Dramatic diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula and China’s bold thrust onto the global stage highlight Asia’s elevated importance in the world. Once remote, events in Asia are increasingly impacting on the West – whether it’s the plight of Rohingya refugees or China’s ambition to gird the world with a belt of trade.
Two sharp-witted writers with feet firmly planted on either side of the world will discuss these and other trends in leadership, politics, and society in Asia.
Michael Vatikiotis, a journalist turned private diplomat, is the author of Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia. Vatikiotis paints a bleak picture of enduring violent conflict and the advance of authoritarianism that riffs off Trump’s Fake News and the disdain for once hallowed values of human rights. Lionel Shriver is an award-winning novelist, self-confessed news-junkie and a journalist who often comments on cultural trends. Michael has asked Lionel to engage in a conversation about events in Asia set against a world no longer so clearly governed by predictable norms or rules.
This event will include an audience Q&A and a book signing by Michael Vatikiotis. Cash bar open from 18:15 until 18:45, and again following the discussion until 21:00.
About the speakers
Michael Vatikiotis is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and gained his doctorate from the University of Oxford. He has a decade of experience working as a private diplomat and conflict mediator for the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Prior to that he worked as a journalist in Asia for thirty years, first as a BBC Correspondent, then with the Far Eastern Economic Review, eventually becoming editor of the weekly magazine. With family origins in the Middle East, he has lived in Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. He is the author of two previous books on the politics of Southeast Asia as well as two novels set in Indonesia. He is based in Singapore.
Lionel Shriver is an American journalist and novelist based in London. Her international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin won the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her latest publication Property is her first ever story collection that explores ‘property’ in terms of real estate, and ‘stuff’. Shriver is currently a columnist for The Spectator and The Guardian and has written for The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The New York Times and The Economist.