Star names added to Leeds International Festival of Ideas line-up

Award-winning stand-up comedian Aisling Bea and historian and national treasure Mary Beard have are the latest big names to be added to the line up for the Leeds International Festival of Ideas.

By Richard Beecham
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 4:45 am

The duo will join chef and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi and British-Nigerian historian and broadcaster David Olusoga OBE among those delivering the festival’s keynote addresses for the festival, which has become media partners with the YEP.

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Organisers of LIFI say they want the event to focus on tackling "some of the most crucial questions of our time", as the festival will also play host to six panels that aim to delve deep into some of the world’s most relevant and important topics.

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David Olusoga is one of the keynote speakers at the event.

From the future of technology, to climate justice and the social duty of sportsmen, a host of household names and industry experts will debate and discuss these fascinating, thought-provoking subjects, and more, at length in these expertly-chaired panels.

Other names joining the panels include Christopher Wylie, known for his role in setting up - and taking down - the cyberwarfare firm Cambridge Analytica; while up-and-coming comic Jamali Maddix will chair the controversial panel ‘What can you laugh about?’.

Among others speaking at the festival are actor David Harewood, TV presenter Gail Porter and former Crystal Palace FC chairman Simon Jordan.

David Olusoga, speaking at Leeds International Festival of Ideas says: "The world is in a strange place right now and having festivals like this, bringing people together to discuss topics is exactly what is needed. I will be talking about the history of great inventions and the inventors and can they ever be separated."

Yotam Ottolenghi added: "Like any other human activity, cooking is hugely enriched by interaction between cultures. I can’t wait to discuss culinary diversity and multiculturalism at Leeds International Festival of Ideas."

Laura Collins, YEP editor, said: "I am delighted that the YEP is the media partner for the Leeds International Festival of Ideas.

"Journalism is at the heart of driving debate in society and this is something the YEP has championed for many decades in the city of Leeds.

"Our title is at the heart of championing our great city while remaining a critical friend that is not afraid to question authority on behalf of the people of Leeds.

"And it is through such debate that important cornerstones such as democracy can truly thrive.

"I am delighted that the YEP can play its role in ensuring these keynote addresses as part of the festival will enable our city to delve deep into some of the world’s most relevant and important topics."

The event is set to take place from 22-25 of September. For more information, or to book tickets, visit