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Katherine Rundell, Jeremy Denk, Tania Branigan, Julie McDowall and Blake Morrison | 5×15


Tania Branigan is a Guardian foreign leader writer. Having spent seven years as the Guardian’s China correspondent, she has also written for the Washington Post and The Australian. Her first book, Red Memory: Living, Remembering and Forgetting China’s Culture Revolution, explores how the revolution has shaped China today, and uncovers forty years of silence through the rarely heard stories of individuals who lived through Mao’s decade of madness.

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists. Winner of a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellowship and the Avery Fisher Prize, Denk is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Denk returns frequently to Carnegie Hall and has appeared with renowned ensembles including the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. His recordings have received critical acclaim, including reaching No. 1 on the Billboard classical charts, and his writing has appeared in the New Yorker, New Republic, Guardian, and the New York Times Book Review. In Every Good Boy Does Fine, Denk passes on to his readers the lessons he has learned; honours the debt he owes to so many remarkable and different teachers; and reminds us that music is our creation, and that we need to keep asking questions about its purpose.

Julie McDowall is a freelance journalist and book critic specialising in the nuclear threat. Her writing has appeared in The Times, Economist, Spectator, Guardian, TLS, Prospect and Independent, and she is also the host of the Atomic Hobo podcast in which she reveals findings in the nuclear archives and reports on her travels to nuclear bunkers and other Cold War sites. Her book Attack Warning Red! How Britain Prepared for Nuclear War, is the first book to tell the story of day-to-day life on the nuclear home front. While today we may read about the Cold War and life in Britain under the shadow of the mushroom cloud with a sense of amusement and relief, Attack Warning Red! is also a timely and powerful reminder that, so long as nuclear weapons exist, the nuclear threat will always be with us.

Blake Morrison is a poet, novelist and journalist. His non-fiction books include And When Did You Last See Your Father? (1993), which won the J. R. Ackerley Prize and the Esquire/Volvo/Waterstone’s Non-Fiction Book Award, As If (1997), about the murder of the toddler James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993, and a memoir of his mother, Things My Mother Never Told Me (2002). His poetry includes the collections Dark Glasses (1984), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, and Shingle Street (2015). He is a regular literary critic for the Guardian. His new book, Two Sisters, is a heartbreaking memoir about his late sister and half-sister, along with sibling relationships in literature and those of literary figures.

Katherine Rundell is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her bestselling books for children have been translated into more than thirty languages and have won multiple awards. Rundell is also the author of a book for adults, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise. She has written for, among others, the London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books and The New York Times: mostly about books, though sometimes about night climbing, tightrope walking, and animals. Her book Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, an ‘unmissable’ biography of the Renaissance poet, won the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

5×15 brings together five outstanding individuals to tell of their lives, passions and inspirations. There are only two rules – no scripts and only 15 minutes each.

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