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New speakers announced for Gib Literary Festival

The Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival has announced an additional four new speakers for their weekend programme.

Andrea Leadsom, Matthew Dennison, Nick Thomas-Symonds and local author Richard Garcia.
The festival will be taking place on November 17 to 19, 2023.

Author: Andrea Leadsom Book Title: Snakes and Ladders

Dame Andrea Leadsom is the MP for South Northamptonshire since 2010. A former banker, she joined Parliament in 2010 under David Cameron’s coalition with the Lib Dems. She has wide ministerial experience: City Minister, Energy Minister, Secretary of State for the Farming and Environment, Leader of the House of Commons and Sec of State for Business and Energy.

She came to prominence for her role in the Brexit debate, where she campaigned passionately for Leave and then stood for the leadership of the Conservatives when Cameron resigned. She stood aside for Theresa May, stating that she did not have the support of Conservative MPs. She is now the Government’s Adviser for early years, and is leading the roll out of new Family Hubs across England.

Author: Matthew Dennison Book Title: The Queen: An Example to the Nation

Matthew Dennison is the author of ten critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, including the international bestseller, The Queen, which has been published across the globe.
An acknowledged authority on royal history and the Royal Family, he has appeared on television from Australia to the Arab states.

His books include biographies of children’s authors Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter and Kenneth Grahame, as well as two works of Roman history. ‘Teller of the Unexpected: The Life of Roald Dahl’ was a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4; his life of Vita Sackville-West, ‘Behind the Mask’, was a Book of the Year in The Times, Observer, Independent and Spectator. In 2017, he was invited by the Royal Collection to write an afterword to the story Sackville-West wrote for the library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House in 1923.

His biography of Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, Beatrice - 'The Last Princess' - inspired a new ballet by Northern Ballet.

He read English, as Douglas Jerrold Scholar, at Christ Church, Oxford, and afterwards the History of Decorative Arts at the University of Glasgow, specialising in mid-eighteenth century Continental ceramics.

He is a features writer for Country Life and The Daily Telegraph, a research associate of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York, is married and lives on the Welsh border in Montgomeryshire.

Author: Nick Thomas-Symonds Book Title: Attlee: A Life in Politics

Nick Thomas-Symonds is the Shadow Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office, having been appointed to the role by Sir Keir Starmer KC MP in September 2023.

He was born and brought up in the Welsh Valleys constituency of Torfaen, where he has always lived, and which he has represented in Parliament since 2015.

He read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, graduating in 2001 before working as a Tutor/Lecturer in Politics at his old college, specialising in twentieth-century British government. Nick was also a practising barrister prior to his election to Parliament, specialising in chancery and commercial law. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2012 and has written three biographies of Labour politicians: Attlee: A Life in Politics (2010), Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan (2014) and Harold Wilson: The Winner which was published in September 2022.

In Parliament, Nick succeeded in widening access to off-patent drugs, securing a change in the law in January 2016, benefiting people with a range of conditions, including many cancers.

He has served on the Labour frontbench in a number of frontbench roles: Shadow Pensions Minister; Shadow Employment Minister; Shadow Solicitor-General; Shadow Security Minister; Shadow Welsh Office Minister, Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade.

In February 2021, he was appointed a member of the Privy Council by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and, in that capacity, signed the Accession document for King Charles III.

Author: Richard Garcia Book Title: The First and the Last: The Life and Times of Bishop Edward Rapallo

After Richard Garcia retired as Head of the Gibraltar Civil Service at the end of 2010, he has dedicated himself to researching and writing about Gibraltar’s history. His books cover a wide range of topics, with the emphasis on social history. His three volume account of Gibraltar in the 18th century is the first study to look at this period in detail from the perspective of the growing civilian community.

Other works by him record the history of major Gibraltar companies, such as Saccone and Speed and Gibunco; the biographies of individuals who have played a part in commercial Gibraltar, such as John Mackintosh and Kishin Alwani; and the history of some public departments, such as the Fire and Rescue Service and the Gibraltar Savings Bank. He has also written monographs on Gibraltar and Moroccan philately; Gibraltar’s currency, coinage and banknotes; Gibraltar in the Victorian and Edwardian era; and Gibraltar’s picture postcards.

His latest book, published in October 2023, is a biography of Bishop Edward Rapallo, the first Gibraltarian titular bishop of the diocese of Gibraltar. It marks the 50th year of his episcopal consecration.

In addition, Richard Garcia has written and presented five series of historical programmes for GBC Television entitled In Their Footsteps and The Secret History of Our Streets. In 2015 he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Gibraltar Museum. He has been the editor of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust Journal since 2019.

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