Michael Ignatieff on Isaiah Berlin

Kings Place, London

A beacon of liberal philosophy and vigorous defender of individuality, Isaiah Berlin was one of the great public intellectuals.

Present at some of the pivotal events of the last century, crossing paths with luminaries from Virginia Woolf to Sigmund Freud, he declined to write an autobiography. Instead, in his final decade he chose to give extensive interviews to Michael Ignatieff. The result was a magisterial biography first published 25 years ago and now updated in a wonderful reissue from Pushkin Press. The author, academic and former politician returns to the festival in conversation with journalist and critic David Herman.

Buy a copy of Isaiah Berlin: A Life by Michael Ignatieff

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Speaker biography

Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff is a writer, historian and former politician. He has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, the University of Toronto and Harvard and is currently university professor at Central European University in Vienna. His books, which have been translated into twelve languages, include Blood and Belonging, Isaiah Berlin, The Needs of Strangers and The Russian Album, all published or forthcoming with Pushkin Press, and On Consolation.

Image © Paul Musso, Hay Festival

Chair biography

David Herman

David Herman was a TV producer for twenty years and for the past twenty years has worked as a freelance writer, writing more than a thousand articles, reviews and essays for The New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian and a wide range of Jewish publications including The Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Renaissance and The Jewish Quarterly.

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