The State of Nations

Adam Gopnik, Gavin Esler

Chair: Anne McElvoy

01/03/2020 8:00 pm
Kings Place, Hall 1

Politics has undergone a sea change. The world is swinging to populism, and the idea of liberalism has become, to many, the property of so-called elites. New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik argues that ‘ganster-style authoritarianism’ menaces many nations from Russia and the US, to the Philippines and Hungary, while in the UK the Brexit vote shocked those who felt it symbolised the reversal of a momentum towards transnational openness. Former Newsnight presenter and Change UK candidate Gavin Esler argues we are now living in a world where lies have become normalised. Can we engineer a return to Enlightenment values of reason and evidence-based discourse? In conversation with Anne McElvoy, senior editor and head of Economist Radio London.


Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik has written for The New Yorker since 1986. He is a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism, and the George Polk Award for magazine reporting. From 1995 to 2000 he lived in Paris; he now lives in New York with his wife and their two children.

Gavin Esler

Gavin Esler is an award winning television and radio broadcaster, novelist and journalist. He is the author of five novels and three non-fiction books, The United States of Anger, Lessons from the Top, a study of how leaders tell stories to make other people follow them. It is based on personal encounters with a wide variety of leaders, from Bill Clinton and Angela Merkel to Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, and even cultural leaders such as Dolly Parton. His most recent book is Brexit without the Bullshit.

Anne McElvoy

Anne McElvoy is a presenter, broadcaster, author and currently Senior Editor of the Economist. She was its global Policy Editor from 2010-16. She runs Economist Radio, the company’s audio arm, which oversees The Intelligence, a daily current affairs show. She presents The Economist Asks, the award-winning chat show. Anne also writes a  weekly politics column for the Evening Standard where she was Executive Editor for a decade. As The Times’s correspondent in East Berlin, she reported the fall of the Berlin Wall. Subsequently she covered the Yugoslavia and Chechnya wars and was the paper’s bureau chief in Moscow during the rise of Vladimir Putin.  Anne received the Journalist of the Year/Women in Public Life award in 2015. She is an education board member of the World Economic Forum at Davos and the education and digital planning board of the Royal Opera House in London.