Crescent Arts Centre, Cube Theatre
29th March: 7.00pm – 8.15pm (doors 6.45pm)
Gavin Esler: Why Leaders Lie
Gavin Esler is an award winning television and radio broadcaster, novelist and journalist. He is the author of five novels and two non-fiction books, The United States of Anger, and most recently Lessons from the Top, a study of how leaders tell stories to make other people follow them. It’s based on personal encounters with a wide variety of leaders, from Bill Clinton and Angela Merkel to Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, and even cultural leaders such as Dolly Parton.
Gavin was born in Glasgow, and brought up in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland. His family are descended from German Protestant refugees who fled to safety in Scotland during the religious wars of the early 17th Century. After he finished his post-graduate studies, he was offered a job on The Scotsman in Edinburgh but turned it down as likely to be a bit dull, preferring instead The Belfast Telegraph. He moved on to the BBC in Belfast during some of the worst of ‘the Troubles’, and got to know leaders of the IRA and other Republican and loyalist paramilitary groups. On one occasion the leader of a loyalist organisation introduced himself to Esler with the memorable words: “I am speaking to you as someone deeply involved in violence.” It turned out to be an accurate description.
His investigative work on the wrongful convictions of Giuseppe Conlon and his son Gerry led to a campaign which eventually overturned the convictions of the so-called ‘Guildford Four’ and ‘Maguire Seven‘.
Reviewers have been full of praise for Esler’s fiction and story-telling abilities. The writer Bernard Cornwell said his novels are “made luminous with wisdom, sympathy and story telling.” The Guardian commented that Esler’s fiction displays “undoubted sympathy for the human condition and a burning anger, a genuine lyricism, a quick sensitivity and a real understanding of other people.” The Financial Times said Esler’s stories of people in power and the compromises they are forced to make, shows that he “understands the political beast better than anyone.”