Four speakers of 2022 BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures announced (Jane Mingay/PA)
30 September 2022

Four speakers for the 2022 BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures announced

30 September 2022

The four speakers who will deliver this year’s BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures have been announced.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lord Rowan Williams, Darren McGarvey and Dr Fiona Hill will give the lectures which are inspired by Franklin D Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech.

The famous 1941 speech covered freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – with one speaker per topic.

Multi-award-winning author Ngozi Adichie will explore freedom of speech in her lecture.

She is well known for novels including Americanah and Half Of A Yellow Sun, which in 2020 was voted by the public to be the best book to have won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in its 25-year history.

Former Archbishop Williams will explore freedom of worship in his lecture, discussing how religious freedom is the basis of political freedom, as well as the current state of religious freedom around the world.

He is a bishop, theologian and poet and was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, a position he held from December 2002 to December 2012.

In his lecture discussing freedom from want, Orwell Prize-winning author McGarvey will explore themes of inequality and poverty, personal responsibility and system change.

Dr Fiona Hill will explore freedom from fear in her lecture.

In it she will look back to the early 20th century to discuss how knowledge can help us allay our fears and better understand the world.

Dr Hill is a foreign affairs specialist originally from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, who advised Presidents George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

In 2017 she joined the National Security Council at the White House as deputy assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia.

She left the administration in 2019 and later that year testified to the US Congress as a witness in the hearings which led up to Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2020.

The series of lectures will be recorded in London, Glasgow, Wales and Washington DC in late October and November, and come as part of the BBC’s centenary year.

The Reith Lectures were inaugurated in 1948 by the BBC to mark the historic contribution made to public service broadcasting by Sir John Reith, the corporation’s first director-general.

Their aim is to advance public understanding and debate about significant issues of contemporary interest.

Mohit Bakaya, Controller of Radio 4, says: “Freedom is one of the defining values of our age.

“It is the fault line drawn in so many of our contemporary debates about the nature of society and the kind of world we want to live in.

“However, there are different types of freedom and, in this BBC centenary year, I wanted to seek out four perspectives on this complex idea based on FDRs famous Four Freedoms speech – a speech made in 1941 at such a precarious moment for the world.

“I’m delighted that these four brilliant thinkers have agreed to explore freedom as it relates to their area of passion and knowledge.”

The lectures will be chaired by presenter, journalist and author, Anita Anand.

They will be broadcast on Radio 4 and the World Service towards the end of the year and they will be available on BBC Sounds.

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