Speakers

An unrivalled line-up of speakers come together at HowTheLightGetsIn May 2021. From humanity-saving spearheaders, to pioneering, mystery-uncovering and million-dollar-prize-winning scientists, to internationally esteemed politicians and journalists, they are at the top of their fields.

Our exceptional speakers will grapple with the defining questions of our times. From Alive in the Universe, to The Madness of Therapy, to Fantasy and Reality and many, many, more this festival will be one to remember.

Explore our Debates Explore our Hat Sessions Book Now

Awarded a Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking research, Duflo focuses on microeconomic issues in poverty-stricken countries.

Speaking in: In Conversation

Žižek breathes new life into Marxism, Hegel, psychoanalysis, philosophy, politics, film and culture. A philosopher not to miss.

A former Muslim who became an atheist, Ali has since been an unflinching advocate for women's rights, and a powerful critic of misogyny in the Middle East.

Speaking in: Arc of Life

Now a best-selling author, Bregman made headlines for calling out the super-rich for tax avoidance at the Davos Forum.

Now a household name through his best-selling books and frequent TV appearances, Greene is  renowned for his groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory

A frequent collaborator with Žižek, Fiennes' films have covered everything from French Ballet to the ecentric model Grace Jones. 

Speaking in: Fantasy and Reality

FEATURING A HOST OF THE WORLD'S LEADING THINKERS

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Susie Orbach

Beloved psychotherapist

Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Revolutionary astrophysicist
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Lowkey

Rapper and activist

Jesse Norman

UK Cabinet Minister
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Grace Blakeley

Marxist Economist
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Kate Bryan

Art historian
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Julian Baggini

Philosopher and author

Patricia Churchland

Founder of Neurophilosophy

Bret Weinstein

Professor in exile
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Laura Mersini-Houghton

World-leading cosmologist

Rupert Sheldrake

Biologist and author
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Susan Schneider

Mind & AI Expert

Tim Harford

Undercover economist
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Aviva Chomsky

Historian and activist

Linda Yueh

Economist and broadcaster
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Maria Balaska

Philosopher and writer
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Bhaskar Sunkara

Founding editor and publisher of Jacobin

Dallas Campbell

Science presenter

Güneş Taylor

Crick Institute Geneticist

Simon Baron-Cohen

Experimental psychologist
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Reza Negarestani

Philosopher and writer
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Claire Fox

Journalist and politician

Kenneth Cukier

Economist editor

Betty Sue Flowers

Ancient myths expert
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Havi Carel

Professor of Philosophy

Toby Ord

Moral philosopher
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Ece Temelkuran

Award-winning journalist and author
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Nick Lane

Evolutionary biochemist

Vince Cable

Former Lib Dem leader
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Sara Walker

Theoretical physicist
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Fotini Markopoulou

CEO and co-founder at Empathic Technologies
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Jamie Blackett

Farmer & Politician

Lisa Feldman Barrett

Top cited scientist
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Peter Sjöstedt-H

The Psychedelic Nietzsche
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Martin Seligman

Hugely Influential American Psychologist

Paul Davies

Astrobiologist and writer
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Deirdre McCloskey

“The most capable defender of liberalism”

Avi Loeb

Harvard physicist

Mary Ann Sieghart

Journalist and presenter
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Melanie Challenger

Writer, poet and podcaster

Amanda Gefter

Science writer
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Bim Afolami

Conservative MP
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Peter Tatchell

Leading Human Rights Activist
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Tara Shears

CERN Physicist
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Craig Callender

Philosopher of time
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Wes Alwan

Philosopher and podcast host
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Joanna Kavenna

Multi-Award-Winning Writer
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Kay Peggs

Sociologist and Animal Welfare Advocate
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Alison Milbank

Anglican Priest and Professor of Theology
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Rana Mitter

Oxford China expert

Terence Kealey

Libertarian biochemist
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Ray Brassier

Nihilist philosopher
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Virgilio Viana

Brazilian environmentalist and scientist
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Georgina Adam

Journalist and art market expert
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Ray Tallis

'One of the world's greatest living polymaths'
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Catherine Heymans

Astronomer Royal for Scotland
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Kenneth Rogoff

American economist and chess Grandmaster.
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Mandy Seligman

Award-Winning Photographer
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Anna Lembke

Top psychiatric experts on addiction
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Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

Leading Scholar of American Intellectual History
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Shreepali Patel

Director of the StoryLab Research Institute
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Ella Whelan

Spiked journalist
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Chris Hurst

Global CEO, Havas Creative
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Anders Sandberg

Esteemed transhumanist
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Janne Teller

Celebrated novelist
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Noël Carroll

Distinguished Philosophy Professor
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Mary-Jane Rubenstein

Scholar of religion and philosophy