In 2023, in addition to our extraordinary Authors XI speakers, we are so looking forward to welcoming the following guest presenters
Jane Coyle is Welsh, lives in Northern Ireland, has had a base in France for over thirty years and is an award-winning writer, arts journalist and critic. A fluent French speaker, she studied at the Sorbonne and is a graduate of the University of Leicester. She began her professional career at Faber & Faber in London, where she worked in an editorial capacity on the novels of Lawrence Durrell and other distinguished writers. She has been a critic and feature writer for The Stage and The Irish Times and is a member of the judging panel for the UK Theatre Awards. She set up and ran the film & drama development unit for leading Irish independent Waddell Media and worked for the company in a freelance capacity for almost 20 years. As well has scripting countless television and radio programmes, Jane has written three feature-length screenplays, the monologue Farm Girl , a children’s radio drama and six stage plays - The Lantern Man, The Suitcase, Both Sides, Brexit: A Tragicomedy, And Then Again Begin (co-writer), After Melissa. She has co-written the libretto for an opera adaptation of The Suitcase (whose European stage premiere will take place in Vienna in February 2023), taught at Queen’s University Belfast and regularly takes workshops on review writing. She is a former vice-chair of the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, co-founder and former board member of Replay Productions, former board member of Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre and was, for nine years, chair of DU Dance (NI). She is co-founder and creative director of Powerstone Entertainment - www.powerstonefilms.com
Sarah Churchwell is Professor in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where she directs the Being Human Festival, the UK’s national festival of the humanities. She is the author of The Wrath to Come: Gone with the Wind and The Lies America Tells; Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby; Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream; and The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, most recently adapted into a 2022 CNN/BBC series narrated by Jessica Chastain. Her journalism has appeared widely in international newspapers and periodicals, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Financial Times, Guardian and many others, focusing especially upon American culture, history, and politics. She has also frequently contributed to television, documentary film, and radio, with appearances including Question Time, Newsnight, Sky News, BBC Breakfast and numerous appearances across all channels. She was co-winner of the 2015 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award, named by Prospect magazine one of the world’s Top Fifty Thinkers in 2020, and longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2021.
Bruce Clark worked as an international-news journalist for more than 40 years, with postings in Paris, Athens, Moscow and Washington DC. Born in Northern Ireland in 1958 and educated at Cambridge University, he has always had a strong interest in the ancient and modern history of Greece. His book Twice A Stranger - an account of the Lausanne Convention on Population Exchange and its consequences - won the Runciman Prize in 2007. In October 2021, he published Athens: City of Wisdom - a narrative history of the city from pre-historic times to the present day. Between 1982 and 1986 he was the first expatriate correspondent posted to Greece by Reuters. He later made many reporting trips to Greece for the Financial Times and The Economist. He has been an active participant in the environmental initiatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In September 2022 he was awarded the Golden Cross of the Order of Phoenix for services to Greek culture and history.
Danai Dragonea is an awarded author, journalist, and co-founder of Kathe Mia Istoria (Every Single Story), an NGO dedicated to women empowerment through storytelling. Writing has been her passion since childhood, while she loves writing about strong female characters and their adventures. She has given speeches on female identity and gender stereotypes and also conducts Creative Writing Workshops for children and teenagers. Her first book, The Island of Rain - A Secret Diary, published by A.A. Livani Publishing, received the IBBY Award for Best Newcomer YA Author in Greece, from the Greek section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). She was also honoured with the Teen Literature Award at the Public Book Awards. Writing stories for children and teenagers allows her not to forget what it feels like to face life believing that all possibilities still remain open and equally probable.
Peter Frankopan is Professor of Global History at Oxford University, Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research and UNESCO Professor of Silk Roads Studies at King’s College, Cambridge. His books include the Silk Roads: A New History of the World, The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World and most recently The Earth Transformed: An Untold History. All have been global bestsellers. Often referred to as a ‘rockstar historian’ (BBC, New Statesman, Der Spiegel), Peter has been called ‘the first great historian of the 21st century’ (DCM Magazine, Brazil).
Elena Giagoudi, MA and MSc archaeologist, has an MA in Greek prehistory from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki & MSc in digital archiving of archaeological documents from Ionian University of Corfu. She has participated in various excavations and other University research projects and has been working for the Greek Ministry of Culture for the last 18 years on various archaeological projects focusing on periods from prehistory to industrial in different areas of Greece such as Corfu, Sparta, Thesprotia and northern Greece. As a certified tourist guide, she has introduced, among other areas, Corfiot antiquities to various groups of people of varying background (from elementary school students to other researchers). Currently doing a separate degree in History at Ionian University of Corfu.
David Evan Giles is an Australian Academy Award- nominated screenwriter and has written, produced and directed feature films and festival-winning short films, starring Glenn Close, Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett and, for those mature enough to remember her luminous performances in The Draughtman’s Contract and Picnic At Hanging Rock, Anne Louise Lambert. He has written articles and short stories for publications in the UK and Australia. David is also a published poet and is honoured to participate in this wonderful festival in the company of such an array of talented and deeply knowledgeable speakers.
Melanie Hewitt After deciding she wanted to be a book illustrator, at 18, Melanie went to Art College. Halfway through the year, she changed her mind and secured a place at Swansea University to study English. After 18 months, she left, moved home and started looking for work as a nanny in London. A local job advert for a reporter changed her life and career. She took up the post at the Doncaster Advertiser, later became Editor and then worked in PR. She now works in education as Communications Lead for the XP Schools Trust based in Yorkshire and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. After a life long love of the Durrell family and their writing, her debut novel Looking for the Durrells was published by Harper Collins in August this year. Married with two grown up children and adoptive mother to the latest Hewitt family member, Ernie the kitten, Melanie is now working on her second book.
Julian Hoffman is a writer and naturalist, and is the author of Irreplaceable, The Small Heart of Things and Notes from Near and Far, his blog on the nature of place. Born in northeast England, he grew up in Ontario and moved with his wife in 2000 to a mountain village beside the Prespa Lakes in northwestern Greece, a trans-boundary Balkan park whose lake basin is shared with Albania and North Macedonia. Home to a remarkably rich range of people, birds, wild flowers, languages, mammals and habitats, including the world's largest colony of Dalmatian pelicans, Prespa is a place that has taught Julian a great deal about our complex yet indelible connections to landscape and the natural world. Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places, celebrates those imperilled places that are increasingly vanishing from the world, exploring treasured woodlands, prairies, marshlands, urban allotments and coral reefs, along with the many species under threat in them. Just as importantly though, it’s a book about resistance to loss and the countless stories of local communities and conservationists as they set about to protect and preserve what is not only of crucial importance to the fabric of human life but irreplaceable as well. Irreplaceable was a Royal Geographical Society Book of the Year and the Highly Commended Finalist for the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation.
Professor Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster, who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. Her speciality is ancient and mediaeval history and culture. A Scholar at Oxford University, she has taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and lectured at Cornell, Bristol, UCL, Maastricht, Utrecht, Manchester and Swansea. She is a Tutor for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education, a Research Fellow of King's College London and recently joined the New College of the Humanities as Professor of History. Bettany has long drawn attention to women’s position in society both past and present. She was named as one of the BBC’s 100 Global Woman, was asked to launch the UK’s Inspiring Women mentoring scheme and his written extensively on the subject for national and international publications. Bettany stands on the Women of the World Committee. Bettany co-founded SandStone Global, a TV, film and audio production company based in London dedicated to making ‘the best work, by the best people, for the best reasons’ and her engaging and hugely popular programmes can be seen on Channel 4, BBC World and Netflix.
Dr Simon Karythis is a Corfiot ecologist, who after spending his formative years on the island, moved to theUK where he studied Zoology as an undergrad, before working in related industries for nearly a decade. After spending three years working at a marine ecology research centre in Chile, where he developed a passion for understanding the complexities of ocean systems, he returned to the UK to complete his postgraduate studies. Attending Bangor University, he first completed a MSc in Marine Ecology with a focus on how species interact with each other and their environment, he then completed his PhD with a similar focus. His postdoctoral research focused on the impacts of non-native species on invaded environments and the potential for human structures to facilitate their negative impacts. He has a broad understanding of the mechanisms that underpin many ecological processes which informs his passion for the protection and conservation of the environment around Corfu and the