Meet our guests

A stellar line-up of speakers, authors, artists and presenters will be participating in this year’s Mount Stewart Conversations Festival on the 14 and 15 October 2017.

Book tickets for a talk here

BAFTA-winning Kate Adie news correspondent and presenter
Kate Adie will be speaking at Mount Stewrt Converstaions Festival

Kate Adie grew up in Sunderland and became a familiar figure through her work as BBC Chief News Correspondent. She was one of the first British women sending despatches from danger zones around the world including her assignment in both Gulf Wars and four years of war in the Balkans.  Kate carried out numerous assignments in Northern Ireland throughout the Troubles as well as reporting on the referendum to ratify the Good Friday Agreement. Kate is also the long-serving presenter of Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and a presenter and contributor to many other radio and television programmes. She was awarded the OBE in 1993

Ian Hislop, writer, editor and broadcaster
Ian Hislop, writer, editor and broadcaster will attend Mount Stewart Conversations

Ian Hislop is a writer, editor and broadcaster. He was educated at Ardingly College and Magdalen College, Oxford. He has been editor of Private Eye since 1986 and is probably best known for his role as a regular team captain on the BBC show Have I Got News for You. In 2016 he presented a documentary on Victorian Benefits: Workers or Shirkers. He co-wrote a dramatisation of The Wipers Times with Nick Newman, which was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Single Drama of 2014, and won the Best Single Drama Award in Broadcasting Press Guild Awards, 2014. In 2016, he and Nick Newman wrote the critically acclaimed 2016 Radio 4 comedy drama Trial By Laughter. Ian has received numerous awards, including a BAFTA Award in 1991 and a British Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Comedy Awards 2011 for Have I Got News for You; He was awarded the Mark Boxer Prize in 2016, and Have I Got News For You won a BAFTA in 2016 for Best Comedy Programme.

Fintan O'Toole, columnist on The Irish Times and author
Fintan O'Toole

Fintan O'Toole, columnist and author

Fintan O'Toole is a columnist with The Irish Times and Leonard L. Milberg visiting lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University. Born in Dublin in 1958, he has been drama critic of In Dublin magazine, The Sunday Tribune, the New York Daily News and The Irish Times, and Literary Adviser to the Abbey Theatre. He contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books. His new book on Bernard Shaw will appear in 2017 and Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks, which he edited, has just been published by the Royal Irish Academy. Other books include A History of Ireland in 100 Objects, Enough is Enough, Ship of Fools, The Irish Times Book of the 1916 Rising, White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America, Shakespeare is Hard but so is Life; and A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Diane Urquhart will be a guest speaker at Mount Stewart Conversations 2017
Diane Urquhart will be a guest speaker at Mount Stewart Conversations 2017

Dr Diane Urquhart, author and historian

Diane Urquhart is a Reader in Modern Irish History at the Institute of Irish Studies of the University of Liverpool. A graduate of Queen's University Belfast, she has published extensively on Irish women's history including Women in Ulster Politics, 1890-1940 (2000) and The Ladies of Londonderry: women and political patronage (2007). Diane is currently completing the first history of Irish divorce. 


Roy Foster, Professor of Irish History
Roy Foster, Professor of Irish History will attend Mount Stewart Conversations

Roy Foster, Professor of Irish history

Roy Foster is Emeritus Professor of Irish History at Oxford and Professor of Irish History and Literature at Queen Mary London. He is the author of many prizewinning books, most recently Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation in Ireland 1890-1923 (2014), and is also a well known cultural commentator and critic.

Rachel Johnson, journalist, presenter and author
Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson, journalist, presenter and author

The author of seven books, Rachel Johnson interrupted a career in national newspapers to edit The Lady magazine in 2009. The final volume of her Notting Hell trilogy (Penguin) entitled 'Fresh Hell' came out last year. She appears on Sky News, The Pledge weekly debate show and writes a column for The Mail on Sunday.

Mary Killen and Giles Woods, journalist, artist and Gogglebox stars
Giles and Mary from Gogglebox will be debating at Mount Stewart Conversations festival

Mary Killen and Giles Woods, journalist, artist and Gogglebox stars

The couple joined Gogglebox in 2015 for the fifth series and have been an integral part of the much-loved Channel 4 show ever since. Fans have fallen in love with their quirky views, eccentric style choices and their adorable nicknames for each other. They can regularly be heard on-screen referring to each other as 'Nutty' during Gogglebox episodes. When not on TV, Giles is an acclaimed artist and Mary a journalist.

Craig Brown, satirist

Craig Brown has been described by The Sunday Times as 'our greatest living satirist'. He is the author of 18 books, among them One on One and The Lost Diaries. He is the only writer ever to have won in three different categories - critic, humorist, columnist - at the UK Press Awards. 

Mary Kenny, journalist and writer

Mary Kenny is a veteran journalist and writer who has expanded her interests into social history with special attention to Ireland. Author of ‘Crown & Shamrock’, ‘Something of Myself’, and forthcoming, ‘Am I a Feminist? Are you?’

Senia Paseta, historian

A historian of modern history, Senia Paseta  has a particular interest in the history of education, religious identity formation and political movements and ideas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Senia's current research is in the history of women and political activism in Britain and Ireland. Her most recent book, Irish Nationalist Women, 1900-1918 (Cambridge, 2013), examines how politically active women worked within broader nationalist and feminist contexts during a volatile period of Irish history.

David Gavaghan, chair of CBI NI

Anticipating a new dawn for Belfast, David is raising £50m locally and internationally to invest in Grade A offices. He is currently CBI Chair in NI and Vice Chair of the Washington Ireland Program. Born in Kenya, spending his formative years in Dublin, David and Helen now live in Belfast and have eight children ranging in age from 25 to 4. 


BBC NI at Mount Stewart Conversations Festival

Also coming to Mount Stewart Conversations Festival wll be a number of BBC guests, including leading journalists and commentators. Tickets for these talks will be available through the BBC website.