5 speakers 15 minutes each
Thu 7th Nov 2019
In aid of the Hands Up Foundation
Paul Conroy is a British freelance photographer and filmmaker who works in the British media. A former soldier with the Royal Artillery between 1980 and 1987, he has since worked extensively as a journalist in combat zones, producing footage from conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East and Libya. In 2011 he was shortlisted for the PRX Bayeux TV report along with Marie Colvin, the war correspondent with The Sunday Times. On 22 February 2012 during the Syrian uprising, Conroy was injured while covering events from the Syrian city of Homs, a stronghold of Syrian opposition forces, after the building where he and other journalists were based was shelled by Syrian government forces. Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed in the attack, while Conroy was injured along with another journalist, French reporter Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro.
George Butler is an award winning artist and illustrator specialising in travel and current affairs. His drawings, done in situ are in pen, ink and watercolour. In August 2012 George walked from Turkey across the border into Syria, where as guest of the rebel Free Syrian Army he drew the civil war damaged, small and empty town of Azaz. Over the last ten years his desire to record scenes in ink rather than with a camera has meant he has witnessed some extraordinary moments; refugee camps in Bekaa Valley, in the oil fields in Azerbaijan, in Gaza with Oxfam, in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, in a neo-Nazi murder trial in Munich, on an oil rig in the north sea, down a Ghanian gold mine... the list goes on. His drawings have been published by The Times (London), Monocle, New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, CNN, Der Spiegel, ARD television Germany, NPR. His work has been shown in the Imperial War Museum North and the V&A Museum which also holds some of his work in the National Archive. In 2014, with three friends, George set up the Hands Up Foundation. The aim was to remind the people they had met in Syria that they had not been forgotten. The Hands Up Foundation supports salaries of professionals inside Syria and has to date raised £3.5million.
Rosie Boycott is a writer and broadcaster whose career has spanned the national media. She co-founded the feminism magazine Spare Rib in 1971, and went on to become the UK's first female editor of a British daily newspaper, the Independent on Sunday. She has also edited Esquire, The Independent, and The Express. She has appeared regularly on The Late Review (BBC2) and The Moral Maze (BBC Radio 4), and written several books, including A Nice Girl Like Me and Our Farm: A Year in the Life of a Smallholding. Rosie was appointed Chair of London Food by the Mayor to help improve Londoners’ access to healthy, locally produced and affordable food. She writes and speaks regularly about the importance of food in improving health and in reducing carbon emissions.
David Nott is a Welsh consultant surgeon, specializing in general and vascular surgery. He works mainly in London hospitals, but for more than twenty-five years he has also volunteered to work in disaster and war zones. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2012 Birthday Honours and in 2016 he received the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award and the Pride of Britain Award. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters. War Doctor is his first book.
Michael Morpurgo is one of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers. He was appointed Children’s Laureate in May 2003, a post he helped to set up with his friend Ted Hughes in 1999. He was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007. He has written over 130 books with world sales over over 34 million copies, including Kensuke’s Kingdom which won the Children’s Book Award 2000 and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and the Carnegie Medal in 2000. Many of Michael’s books have been adapted for the stage. These include Private Peaceful, Kensuke’s Kingdom, I Believe in Unicorns and The Mozart Question, and most notably, the National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of War Horse. The film of War Horse by Steven Spielberg was released in January 2012. In 1976, Michael and his wife, Clare started the charity Farms for City Children. They help to run three farms around the country, in Gloucestershire, Pembrokeshire and North Devon. Each farm offers children and teachers from urban primary schools the chance to live and work in the countryside for a week, and gain hands-on experience. The charity celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. www.farmsforcitychildren.co.uk Michael travels all over the UK and abroad talking to children and telling his stories and encouraging them to tell theirs. Michael has written about the suffering of war from the Somme to Syria as "the same madness.” His latest book is Boy Giant: Son of Gulliver.