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Authors & Panels

This page will be updated regularly in the run-up to our full programme announcement in March; follow us on Twitter @UoWBookFestival to hear of the latest updates

Authors A-Z

Paula Byrne

Alex Danchev

Mike Dash

Ronan Fanning

Louise Foxcroft

Richard Holmes

Ben Macintyre

Nicholas Roe

Michael Scott



Bletchley Park

Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Learning from history

The Warwick Prize for Writing

The Warwick Review



Paula Byrne - The Real Jane Austen

The Real Jane AustenThe Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things is a new biography exploring the forces that shaped the interior life of Britain’s most beloved novelist. Using objects that conjure up key moments or themes in Austen’s life and work, Byrne builds up a picture of a writer who is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of ‘dear Aunt Jane’ would allow.

Paula Byrne is a bestselling biographer and Fellow of Oxford University's Harris Manchester College. Her books include Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead (2009) and Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson (2005), which was long-listed for the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize.


Alex Danchev - Cézanne: A Life


Cezanne: A LifeCézanne: A Life is the first comprehensive assessment of the revolutionary work and restless life of Paul Cézanne to be published in decades. One of the most influential painters of his time and beyond, Danchev's account shows how Cézanne was the exemplary artist-creator of the modern age who changed the way we see the world. Cézanne is not only the fascinating life of a visionary artist and extraordinary human being but also a searching assessment of his ongoing influence in the artistic imagination.

Alex Danchev is Professor of International Relations at the University of Nottingham. His publications include a biography of the military historian Basil Liddell Hart (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998) which was listed for the Whitbread Prize for Biography and the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.


Mike Dash - Writing History

The First FamilyIn a weekly history essay for the Smithsonian, Mike Dash writes "history with all the interesting bits left in", covering such diverse topics as the early history of faking war on film, the story of a 19th century London fishmonger who became a self-made millionaire, and the Caribbean salt trade. In this talk, Mike will reflect on different forms of writing history for popular audiences.

Mike Dash is the author of books including The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia (2009) and Satan's Circus: Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New York's Trial of the Century (2007), both of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for History.


Ronan Fanning - Fatal Path: British Government and the Irish Revolution 1910-1922

Fatal PathFatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 is a magisterial narrative of the most turbulent decade in Anglo-Irish history: a decade of unleashed passions that came close to destroying the parliamentary system and to causing civil war in the United Kingdom. It was also the decade of the cataclysmic Great War, of an officers' mutiny in an elite cavalry regiment of the British Army and of Irish armed rebellion. It was a time, argues Ronan Fanning, when violence and the threat of violence trumped democratic politics.

Ronan Fanning is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at University College Dublin. Among his books are the definitive history of the Irish Department of Finance and a biography of Eliza Lynch.


Louise Foxcroft - Calories and Corsets: A History of Dieting over 2000 Years

Calories and CorsetsCalories and Corsets tells the epic story of how we have tried - and failed - to battle the bulge, and how the fashions and fads of body shape have changed over time. Drawing on material from letters, medical journals and the dieting bestsellers we continue to devour, Foxcroft reveals the extreme and often absurd lengths people will go to in order to achieve the perfect body.

Louise Foxcroft writes about medical perceptions of the human body and the way these are related to present day human experience. Her publications include The Making of Addiction: the "use and abuse" of opium in nineteenth-century Britain (2007) and Hot Flushes, Cold Science: a history of the modern menopause (2009), and she writes regularly for publications including The Times, Independent, and New Scientist online.

Richard Holmes - Falling Upwards: How we took to the Air

Falling UpwardsFalling Upwards: How we took to the Air is a compelling adventure story following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, from the first heroic experiments of the Montgolfiers in 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways, is the subject of Holmes' account.

Professor Richard Holmes is an award-wining author best-known for his biographical studies of major figures of British and French Romanticism. His works include The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (2008), and Dr Johnson and Mr Savage (1993), which won the James Tait Black award, and Coleridge: Darker Reflections (1998).


Ben Macintyre - Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

Double Cross: the true story of the D-Day SpiesDouble Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies is the story of five key D-Day spies: a bisexual Peruvian playgirl, a tiny Polish fighter pilot, a Serbian seducer, a wildly imaginative Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming, and a hysterical Frenchwoman whose obsessive love for her pet dog very nearly wrecked the entire deception. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed for the first time in this widely acclaimed story.

Ben Macintyre is a columnist and Associate Editor on The Times. He is the author of nine books including Agent Zigzag (2007) shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Galaxy British Book Award for Biography of the Year 2008, and the number 1 bestseller Operation Mincemeat (2010).


Nicholas Roe - John Keats: A New Life

KeatsJohn Keats: A New Life is a landmark biography of the celebrated Romantic poet which explodes entrenched conceptions of him as a delicate, overly sensitive, tragic figure. Roe reveals the real flesh-and-blood poet: a passionate man driven by ambition but prey to doubt, suspicion, and jealousy; sure of his vocation while bitterly resentful of the obstacles that blighted his career; devoured by sexual desire and frustration; and in thrall to alcohol and opium.

Nicholas Roe is Professor of English Literature at the University of St Andrews and author of acclaimed biographies and critical studies including Fiery Heart: The First Life of Leigh Hunt (2005) and Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years (1988).


Michael Scott - Delphi

Michael Scott's new work brings together the historical and archaeological evidence for the oracle and sanctuary of Delphi over its 1000+ year life-span, presenting the very latest scholarship in order to understand how and why this small remote community became, and managed to remain, a crucial centre of the ancient Mediterranean world for so long.

Michael Scott is an Assistant Professor in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. His publications include From Democrats to Kings: the brutal dawn of a new world from the downfall of Athens to the rise of Alexander the Great (Icon 2009). Michael has written and presented a number of BBC programmes
including Guilty Pleasures: Luxury in the Ancient Greek and Medieval Worlds (BBC 4, 2011). He is currently working on new series for BBC 4 and BBC 2.



Panels will include

Bletchley Park


The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine


Michael Hulse will be joined by winners of the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine to present their poems and talk about the relationship between poetry and medicine.

Learning from History


Professor Alex Danchev, Dr Andrew Mumford and Louise Sullivan, from the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, will discuss why learning from history is important, and how historical learnings are identified, stored and utilised. The panellists will draw on their expertise in British overseas security, counter-insurgency warfare, and the politics of official inquiries.

The Warwick Prize for Writing


Chair of the 2013 Warwick Prize for Writing


The Warwick Review

In 2013 The Warwick Review celebrates its silver jubilee issue.