Science, war and politics feature at third Cliveden Literary Festival

A host of famous faces ensured audiences had a range of views and stories to hear at the Cliveden Literary Festival.

Professor Brian Cox, former head of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove and BBC journalist Emily Maitlis were among the packed list of highly-regarded speakers at last weekend’s event.

The sold out festival – held for the third time at Cliveden House – saw more than 1,000 visitors enjoy a programme of 21 talks over Saturday and Sunday.

Professor Cox said: “Events like Cliveden Literature Festival not only celebrate great literature, but actually they’re celebrating ideas. And ideas are the foundation of our civilisation.”

Natalie Livingstone, founder and chairwoman of the festival, said: “The third Cliveden Literary Festival featured stars from the spheres of astrophysics, politics, fiction, history, espionage, warfare, Hollywood, psychology and news generating multiple headlines and provoking vigorous debate, refreshing honesty and laughter.

“We thank our guests, speakers, sponsors and partners for making this our best festival yet.”

Sir Richard described Jacques Chirac, the former French president who died on Thursday, as a ‘rogue’.

Chief of the defence staff General Sir Nick Carter and American General David Petraeus discussed warfare and the post-9/11 world, while Conservative Rory Stewart MP talked about appealing to new demographics.

Emily Maitlis cautioned that the BBC could begin to look ‘massively out of touch with the real world’ as she discussed the fallout from the corporation’s initial verdict on Naga Munchetty’s comments about Donald Trump.

Luciana Berger, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Kathy Lette and Elif Shafak discussed feminist politics and a panel about the art of the novel, chaired by bestselling author Kate Mosse, included Ben Okri, Howard Jacobson, Ian McEwan and Leila Slimani.

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