‘To read is to fly,’ British philosopher A.C. Grayling once wrote. ‘It is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.’ The author of more than 20 books on philosophy, Grayling has himself undertaken many fruitful inquiries on topics from Descartes to religion to morality.
Straddling the academic and mainstream media worlds, Grayling’s contribution to the world of ideas is vast and various. He was the chair of the 2014 Man Booker Prize, is the master of the New College of the Humanities in London, and his writing is regularly featured in the Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman and many more. Grayling’s status as a public intellectual is grounded in the idea that philosophy must engage with civic discourse in ways that are robust, lucid and practical.
His latest book, The Challenge of Things, is an excellent example of this approach, bringing together Grayling’s most recent essays on contemporary war and conflict. In this special event at the Athenaeum, Grayling speaks about changes in international relations, what we're learning from brain science and the great importance of the humanities. He's then joined in conversation by Emily Sexton.
A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at and Master of the New College of the Humanities, London. Among his recent books are Towards the Light: The Story of the Struggle for Liberty and Rights that Made the Modern West, Liberty in the Age of Terror, The Good Book: A Secular Bible and The God Argument.
Emily Sexton is a former Head of Programming for the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas.
She was the recipient of a prestigious Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2014. Previously, she was Artistic Director of Next Wave (2010–14), where her key achievements were a radical rethink of an arts festival model, and a series of landmark commissions, publications and talks featuring First Nations artists, co-curated with Tony Albert and Tahjee Moar and titled Blak Wave.
In 2013, she was Artistic Director of the Ian Potter Cultural Trust’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations at the Melbourne Recital Centre. She was also Creative Producer for Melbourne Fringe Festival for 2008–10.
Emily has been a proud Board Member for Arena Theatre Company, Snuff Puppets and Theatre Network Victoria, and is alumnus of the Australia Council’s Emerging Leaders Program (2011). She is a regular peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, and other philanthropic trusts and foundations. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications, English) from the University of Sydney (2005). She is a regular host and facilitator for writers’ festivals and arts organisations around Australia.