Speakers 2018

Regina Marler was chosen by the Estate of Vanessa Bell to edit the artist’s letters for publication. Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell was followed by a well-received study of the Bloomsbury industry, Bloomsbury Pie: The Making of the Bloomsbury Boom and the anthology Queer Beats: How the Beats Turned America on to Sex. Marler currently contributes to The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. Her essays are included in The Cambridge Companion to Bloomsbury, Queer Bloomsbury, and the catalogue to Sarah Milroy’s Vanessa Bell exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, as well as the forthcoming Oxford Guide to Virginia Woolf. She lives in San Francisco.

Sarah Milroy is an art critic, writer, and curator based in Toronto, Canada. The former editor and publisher of Canadian Art magazine, she served as chief art critic of The Globe and Mail from 2001 to 2011. She has also written for The Walrus and Literary Review of Canada and has contributed to many scholarly publications on art. In 2014, Milroy curated From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia, at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, followed by Vanessa Bell in 2017 and David Milne: Modern Painting in 2018. Recently, Milroy has been appointed chief curator of McMichael Canadian Art Collection, near Toronto.

Virginia Nicholson lives in Sussex, UK and was educated at Cambridge University.  She is a social historian whose books include: Among The Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939; Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War; Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives During the Second World War; Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s. Her forthcoming book How Was It For You? Women, Love, Sex and Power in the 1960s will be published next year. She is the President of the Charleston Trust, former home of her grand-mother, the artist Vanessa Bell. She is also the author of Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Garden, written together with her father, Quentin Bell, art historian and author of the biography of his Aunt, Virginia Woolf.

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David Hare was recently described by the Washington Post as “the premiere political dramatist writing in English.” He has written over thirty stage plays which include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy’s View, The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, The Absence of War, The Judas Kiss, The Red Barn and I’m Not Running. For film and television, he has written over twenty-five screenplays including Licking Hitler, Wetherby, Damage, The Hours, The Reader and Denial.  His new play I’m Not Running opens at the National Theatre London this October. His film script, The White Crow, a biographical drama about Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, is in production.  In a millennial poll of the greatest plays of the 20th century, five of the top 100 were his.

Michael Farthing is Honorary Professor of Medicine and Honorary Consultant at UCL, UK. He was formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex and Principal of St George’s, University of London. His interests include medical history and the creative and performing arts. He has recently co-authored Leonardo da Vinci: Under the skin, with his brother Stephen Farthing RA, a new look at the anatomical drawings, and Finding India, a personal view of the nation and its evolution since independence; both are to be published in 2019.He is Chair of The Charleston Trust, The West Pier Trust, Brighton The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund.

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Chris Dickey is the Paris-based world news editor for The Daily Beast. He is also the author of seven books, including Our Man in Charleston: Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South, Securing the City: Inside America's Best Counterterror Force – the NYPD, and Summer of Deliverance. For over three decades with The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine, Dickey covered wars in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Original articles and essays by Dickey have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, Departures, and many other publications.

William Nicholson’s plays for television include Shadowlands and Life Story, both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award in their year. In 1988 he received the Royal Television Society’s Writer’s Award. His first play, an adaptation of Shadowlands for the stage went on to a Tony Award winning run on Broadway. He was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay of the film version. His film credits include: Grey Owl, Gladiator (as co-writer, for which he received a second Oscar nomination), Elizabeth: the Golden Age, Les Miserables, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Unbroken, and Everest. He has written and directed his own film, Firelight; and four further stage plays, Map of the Heart, Katherine Howard, The Retreat from Moscow  (which ran for five months on Broadway and received three Tony Award nominations), and Crash.    He has also written acclaimed novels for children and well received novels for adults.

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Margo Jefferson studied at Brandeis and Columbia Universities and is Professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts. She is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and was for years a theatre and book critic for Newsweek and the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in, among other publications, Vogue, New York magazine, The Guardian and the New Republic. She is the author of On Michael Jackson and Negroland, based on her upbringing amongst Chicago’s black elite, which was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Memoir and was serialised on the BBC.

Marva Smalls is the Executive Vice President, Global Head of Inclusion Strategy for Viacom and the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief of Staff for Nickelodeon. With more than three decades of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, Smalls is widely recognized as one of the most influential leaders in media.

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Madeline Miller is the author of The Song of Achilles, which won the UK Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 and was an instant New York Times bestseller, translated into twenty-five languages. Madeline holds an MA in Classics from Brown University, and she taught Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students for over a decade. She has also studied at the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought, and at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. Her essays have appeared in publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Lapham's Quarterly and NPR.org.  Her current book Circe is a powerful story of the mythological witch, inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. It has received universal praise as a feminist re-telling of the Greek classic. She lives outside Philadelphia.

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John Avlon is an American journalist and political commentator. He is a Senior Political Analyst at CNN and former editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast. Avlon has also been a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun and was chief speechwriter for former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Avlon is the author of several books, including Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, and Washington's Farewell: The Founding Father's Warning to Future Generations.

Elliot Ackerman is an American author. He studied literature and history at Tufts University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2003. He holds a master's degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. After serving four tours of duty in Afghanistan, Ackerman served on the board of the Afghan Scholars Initiative and as an advisor to the No Greater Sacrifice scholarship fund. Most recently, Ackerman served as a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Ecotone and others. His novels include Green on Blue, Dark at the Crossing, and the forthcoming Waiting for Eden.

Lynsey Addario is an American photojournalist who works for The New York Times, National Geographic, and Time Magazine. She began her professional photography career at the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina. She has freelanced in New York City for the Associated Press, where she worked for three years before moving to New Delhi, India, to cover South Asia for The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, and Houston Chronicle. In 2000, Addario traveled to Afghanistan to document life and oppression of women living under the Taliban. Addario has covered every major conflict and humanitarian crises of her generation, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, South Sudan, Somalia, and Congo.  She recently released a New York Times Best selling memoir, It's What I Do. Addario is the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship award.

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Ramie Targoff is professor of English, co-chair of Italian Studies, and the Jehuda Reinharz Director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis University, where she teaches Renaissance literature. She is the author of four books: Common Prayer (2001); John Donne, Body and Soul (2008); Posthumous Love: Eros and the Afterlife in Renaissance England (2014); and Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna  (2018). Her work has been awarded fellowships from the Simon Guggenheim Foundation; the American Academy in Rome; the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin; and the American Council of Learned Societies. Ms. Targoff lives in Cambridge, MA.

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Tina Brown is an award-winning writer and editor and the founder of the Women in the World summits. Between 1979 and 2001, she was the editor successively of Tatler, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Her 2007 biography of the Princess of Wales, The Diana Chronicles, was a bestseller. In 2008 she launched The Daily Beast. She founded Tina Brown Live Media in 2914 to expand Women in the World internationally. She published The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983-1992, an irreverent record of her eight years as Editor-in-Chief, in 2017.  She lives in New York City.

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Stephen Greenblatt is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of twelve books, including The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, which won the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, as well as the New York Times bestseller, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare and The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve. His most recent publication, Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power, follows his viral piece ‘Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election’ in the New York Times. He is General Editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature. 

Geoffrey Harpham is a senior fellow of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and former director of the National Humanities Centre. He is the author of nine books, including most recently The Humanities and the Dream of America and What Do You Think, Mr Ramirez?

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Charles Spencer was educated at Eton College and obtained his degree in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was a reporter on NBC’s Today show from 1986 until 1995, and is the author of six books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers Blenheim: Battle for Europe (shortlisted for History Book of the Year, National Book Awards) and Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I. His current book, To Catch A King, tells the story of how the most wanted man in the country, the future Charles 11, outwitted the greatest manhunt in British history.

Bernard Cornwell is the author of over 50 novels published in 30 countries in 28 languages and has sold over 20 million books worldwide. His highly popular Last Kingdom book series, based on the Saxons and the Danes in the 9th and 10th century Britain, features the enigmatic warrior Uhtred Ragnarson. Two of his novels have been made into television hits in the United States and the UK. Cornwell was born in London. He and his American wife divide their time between Cape Cod and Charleston, SC.

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Deborah Lipstadt is an American historian best known as the author of the books Denying the Holocaust (1993), History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (2005) - on which the film Denial is based - and The Eichmann Trial (2011). She is currently the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at the Emory University in Georgia. She was a consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 1994 she was appointed by Bill Clinton to the United States Holocaust Memorial council, serving two terms.

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Judge Richard Gergel is a United States District Judge in the United States District Court of South Carolina. Widely regarded for his sharp legal reasoning, Judge Richard Mark Gergel has decided some of the Lowcountry’s most contentious lawsuits and sentenced some of its most notorious criminals, including Dylann Roof. Having a long-standing interest in the history of his native state, especially its legal milestones, he has written a book and numerous chapters on South Carolina history.  His book about Judge Waties Waring is expected to come out this fall.  A native of Columbia, SC he attended New College, Oxford University and Duke University, where he graduated in 1975 summa cum laude and served on the editorial Board of the Duke Law Journal.  After more than 30 years practicing law, Gergel was confirmed as United States District Judge by unanimous vote of the US Senate in 2010.  

William C. Hubbard is an American lawyer and a partner at the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, based in Columbia, South Carolina. He served as President of the American Bar Association in 2014–15. Hubbard is chair of the board of directors of the World Justice Project, a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative to strengthen the rule of law worldwide.

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Bill Goldstein is the founding editor of the books site of The New York Times on the Web, reviews books and interviews authors for NBC's "Weekend Today in New York." He is also curator of public programs at Roosevelt House, the public policy institute of New York's Hunter College. Bill is the author of The World Broke in Two which sheds light on the intertwined lives of Woolf, Eliot, Forster and Lawrence and their extraordinary literary achievements in 1922, which he regards as the birth year of Modernism.  He lives in New York.

Alexandra Harris studied English at Oxford, European art at the Courtauld Institute London, and then, after a period in the drawings department at Christie’s, wrote her doctoral thesis at Oxford on modernism and tradition in the 1930s and 40s. She began her academic career as a lecturer at the University of Liverpool in 2007 and was promoted to a personal chair in 2015. Since 2017, she has taken up a Professorial Fellowship in English at the University of Birmingham.  She is the author of Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination and Weatherland: Writers and Artists Under English Skies. She has also written A Short History of the Life and Work of Virginia Woolf and Modernism on Sea: Art and Culture at the British Seaside.  

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