5x15 - with Laura Bates, Lemn Sissay and the Secret Barrister
In 2009, 18-year-old Waad al-Kateab moved to Aleppo to study marketing at the University of Aleppo.
In 2011, when protests against the Assad regime swept the country, Waad taught herself how to film and became a citizen journalist, determined to document the horrors of the war. During this time, Waad began reporting for Channel 4 News in the United Kingdom. The reports she made for Channel 4 News on the conflict in Syria, and the most complex humanitarian crisis in the world, became the most watched pieces on the UK news programme – and received almost half a billion views online and won 24 awards – including the 2016 International Emmy for breaking news coverage.
Waad documented her whole life over five years in Aleppo, as she falls in love with Hamza – her friend-turned-husband, a doctor – and gives birth to their first daughter, Sama ("Sky") in 2015, which became the basis of For Sama.
For Sama, directed with Edward Watts, won the Prix L'Œil d'or for best documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, receiving a six-minute standing ovation. At the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, For Sama became the most nominated documentary in the history of the British Academy Film Awards with four nominations, winning for Best Documentary. For Sama received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards.
After fleeing Aleppo in December 2016, Waad, her husband, and their two daughters now reside in London, United Kingdom. Waad continues to work with Channel 4 and dedicates time to her advocacy campaign, Action For Sama, which focuses on raising awareness on the situation in Syria and seeks accountability for the war crimes committed there.
Google the name “Lemn Sissay” and all the returning hits will be about him because there is only one Lemn Sissay in the world. Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA nominated award winning writer, international poet, performer playwright, artist and broadcaster. He has read on stage throughout the world: from The Library of Congress in The United States to The University of Addis Ababa, from Singapore to Sri Lanka, Bangalore to Dubai, from Bali to Greenland AND Wigan library.
He was awarded an MBE for services to literature by The Queen of England. Along with Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie and Margaret Atwood he won a Pen Pinter Prize in 2019. He is Chancellor of The University of Manchester and an Honorary Doctor from The Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester, Kent and Brunei. He is Dr Dr Dr Dr Lemn Sissay. He was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics and poet of the FA Cup.
Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality, with branches in 25 countries worldwide.
She works closely with politicians, businesses, schools, police forces and organisations from the Council of Europe to the United Nations to tackle gender inequality. She was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to gender equality in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2015 and has been named woman of the year by Cosmopolitan, Red Magazine and The Sunday Times Magazine.
Laura is a contributor at Women Under Siege, a New York-based project tackling rape in conflict worldwide and she is patron of SARSAS, Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support. She is the recipient of two honorary degrees, an honorary fellow of St John's College Cambridge and was awarded the Internet and Society Award by the Oxford Internet Institute alongside Sir Tim Berners Lee. Laura is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Vice President of the Hay Festival. She has judged the Women's Prize, the YA Book Prize, the Children's Laureate and the BBC Young Writers Award.
Tim Harford is a behavioural economist, BBC radio and TV presenter and award-winning Financial Times columnist. He offers a distinctive blend of storytelling, humour and intelligence. The presenter of the BBC’s More or Less and Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy, FT columnist, Oxford Fellow and million-selling business author is a compelling storyteller on economics, management, psychology and the unexpected bits in between. Books include The Undercover Economist and How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers.
The Secret Barrister is a junior barrister specialising in criminal law, and the author of the award-winning blog of the same name. The Secret Barrister writes for many publications, including The Times, the Guardian, New Statesman, iNews, Esquire and Counsel magazine.
In 2016 and 2017, the Secret Barrister was named Independent Blogger of the Year at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. In 2018, the Secret Barrister was named Legal Personality of the Year at the Law Society Awards.
Their first book, The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, was a Sunday Times number-one bestseller and has been in the top-ten bestseller list for more than a year. It won the Books Are My Bag Non-Fiction Award 2018, and was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year and the Specsavers Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2018.