Tickets for the Primrose Hill Lecture Series 2022 can be purchased in the shop, by clicking the image above, or by following the individual links below. You can purchase the speakers’ books combined with a ticket, or at the bottom of this page, in the shop, or by contacting us by e-mail or phone.
8th June – Charlotte Philby in conversation with Helen Fry – Espionage in Fact and Fiction
Charlotte Philby in conversation with Helen Fry on Espionage in Fact and Fiction
Journalist and novelist Charlotte Philby has worked for the Independent, Guardian and Sunday Times, and presented documentaries for the BBC World Service. She is the granddaughter of Kim Philby, Britain’s most infamous communist double-agent and member of the notorious Cambridge spy ring.
In her latest novel, Edith and Kim, she draws on secret intelligence files and Philby’s private archive letters to explore the often-overlooked role of female spies. In a tense and beautifully evocative narrative she tells the story of Edith Tudor-Hart, a Bauhaus trained photographer and communist spy, who introduced the young Kim Philby to his future Soviet handler, the German spy Arnold Deutsch, in June 1934 — on a bench in London’s Regents Park.
Helen Fry is a biographer and historian whose acclaimed books on intelligence and espionage include the recently published Spymaster, the dramatic story of Thomas Kendrick (1881–1972), the remarkable intelligence officer who under the guise of ‘British Passport Officer’ ran spy networks across Europe, facilitated the escape of Austrian Jews, and later went on to set up the ‘M Room’ — a listening operation which elicited information of the same significance and scope as Bletchley Park.
15th June – Thomas Harding in conversation with Yasmeen Akhtar – Our Colonial Legacy: The Case for Reparations
Thomas Harding is a bestselling writer whose award-winning works include Hanns and Rudolf and The House by the Lake.
Following the discovery that his mother’s family had made money from plantations worked by enslaved people he was prompted to further investigate this dark period of British colonial history. The result is his most recent book, White Debt, a vivid retelling of the uprising that took place on a sugar plantation in Demerara (now Guyana) in 1823, and was a key trigger in the abolition of slavery across the empire. It is also a call to unmask and reassess Britain’s often uncomfortable colonial history and to reconsider our shared cultural, political and moral responsibility for past events, and the need for reparation.
He will be discussing this with Yasmeen Akhtar who has a background in law, education and reconciliation. She is the CEO of inchange, a cutting-edge agency which focuses on identifying, interpreting and amending the ways in which deep rooted patterns of power are reflected within systems and organisations.
22nd June – Julia Samuel in conversation with Natasha Lunn – On Family and Love
Julia Samuel, MBE, is a leading psychotherapist whose widely-acclaimed previous books, This Too Shall Pass and Grief Works, were both Sunday Times bestsellers.
In Every Family Has a Story: How We Inherit Love and Loss she turns her focus from the individual to the family group and asks what it is about family relationships that drives us mad, and what enables some families to thrive in adversity while others flounder. Using eight case studies, she explores a range of common issues and offers universally applicable insights into how families can learn to communicate more effectively and face challenges together.
She will be talking to Natasha Lunn, author of Conversations on Love, an absorbing and insightful series of interviews with writers and therapists which explores love in all its forms from romantic, sibling and parental love to love of colleagues, friends and extended family.
29th June – David Hendy in conversation with Simon Shaps – The BBC: Past, Present, and Future?
David Hendy is a writer, broadcaster and Emeritus professor of Media and Cultural History at the University of Sussex.
In his latest work The BBC: A People’s History, published to mark its centenary, he tells the dramatic story of the people who built and developed the BBC, and traces the evolution of a global broadcasting company against the background of the enormous transformation of British society over the past century.
The result is a fascinating account of its maverick beginnings, the wartime years, the creation of television, changing public taste, austerity and the huge challenges posed by competing television channels, the internet and streaming services. Above all, it is a lively popular history of a much loved and admired institution, full of characters, stories and incident.
Simon Shaps is the former CEO of ITV’s global production business and was ITV’s Director of Television from 2005-2008. He currently consults for a number of independent production companies and advises on book to screen film and television adaptations.
6th July – Joel Hopkins – Exploring the Journey from Script to Screen
Joel Hopkins is a BAFTA awarded film director and screenwriter, whose films include Last Chance Harvey (Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson), The Love Punch (Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson) and Hampstead (Diane Keaton, Brendon Gleeson).
His unusual status as both writer and director of his own films gives him a unique perspective on the ongoing creation of character and story, and how the page and screen continually inform each other. In this talk he will be sharing clips of both his written screenplays and his final scenes, explaining where and when changes happen, and the importance of grasping the magic of ‘happy accidents’.
13th July – Rev. Richard Coles in conversation with Sioned William – Murder Before Evensong
Rev. Richard Coles is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live and the only vicar in Britain to have had a No.1 hit single and appeared on Strictly Come Dancing! He read Theology at King’s College London and lives in his parish of Finedon, Northamptonshire.
After two volumes of memoir and non-fiction he has now written his first novel, a murder mystery set in the fictional parish of Champton. It features Canon Daniel Clement whose quiet life is suddenly disrupted when a notable patron is found dead at the back of the church, stabbed in the neck with a pair of secateurs. Together with his formidable mother Audrey and their two dachshunds, Daniel must suddenly turn detective.
Sioned Wiliam is a comedy producer and executive. Formerly a controller of comedy for ITV, she is currently the commissioning editor of comedy for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra.