnerable - these days, however, mudlarking is a term used by a band of amateur archeologists that scour the foreshore of the River Thames for signs of history. All of her finds are made by eye only, and without disturbing the foreshore in any way, she believes there is no need to dig or to use a metal detector, a keen eye and some patience will usually throw up some fascinating finds. The London Mudlark is the largest and friendliest online community of people who enjoy spending their time in the mud by the river or are just interested in what’s being found, with over 100k followers across social media platforms. Lara regularly posts her finds - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Sarfraz Manzoor

Safraz Manzoor is a British journalist, documentary maker, broadcaster, and screenwriter of Pakistani origin. Growing up in a working-class Muslim family in Luton, he was raised to believe that ‘they’ – white people – would never accept him. In today’s Britain, we are often told that ‘they’ – Muslims – will never accept this country. In his new book, They, Manzoor tells the story of modern Muslim Britain, and searches for a more positive future that bridges the chasm of mutual mistrust.

Oliver Burkeman
Four Thousand Weeks

Oliver Burkeman is the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking and for many years wrote a popular weekly column on psychology for the Guardian, 'This Column Will Change Your Life'. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Psychologies and New Philosopher. He has a devoted following for his writing on productivity, mortality, the power of limits, and building a meaningful life in an age of bewilderment.

John Lanchester
Reality and Other Stories
John Lanchester was born in Hamburg in 1962. He has worked as a football reporter, obituary writer, book editor, restaurant critic, and deputy editor of the London Review of Books, where he is a contributing editor. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker. He has written four novels, The Debt to Pleasure, Mr Phillips and Fragrant Harbour, and Capital, and three works of non-fiction: Family Romance, a memoir; Whoops!: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay, about the global financial crisis and How to Speak Money which lays out the case for financial literacy. His books have won the Hawthornden Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Prize, E.M Forster Award, and the Premi Llibreter, been longlisted for the Booker Prize, and been translated into twenty-five languages. He is married, has two children and lives in London.

Justine Picardie
Miss Dior

Justine Picardie is the author of six books, including her critically acclaimed memoir, If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, and the international bestseller, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life. Her most recent book was Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture, a biography of the sister of legendary fashion designer Christian Dior, published by Faber & Faber in 2021. 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 and features director of Vogue.