We are pleased to announce the details of this year’s Primrose Hill Lecture series, which will take place online this autumn. The Primrose Hill Lecture Series has been running for almost 20 years, and in that time a truly world-class range of speakers have been hosted at St Mary’s Church, helping to finance valuable charity work all year round.

Primrose Hill is one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in London — and yet nearly 40% of children in the borough of Camden are growing up in poverty, while the homelessness rate is the second-highest in London.

Money raised from donations, tickets, and book sales goes towards the community and youth projects run by St Mary’s, and in these extraordinarily challenging times, the need for this vital work is greater than ever. Your continued support is greatly appreciated. Tickets for all this year’s lectures are now available: read on for the details of each event, or follow the link below to go directly to Eventbrite for your tickets.

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‘How Well Are We Coping With Change and Uncertainty?’

Deftly drawing on countless hours of conversations with their patients, and the latest social and psychological research, psychotherapist and author Julia Samuel will discuss these timely issues with psychoanalyst and writer Stephen Grosz. Join them for an illuminating insight into the way our brains process and respond to change, grief, and uncertainty — and learn how best to approach these challenges as they arise and confront us in our own lives.

Praise for Julia Samuel’s This Too Shall Pass:

‘A bracing, brilliant exploration of how we can adapt and thrive during our most difficult times … Samuel dispenses much wisdom and empathy about the hard times we experience … to help us better navigate the changes we will all face sooner or later’ — The Bookseller

‘Full of compassionate wisdom’ — The Sunday Times

‘A wonderfully important and transforming book — lucid, consoling, and wise’ —

Praise for Stephen Grosz’s The Examined Life:

‘A combination of Chekhov and Oliver Sacks’ — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

‘If his writing is a measure of the humanity, compassion, and intelligence he provides in his consulting room then his patients are a fortunate lot … a rare mental health professional who can write like a storyteller — with simplicity, pathos, and suspense’ — Dr Lloyd Sederer, Psychology Today

Julia Samuel MBE is a psychotherapist and author. Her first counselling job was as a volunteer for Westminster Bereavement Service. She has subsequently worked in private practice and with the NHS, and in 1994 she became Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK. Her acclaimed first book, Grief Works, tackles the topics of death and bereavement with clarity and compassion. Her recently published second book, This Too Shall Pass: Stories of Change, Crisis and Hopeful Beginnings, draws on her long experience of talking to patients to explore how we can learn to cope with and adapt to life’s most challenging milestones: from failing relationships and losing jobs, to parenthood and retirement.

Stephen Grosz is a practicing psychoanalyst. Born in Indiana, educated at the University of California, Berkeley and at Oxford, he lives and works in London. Alongside teaching at University College London and The Institute of Psychoanalysis, he has written for the Financial Times, Granta, and Weekend Magazine. In his book The Examined Life: How we lose and find ourselves, he distills over 50,000 hours of clinical work into a series of absorbing, jargon-free stories. Translated into more than thirty languages, adapted for radio and stage, it became an international best seller and a New York Times Book of the Year.

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‘Why the Arts Matter More Than Ever’

Covid-19 poses a grave threat to the future of The Arts in the United Kingdom and beyond, with shuttered theatres and cancelled concerts up and down the country. Even the Last Night of the Proms looks set to take place in an empty Royal Albert Hall. Without a government funding package, it is estimated that 70% of performing arts companies will face bankruptcy by Christmas. Amidst this backdrop of uncertainty, Nicholas Hytner and Andrew Marr will discuss this latest, grave challenge to the Arts — and what can be done about it.

Praise for Nick Hytner’s Balancing Acts:

‘Witty, waspish and extraordinarily wise, it comes as no surprise to discover that Nick Hytner is every bit as good a writer as he is a director. Part fascinating memoir, part brilliant guidebook…this wonderful book is essential reading’ — Sam Mendes

‘[A] riveting account of his time at the National Theatre … I’ve never had so much fun as working with Nicholas Hytner. This lovely book explains why’ – Alan Bennett

‘Revelatory…a vital reminder both of what the theatre can do – and what is at stake if we take it for granted’ — Sarah Crompton, What’s On Stage

Sir Nicholas Hytner is a theatre director, film director, and producer, with notable credits including The History Boys, Miss Saigon, and One Man, Two Guvnors. He was Artistic Director of the National Theatre from 2003 to 2015. In 2017, he co-founded The Bridge Theatre with Nick Starr: the largest wholly new theatre in London for 80 years. His book Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre was published in 2017.

Andrew Marr is a journalist and presenter. He was editor of The Independent, and subsequently political editor of BBC News between 2000 and 2005. He now presents BBC One’s flagship Sunday News Program, The Andrew Marr Show. His new book Elizabethans: How Modern Britain Was Forged, published on October 3rd, explores the dramatic and fascinating social, political, and economic transformation of British Society over the last 60 years.

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‘The Inspiration and Impact of Sport’

Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian and current chair of UK Sport explores the past, future, and present of sport with historian, curator, and former Chair of the National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Nairne.

Praise for Katherine Grainger: The Autobiography:

‘The book is a testament to friendship’ The Observer

‘A beautifully crafted tale of a singular woman… an important and long overdue book… its pages are rich with emotion; passion, anger and determination ooze out of the text’ Rowing & Regatta Magazine

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian. After winning silver medals at Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, she won gold in the double sculls, setting a new Olympic record in the process. The four-times World Champion then became Chair of UK Sport. Her autobiography chronicles her inspirational return from retirement to win silver again at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Sandy Nairne CBE is a historian and curator, and was director of the National Portrait Gallery from 2002 until 2015. He rowed at Oxford University in the 1970s. His 2011 book Art, Theft, and the Case of the Stolen Turners recounts the thrilling inside story of eight years of secret negotiations for the return of two Turner paintings stolen in Germany in 1994, and put back on display at the Tate Britain in 2003.

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‘The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment’

The Windrush scandal saw thousands of law-abiding people who had lived in Britain for decades classified as illegal immigrants and threatened with deportation. The scandal shocked the nation and led to the resignation of Home Secretary, Amber Rudd.

Praise for Amelia Gentleman’s The Windrush Betrayal:

‘[Gentleman’s] reporting proves why an independent press is so vital’ — Reni Eddo-Lodge

‘A timely reminder of what truly great journalists can achieve’ — David Olusoga

‘It is impossible to overstate the importance of this heart-breaking book’ — James O’Brien

Praise for Mishal Husain’s The Skills: How to Win at Work:

‘I wish I’d been able to read this book when I was 20. Mind you, it’s never too late’ — Clare Balding

‘This book is a must-read for anyone (woman or man) who aspires to reach the top of their game’ —Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

Amelia Gentleman is a journalist and author. Her tenacious researching and reporting for The Guardian on the Windrush Scandal revealed deep flaws in the government’s immigration policy and won her the Paul Foot Award in 2018. She was also named Journalist of the Year in the British Journalism Awards 2018. Her book, The Windrush Betrayal, illustrates the devastating effects of politicians becoming so distanced from ordinary people that they fail to recognise the impact of policy decisions.

Mishal Husain is a journalist and news presenter. She was Washington Correspondent for the BBC during the Iraq War, and is now the main presenter for the Sunday BBC News at 10 and BBC Weekend News, and for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Her book The Skills: How to Win at Work was published in 2018.

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‘Better and Smarter? The Ethics of Human Brain Design’

Smarter? Happier? Younger? The development of ‘smart drugs’ and personalised medicine promises a revolution in the we treat our brains — but is there a potential dark side to this technological advancement?

Dr Ilina Singh is Professor of Neuroscience and Society at the University of Oxford, and co-director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Ethics and the Humanities. Her research focuses on the ethical and psychosocial implications of advances in neuroscience and biomedicine, in particular for young people. Recent projects include major studies on ADHD diagnoses and the use of drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall among young people.

Libby Weiner has been a journalist for over 30 years. She is currently a political correspondent at ITV News, having previously worked as Home Affairs, Europe, Australia, and Royal Correspondent.