5×15 spring series announced

5x15 - Five by Fifteen

It looks like i’m going to have to get tickets to all of them!


April 16th

Richard Davenport-Hines on Titanic lives

Richard Davenport-Hines is a British historian and literary biographer. He is the recipient of the Wolfson Prize for History and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of several books including The Pursuit of Oblivion, a global history of narcotics, and a biography of W H Auden. He also writes for the New York Times, the TLS, and the Independent, among other publications.

Paul Conroy on the situation in Syria

Paul Conroy is a British freelance photographer and filmmaker who works in the British media. A former soldier with the Royal Artillery between 1980 and 1987, he has since worked extensively as a journalist in combat zones, producing footage from conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East and Libya. In 2011 he was shortlisted for the PRX Bayeux TV report along with Marie Colvin, the war correspondent with The Sunday Times. On 22 February 2012 during the Syrian uprising, Conroy was injured while covering events from the Syrian city of Homs, a stronghold of Syrian opposition forces, after the building where he and other journalists were based was shelled by Syrian government forces. Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed in the attack, while Conroy was injured along with another journalist, French reporter Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro.

Amir Amirani on We Are Many, the story of the greatest global protest in history

Amir Amirani is an Iranian born British film-maker. He has produced documentaries for all the major UK broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5, PBS in the US, as well as other international broadcasters. Amir has made films for several of the BBC’s flagship series, including the multi BAFTA award winning Arena, Timewatch, Picture This, Correspondent and Newsnight, for which he was nominated for an Amnesty International Award. A film he directed in South Africa was nominated for the One World Broadcasting Trust Awards. He has worked in radio producing programmes for leading series on BBC Radio 4 and his journalism includes writing for the New Statesman, New Scientist, Business Traveller Asia and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Andrew Davies how to adapt literary classics for TV

Commercially successful and critically acclaimed, Andrew Davies is one of television’s most sought-after writers, famous for his adaptations of classic works of literature. He graduated in 1957 with an English degree from University College London and taught at schools and then Universities. A lover of literature, he combined teaching with writing until going full-time in 1987, aged 50. It’s a career of amazing versatility spanning 40 years, which has also seen him work on a number of original plays and works, programmes for children and sitcoms. To name a few highlights- the 1990s saw Davies adapt George Eliot’s Middlemarch and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice both for the BBC and Moll Flanders for ITV. In the 2000s Tipping the Velvet, Vanity Fair and The Way We Live Now were all for the BBC. Davies also tackled Kingsley Amis’s The Old Devils and adapted Daniel Deronda and serialised Bleak House for the BBC. He also adapted The Line of Beauty. Cinema credits include Bridget Jones, Circle of Friends, The Tailor of Panama and The Three Musketeers.

Prue Leith- my life on a plate

Prue Leith is a restaurateur, caterer, TV cook, broadcaster and cookery writer. In 1969 she opened Leith’s, her famous Michelin starred restaurant. In 1975 she founded Leiths School of Food and Wine which trains amateur and professional chefs. She has been a cookery editor and food columnist for the Daily Mail, Sunday Express, The Guardian and The Mirror. Leith has received many honours including the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year in 1990 and eleven honorary degrees or fellowships from UK universities. She was awarded an OBE in 1989 and a CBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours. She has recently released her memoir, Relish; My Life on a Plate.


April 30th

Elif shafak

Elif Shafak is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read female writer in Turkey. Critics have named her as ‘one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary Turkish and world literature.’ Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages and she was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. Elif has published eleven books, eight of which are novels. She writes fiction in both Turkish and English. Her first novel , Pinham (The Mystic) was awarded the ‘Rumi Prize’ in 1998, and her novel , Bit Palas (The Flea Palace) has been a bestseller in Turkey and was shortlisted for the independent Best Fiction Award. Her latest novel, Iskender (Honour), has topped the bestseller lists and has been acclaimed by both critics and readers of various ages and backgrounds. The novel has opened up a vivid debate in Turkey about family, love, freedom, redemption and the construct of masculinity.

Ben Okri

Ben Okri is a Nigerian poet and novelist considered one of the finest African writers within the postcolonial tradition. In 1991 he was awarded the Booker prize for his novel The Famished Road, the first in a trilogy of novels. Other recent fiction includes Astonishing the Gods (1995) and Dangerous Love (1996), which was awarded the Premio Palmi (Italy) in 2000. His latest novels are In Arcadia (2002) and Starbook (2007). A collection of poems, An African Elegy, was published in 1992, and an epic poem, Mental Flight, in 1999. He published a collection of essays, A Way of Being Free, in 1997. Ben is a Vice-President of the English Centre of International PEN, a member of the board of the Royal National Theatre, and was awarded an OBE in 2001. In 2009 he published Tales of Freedom bringing together poetry and story. His latest book is Wild, his first collection of poetry in more than a decade.

Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer is an American author and journalist who writes on the topics of psychology, neuroscience, and the relationship between science and the humanities. He is the author of two books, Proust Was a Neuroscientist (2007) and How We Decide (2010). He is contributing editor at Wired, Scientific American Mind, National Public Radio’s Radiolab and has written for The New Yorker, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe. His third book Imagine: How Creativity Works is published by Canongate books and out now.

Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr was born on 14 June 1923 in Berlin but escaped from Hitler’s Germany with her parents and brother in 1933 when she was nine years old. Her father was a drama critic and a distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis. The family passed through Switzerland and France before arriving finally in England in 1936. Judith went to eleven different schools, worked in the Red Cross during the war, and won a scholarship to the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1945. Since then she has worked as an artist, a BBC television scriptwriter and, for the past thirty years, as author and illustrator of children’s books. Her three autobiographical novels are based on her early wandering years (which against all the odds she greatly enjoyed), her adolescence in London during the war, and finally on a brief return to Berlin as a young married woman. The stories have been internationally acclaimed and, to the author’s considerable satisfaction, have done particularly well in Germany where they are sometimes used as an easy introduction to a difficult period of Germany history. Judith has a daughter who is a designer and a son who is a novelist. She lives in London.

Scott Burnham

Scott Burnham is a strategist, creative director and writer working with a number of cities, institutions and publications worldwide. He created and directed Urban Play for Droog Design and the city of Amsterdam to launch a new generation of objects and areas for the city. He is currently directing the Trust Design project for Premsela, the Netherlands institute for design in Amsterdam, and is the Editor for a special 4-issue publication series and guest lecturer at Design Academy Eindhoven. As well as contributing to a number of publications, he is the author of Finding The Truth In Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking an exploration of how hacking and open approaches are transforming design and cities everywhere.


May 21st

Hannah Rothschild – the story of the jazz baroness

Hannah Rothschild is a writer and director. Her documentary features have appeared on the BBC, HBO and at film festivals including Telluride, the London Film Festival and Sheffield. Working Title and Ridley Scott optioned her original screenplays. Her features and interviews appear in newspapers and magazines including W, Vanity Fair, The Telegraph, The Times, The New York Times, The Spectator, British and American Vogue. Her biography, the ‘The Baroness’ will be published by Virago in May 2012.

Charles Hazlewood on his life as a conductor

Charles Hazlewood occupies a unique position in British musical life. The combination of his outstanding musical talent and versatility as a conductor, and his passion for bringing classical music to the widest possible audience, has led to a significant profile as a conductor in the broadcast media, and on the world stage. Following his studies at Christ’s Hospital and Oxford University, Hazlewood won first prize at the European Broadcasting Union Conducting Competition in Lisbon in 1995. June 2003 saw his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He made his BBC Proms conducting debut in August 2006, with the BBC Concert Orchestra; simultaneously presenting the concert live from the stage for TV. He now guest-conducts many of the world’s leading orchestras. From 2007, Hazlewood was Music Director of the Cape Town based lyric theatre company Dimpho Di Kopane, DDK, (Sotho for “combined talents”), which he co-founded. He occupies a central position on BBC Radio 3, with Discovering Music, where he deconstructs great orchestral music with the BBC orchestras and his own two orchestras. For several years he also hosted Radio 2’s The Charles Hazlewood Show, exploring his vast and catholic music tastes, in sessions recorded on his farm in Somerset. He played the first ever symphony concert on the famous Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In August ’09 Charles unveiled his latest venture, a new breed of orchestral festival on his farm in Somerset called Play the Field. It was broadcast on Radio 2 and attended by 4,000 people. Play the Field, now renamed Orchestra in a Field, will return in 2012. Charles Hazlewood lives with his family in Somerset.

Ed Vulliamy The War Is Dead, Long Live the War- Bosnia, the reckoning

Ed Vulliamy is a journalist for the Guardian and Observer and the author of Amexica: War along the Borderline, a book about the drugs war and the gangs and guns that is destroying thousands of lives in the region. His new book The War Is Dead, Long Live the War- is his account of the Bosnian war and its afterlife, as told through the stories of the people who survived it. Ed Vulliamy and ITN’s Penny Marshall were the first reporters to gain access to the infamous Omarska and Trnopolje camps, on 5 August 1992.

Ben Macintyre on Double Cross, the true story of D-Day’s spies

Ben Macintyre is the author of eight books including Agent Zigzag and the number one bestseller, Operation Mincemeat. His new book, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, tells the story of the deception behind the success of the D-Day invasion. D-Day, 6 June 1944, was a turning point of the Second World War, and a triumph of deceit. Under the direction of an eccentric but brilliant intelligence officer in tartan trousers, working from a smoky lair in St James’s, a team of double agents convinced the Germans that the landings would take place, not in Normandy, as expected, but in Calais and Norway. These spies, codenamed Bronx, Brutus, Treasure, Tricycle and Garbo, wove a web of deception so intricate that it hoodwinked Hitler, ensnared his army and helped to carry thousands of troops across the Channel in safety. Ben Macintyre is a columnist and Associate Editor of The Times.

Faramerz Dabhoiwala on the origins of sex

Dr Faramerz Dabhoiwala is a Fellow, Tutor and University Lecturer in Modern History. He was born in the west of England and educated at Amsterdam, York and Oxford. Whilst completing his doctorate he taught for two years at the University of Sheffield. Before coming to Exeter he was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and, briefly, a Visiting Fellow at Yale University. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in British and European history between 1400 and 1800. His research interests are mainly in the social, cultural, and intellectual history of the English-speaking world since 1500. (For a taster, click here.) His first book is The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution (2012). He is now working on a global history of English since the middle ages.


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