Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne’s College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. She is a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women’s rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice a TED Global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she has been awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who would make the world better. She has judged numerous literary prizes and is chairing the Wellcome Prize 2019.
Sarah Shaffi is a freelance literary journalist and editor. She writes regularly for Stylist Magazine online and is books editor at Phoenix Magazine. She was a judge for the Jhalak Prize 2019. Sarah is editor-at-large at independent children’s publisher Little Tiger Group. She regularly chairs author events, and is co-founder of BAME in Publishing, a networking group for people of colour in publishing. She can be found tweeting @sarahshaffi and online at www.sarahshaffi.com.
Jude Kelly was the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre in London for 12 years from 2006- 2018, where she established the WOW Festival. Southbank Centre is Europe’s largest Arts Institution and London’s 3rd biggest tourist attraction. In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
She has directed over 100 theatre and opera productions, is the recipient of two Olivier awards for theatre, a BASCA Gold Badge Award winner for contribution to music, a Southbank Award for her opera work, an RPO award for her festival The Rest is Noise, Red Magazine’s 2014 Creative Woman of the Year, CBIs 2016 First Woman Award winner for Tourism and Leisure and in 2017 won the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Woman of the Year Social Purpose Award. Kelly’s talk at a 2016 TED conference, Why women should tell the stories of humanity, has been viewed more than 1.2million times to date.
She was a judge for the Stirling Prize 2018 and is currently undertaking a research project on the gender bias and ethical standards of city developments as part of her role as Practitioner in Residence at The LSEs Marshall Institute.
She is a board member of the Cultural Industries Federation, the Patron of the Mary Wollstonecraft programme, and Artistic Director of the Robert F Kennedy Festival of Human Rights. She has also Chaired the Women’s Prize for fiction and is currently the chair for The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
Tom Gatti is deputy editor of the New Statesman. He joined the NS in 2013 as culture editor; before that he was Saturday Review editor at The Times, where he also wrote book reviews, features and interviews. He has judged several literary awards including the Goldsmiths Prize for fiction and the PEN Pinter Prize.
Robert Tombs is a Fellow of St John’s College, and Emeritus Professor of French history at Cambridge. He is a specialist in nineteenth and twentieth-century French history, and has written on the Paris Commune, the two world wars and the history of French nationalism. He has also written widely on Franco-British relations, and served as a member of the Franco-British Council. His most recent book is a general history of England from prehistoric times to the present, The English and Their History.
Paul Laity has been a books journalist for a quarter of a century. He commissions the non-fiction reviews for The Guardian, as well as essays and interviews. Before joining The Guardian, he worked as a senior editor at the London Review of Books, and has written for the LRB, Cabinet, New Statesman and other publications. He edited the Left Book Club Anthology.
Stephanie Flanders has been Senior Executive Editor for Economics at Bloomberg News and head of Bloomberg Economics since October 2017. She was previously Chief Market Strategist for Europe at J P Morgan Asset Management in London (2013-17) and both BBC Economics Editor and BBC Newsnight’s Economics Editor (2002-13). She was Senior Advisor and speech writer to US Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers (1997-2001). She has also been a reporter at the New York Times, the Principal Editor of the 2002 Human Development Report, an editorial-writer and economics columnist at the Financial Times, and an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and London Business School. She was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and Harvard University. In 2016 she was appointed Chair of the Inclusive Growth Commission for the Royal Society of Arts, which delivered its final report in March 2017. She is the Chair of Artichoke, a non-profit arts production company in the UK and a trustee of the Kennedy Memorial Trust.
Dr. Christine “Xine” Yao is Lecturer in American Literature to 1900 at University College London. Previously she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia after earning her PhD from Cornell University. She is completing a manuscript on the racial and sexual politics of unfeeling as dissent in nineteenth-century American literature and culture. Her scholarly essays have appeared in J19, Occasion, American Quarterly, and American Gothic Culture: An Edinburgh Companion. Xine is the co-host of PhDivas, a podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Her honours include the Yasuo Sakakibara Essay Prize from the American Studies Association and her work has been supported by multiple grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Preti Taneja is the author of We That are Young, (Galley Beggar Press, 2017), a Book of the Year in the Guardian, Sunday Times and the Spectator (UK), The Hindu (India) and a 2018 Library Journal top 10 literary fiction book of the year (USA). We That Are Young has listed for international awards including the Prix Jan Michalski, the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and is the winner of the 2018 Desmond Elliott Prize for the UK’s best debut of the year. It is being translated into several languages and is published in the USA and Canada by A.A Knopf. Preti began her career training disadvantaged young people across the UK in media skills; she has over a decade of experience as a human rights researcher, writer and editor working in conflict and post conflict zones, and of teaching writing including in prison. She holds a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at Warwick University.
Sam Leith is the Literary Editor of The Spectator, a columnist for the FT and regular book reviewer for the Guardian, FT, Telegraph and TLS. He’s the author of several books, most recently Write To The Point: How To Be Clear, Correct and Persuasive on the Page.
Tom Sutcliffe is the presenter of Radio Four’s arts review programme Saturday Review and Round Britain Quiz. After graduating from Cambridge he joined the BBC as a producer in Talks and Documentaries, and was eventually appointed editor of Kaleidoscope, Radio Four’s long running arts magazine programme. He left in 1986 to help launch the Independent, where he was Arts Editor, Associate Editor and a regular writer on the Arts and Comment pages. In 2000 his book, Watching: Reflections on the Movies, was published by Faber and Faber.
Ted Hodgkinson is a broadcaster, editor, critic, writer and Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre, where he oversees the seasonal literature programme as well as the prestigious London Literature Festival. Since his arrival at Southbank Centre he has programmed and interviewed authors and speakers including Margaret Atwood, Philip Pullman, John le Carré, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Professor Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Neil Gaiman, Naomi Klein, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Ondaatje, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tom Hanks, Michelle Obama, Zadie Smith and Roxane Gay. Formerly online editor at Granta magazine of new writing, his essays, interviews and reviews have appeared across a range of publications and websites, including the Times Literary Supplement, the Literary Review, the New Statesman, the Spectator, the Literary Hub and the Independent. He co-edited, with Icelandic author and poet Sjón, the first anthology of Nordic short stories in English, The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and other stories from the North (Pushkin Press, 2017), to critical acclaim. In 2018, for a second consecutive year, he was named in The Bookseller’s list of the 100 most influential people in publishing.
Robbie Millen has been literary editor of The Times since 2013. He was deputy comment editor of The Times‘s award-winning opinion pages from 2002-13. Before that he was assistant editor of The Spectator.
Helen Pankhurst is an author, a women’s rights activist and an international development practitioner. Helen studied at Sussex University, Vassar College, New York, and Edinburgh University and has an honorary degree from Edge Hill University. She is a Visiting Professor at MMU and (from December 2018) the First Chancellor of the University of Suffolk. Helen is a Senior Advisor for CARE International, based in the UK and in Ethiopia. She previously worked for other international development charities including WaterAid, Womankind Worldwide and ACORD. She is currently a Trustee of ActionAid. The great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement, Helen carries on the legacy. This includes undertaking re-enactment work for current-day awareness-raising including at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, the 2015 film Suffragette, leading CARE International’s annual #March4Women event ahead of International Women’s Day in London and launching the Centenary Action Group. She has worked with the composer Lucy Pankhurst, on the lyrics of the Emmeline Anthem commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and in 2018 published the book: Deeds Not Words, the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now.
Tulip Siddiq is the Labour Member of Parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn. She is a member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee. She is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Childcare and Early Education and the Vice- Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism. She is a governor at Emmanuel Primary School, a trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and a patron of the charity Leaders Plus.
Vaughan is an award-winning video journalist who founded the Frontline Club in London in 2003 as an institution to champion independent journalism. During the 1990s he ran Frontline Television News, an agency that represented the interests of freelance video journalists. Its history has been detailed in a book “Frontline: The True Story of the British Mavericks who Changed the Face of War Reporting'” by the BBC. Since 1988 Vaughan has filmed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo and elsewhere, including the only uncontrolled footage of the Gulf War in 1991 while disguised for two months as a British Army officer. Vaughan was a founding Trustee of the Rory Peck Trust. His home was refuge to Julian Assange for 13 months in 2011/12. In 2011 Vaughan won a Bayeux award for his film on US Medivac shown on Al Jazeera.
Sam Taylor is the editor of The Lady, England’s longest running women’s magazine. She started her journalism career on the London listings magazine City Limits, eventually becoming editor, before going on to hold several senior editorial roles at newspapers including The Independent, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
Her satirical column for The Oldie magazine, East of Islington, was made into a successful novel and she recently edited a book of non-fiction, Make Do and Send, about letters written during wartime rationing. She is currently writing a dramatized version of the life of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor on the American medical register who spent her final years living with a woman in Hastings. Sam also writes features and comment pieces.
Tim Marshall was a foreign correspondent and then Foreign Affairs Editor with Sky News for thirty years before leaving full time journalism to concentrate on writing and analysis. Originally from Leeds, Tim arrived at broadcasting from the road less travelled. Not a media studies or journalism graduate, in fact not a graduate at all, after a wholly unsuccessful career as a painter and decorator he worked his way through newsroom nightshifts, and unpaid stints as a researcher and runner before eventually securing himself a foothold on the first rung of the broadcasting career ladder.
Tim reported in the field from Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia during the Balkan wars of the 1990’s. He spent the majority of the 1999 Kosovo crisis in Belgrade, where he was one of the few western journalists who stayed on to report from one of the main targets of NATO bombing raids. Tim was in Kosovo to greet the NATO troops on the day they advanced into Pristina. In recent years he covered the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. He has written for many of the national newspapers including the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and the Sunday Times. His book ‘Prisoners of Geography’ is an international best seller. This was followed by ‘Worth Dying For. The Power and Politics of Flags’ and this year saw the release of ‘Divided; Why we are living in an Age of Walls’ which went straight into the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers.
Tim has been shot with bird pellet in Cairo, hit over the head with a plank of wood in London, bruised by the police in Tehran, arrested by Serbian intelligence, detained in Damascus, declared persona non grata in Croatia, bombed by the RAF in Belgrade and tear-gassed all over the world. However, he says none of this compares with the experience of going to see his beloved Leeds United away at Millwall FC in London.