Our Authors

One of the key features of the 2019 festival is the bookstore hosted by independent shop, South Kensington Books. Many of our speakers are celebrated authors, and guests will have the opportunity to pick up their publications and get it signed on the same day! Here is a list of the authors who will be at the festival signing their work.

Baroness Ruth Lister

Signing time - 13:40

Ruth is a member of the House of Lords, sitting as a member of the Labour Party, and is currently Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University. She was director of the Child Poverty Action Group from 1979 until 1987 and has been on the Commission for Social Justice, the Commission Poverty, Participation and Power, the Fabian Commission on Life Chances and Child Poverty and the National Equality Panel. Her book Poverty introduces readers to the meaning and experience of poverty, one of the most urgent issues of our time, in the contemporary world, discussing current debates around its definition and measurement before embarking on a thought-provoking and multi-faceted exploration of its conceptualisation.

Rory Stewart

Signing time - 11:20


Rory is a Conservative Party politician and the MP for Penrith and The Border and Secretary of State for International Development, having previously served in several other ministerial roles, including Minister of State for Prisons, Africa and International Development, and as a diplomat. His book The Places In Between gives a moving account of his walk across Afghanistan in January 2002 on which he was nearly defeated by the extreme conditions but survived to report back on with unique insight on the war-torn region. Occupational Hazards is his inside account of his time governing in Iraq, confronting gangsters, Iranian-linked politicians, tribal vendettas and a full Islamist insurgency. In The Marches, he muses on history, memory and landscape on the 600-mile, 30-day journey traversing ‘the Marches’, the borderlands between England and Scotland, with his father.

Tom Kibasi

Signing time - 15:40

Tom is director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a leading left-wing progressive think tank which publishes reports each year making recommendations on topics including economic policy, energy, transport, climate change, families, work, health, migration, integration, communities, democracy, devolution and public services. He is also chair of their Commission on Economic Justice, whose report Prosperity and Justice: A Plan for the New Economy analyses the challenges facing the UK’s ‘broken’ economy, explaining how its deep weaknesses reflect profound imbalances of economic power. It sets out a bold vision for change, with a radical policy agenda for 2020 including new missions to drive productivity and innovation, an overhaul of our financial system and reforms to improve wages, job quality and the redistribution of wealth.

Charles Clarke

Signing time - 16:40

Charles is a Labour Party politician, who was the MP for Norwich South from 1997 until 2010, and served as Home Secretary from December 2004 until May 2006. He introduced the idea of the “too difficult box”, an explanation as to why politicians often opt out of taking action to resolve many serious political issues, discussed in his book The “Too Difficult” Box: The Big Issues Politicians Can’t Crack with each chapter covering a specific political issue considered to be in the “too difficult box”. He has also written The British Leaders series, with a book on British Conservative, Labour and Liberal leaders, considering the attributes and achievements of each party leader in the context of their respective political landscape.

Dr. Maha Aziz

Signing time - 16:40


Maha specialises in political risk and prediction across varied industries and disciplines. She is a professor, author and cartoonist in the MA International Relations Program at NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, specialising in global risk and prediction, and is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at LSE. She previously served as chairwoman of a small team that co-launched the New Silk Road Generation, the first e-mentoring program for university students in Afghanistan. Her book, Future World Order, on global risk predicts the world will be defined by a unique global legitimacy crisis in the coming years, which she argues has been worsened by technology, yet offers hope that it can be creatively leveraged to be part of the solution.

Darren Henley

Signing time - 17:50


Darren is the chief executive of Arts Council England and previously led Classic FM for 15 years as managing editor and then as managing director. He was appointed an OBE for services to music and has received the British Academy President’s Medal for his contributions to music education, music research and the arts. His book Creativity: Why It Matters argues the importance of creativity for everyone, not as the sole preserve of arts-based subjects but at the heart of medical, scientific, engineering and entrepreneurial progress too. He argues that creativity should be at the heart of the education system as the best route to ensure cultural benefits are open to all so that the next generation will have the skills necessary to invent tomorrow.

Guy Opperman

Signing time - 11.20

Guy is a Conservative Party politician and the MP for Hexham, having previously been a barrister, predominantly at the criminal bar where he did many years of pro bono work, providing free legal assistance in hundreds of cases on behalf of Victim Support and Citizens Advice Bureau. He is also a great supporter of the NHS, which he credits with saving his life after suffering from a brain tumour and his mother’s from cancer, having raised almost £10,000 for charity. Arguing that the tackling of crime and reoffending should be a number one priority, he has written a book, Doing Time: Prisons in the 21st Century, in which he analyses the weaknesses of past prison regimes, assesses how things are changing and makes recommendations for future changes.

Damian Collins

Signing time - 17:50


Damian is a Conservative Party politician and the MP for Folkestone and Hythe. He is also the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. He is the author of Charmed Life: The Phenomenal World of Philip Sasson, the story of a fascinating man who was himself elected as MP for Hythe in 1912. A famed aesthete, politician and patron of the arts and a wealthy socialite, he connected the great politicians, artists and thinkers at the height of British global power and influence. He worked at the right hand of Douglas Haig during the First World War and then for David Lloyd George for the settlement of the peace, and he gave parties attended by the likes of Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Lawrence of Arabia.

Ella Robertson

Signing time - 11.20

Ella is the chairman of Conservative Young Woman and managing director of One Young World, the global forum for young leaders that identifies, promotes and connects the world’s most impactful young leaders to create a better world, with more responsible and effective leadership. At the annual One Young World Summit, talented delegates from over 190 countries are counselled by influential political, business and humanitarian leaders, such as Justin Trudeau, Paul Polman and Meghan Markle, in leadership. Her book, How to Make a Difference: The Definitive Guide from the World’s Most Effective Activists, is a roadmap to modern day activism created by the brilliant minds behind the world’s biggest campaigns, including Emma Watson, Sir Bob Geldof, Matt Damon and Black Lives Matter.

George Freeman

Signing time - 15.40

George is a Conservative Party politician, the MP for Mid Norfolk and Minister of State for Transport, Technology and Innovation, having previously been Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Life Sciences. His book, Britain Beyond Brexit: A New Conservative Vision, is a landmark collection of essays in which a new generation of Tory MPs from all sides of the party - Leave and Remain, left and right, North and South, urban and rural - set out a bold vision for the future. It explores the unprecedented challenge facing the Conservatives of renewing themselves in the face of rising populism and deep mistrust in politics, which has been turned inside out by Brexit.

Gavin Esler

Signing time - 14.40 (Lunchtime)

Gavin is a journalist, television presenter and author. He was the main presenter on Newsnight, a presenter across the BBC of BBC News at Five, BBC World News, Dateline London, The Film Review and Talking Books, and of Radio 4‘s factual series Four Corners. He also wrote regular columns for The Scotsman and The Independent and is the author of five novels and two-non fiction books, including Brexit Without the Bullshit: The Facts on Food, Jobs, Schools and the NHS, which discusses some of the potential consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU for food and diet, health and the NHS, jobs and industry, education and travel to Europe. It is not about the Brexit promised but the Brexit that is arriving.

Vernon Bogdanar

Signing time - 14.40 (Lunchtime)

Vernon is Research Professor at the Institute for Contemporary British History at King’s College London and Professor of Politics at the New College of the Humanities. He is also Emeritus Professor of Politics and Government at The University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. He is one of Britain’s foremost constitutional experts and has written extensively on political and constitutional issues, including The New British Constitution which describes and analyses Britain’s new constitution, asking why the old system came under challenge and why it is being replaced, showing how the constitution can be reformed and the political system opened up, comparing the two. His latest book,
Beyond Brexit: Towards a British Constitution, explores the ever-changing relationship between Britain and the EU, the constitutional consequences of Britain’s EU membership and the impact of Brexit on the constitution, raising the question of how the UK is to be preserved.

Kate Clanchy

Signing time - 12.30

Kate is an award-winning poet, novelist, non-fiction writer and teacher. In her book, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, she looks back over her 30-year career as a teacher, from sex education for 13-year-olds to working in the ‘Inclusion Unit’ with kids excluded from regular lessons to her multicultural poetry group full of migrants and refugees. She wants to change the world and believes school is the place to do it, celebrating teaching, this most creative, passionate and practically useful of jobs when it is all too often demeaned, diminished and drastically under-resourced.

Julia Hobsbawm

Signing time - 16.40


Julia is a writer and speaker on Social Health and modern connectedness, founding the content and connection business Editorial Intelligence in 2005. She is Editor-at-Large for the well-being portal THRIVE Global, a columnist for Strategy + Business Magazine, and presenter of the podcast The Human and Machine. She has presented for BBC Radio 4 and has given keynote speeches to audiences including the OECD and the European Commission as a leading commentator on modern connectedness and its discontents, the future of work, technology and digital distraction, and how we cope in an Age of Overload. In her book Fully Connected: Social Health in an Age of Overload, she takes us on a journey ‘from Telex to Twitter’ to illustrate how the answer to the Age of Overload, following the arrival of the internet, is a new blueprint for modern connectedness, drawing on the latest thinking in health and behavioural economics, social psychology, neuroscience, management and social network analysis.

Jon Lawrence

Signing time - 12.30

Charles Seaford

Signing time - 13.40

Charles is a Senior Fellow at Demos, the centre-left think tank, leading the Power and Institutions programme, the Director of An Economy that Works, an alliance of business promoting policies to advance sustainability, social justice and wellbeing, and a consultant to the World Future Council. In his book Why Capitalists Need Communists: The Politics of Flourishing, based on interviews with over 50 business people, politicians, analysts and activists, he demonstrates that radical, progressive change is perfectly possible and that the polarisation and nostalgia afflicting us is not inevitable. He argues that tackling the huge challenges facing Britain - inequality, public services under constant pressure, climate change and, in the long term, the impacts of automation and artificial intelligence - will take planning, redistribution, re-fashioned business and finance, and a new ideology that confirms that we really can create the conditions for more people to flourish.

Nimco Ali

Signing time - 13.40

Nimco is a British Somali feminist and social activist who is co-founder and CEO of The Five Foundation, the Global Partnership to end female genital mutilation (FGM). Her book What We’re Told Not to Talk About (But We’re Going to Anyway): Women’s Voices from East London to Ethiopia is an important, taboo-breaking book that gives voice to the experiences of women from all walks of life, whose stories might not ordinarily be heard. Alongside her own story of living with FGM, rebuilding her relationship with her own body and being a woman her own way, these are the true stories of real women who are sharing the experiences they've always been told should be secret and shameful.

Liam Halligan

Signing time - 15.40

Liam is an economist, journalist, author and broadcaster who writes his weekly ‘Economics Agenda’ column in the Sunday Times and presents Channel 4’s Dispatches. Drawing on years of experience at the cutting edge of economic, business and policy issues, plus extensive discussions with leading politicians and diplomats across the UK, Europe and the world, his book Clean Brexit is the ultimate guide to making a success of Brexit and a source of strength for voters elsewhere in Europe who have long demanded EU reform, but have been rebuffed. He presents Brexit as an opportunity to strike deals with the world’s fastest-growing economies, boosting British trade and job prospects, to thrive and spread wealth throughout the country, having been freed from the EU’s regulatory stranglehold, and to allow directly elected MPs to have the final say over our laws, borders, taxes and trade negotiations.

Dr Henry Marsh

Signing time - 15.40

Henry is a leading English neurosurgeon, specialising in operating on the brain under local anaesthetic and was the subject of the major BBC documentary Your Life in Their Hands. He is a pioneer or neurosurgical advances in Ukraine, with a particular interest in the influence of hospital buildings and design on patient outcomes and staff morale. In his widely acclaimed memoir, Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery, he reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets and the moments of black humour that characterise a brain surgeon’s life. In his second memoir Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery, he unearths memories of his early days as a medical student and the experiences that shaped him as a young surgeon, and moves between encounters with patients in his London hospital to those he treats in the more extreme circumstances of his work abroad, exploring the difficulties of a profession that deals in probabilities rather than certainties and where the overwhelming urge to prolong life can come at a tragic cost for patients and their loved ones.

Nicky Morgan

Signing time - 17.50

Nicky is a Conservative Party politician, the MP for Loughborough and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, having previously served as Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities. In her book, Taught not Caught: Educating for Character in the 21st Century, she reveals why she believes that building characterful children has a positive impact on academic attainment, having visited some of the schools that won Department for Education character awards. Their generosity enabled her to capture key examples and to bring character education to life to support her campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of ensuring that students gain both knowledge and character in their education, the greatest investment that we can make in the future of our country.