Spycraft and Espionage: WWII and Beyond


13:00–14:15 | SUNDAY 14 APRIL


From James Bond and Mission Impossible to Atomic Blonde and The Ipcress File, stories of espionage are a mainstay in popular culture. But what is the real history? How did intelligence gathering evolve during the 20th century? And, who were the real life spies? In this fascinating event, leading historians Clare Mulley (Agent Zo) and Henry Hemming (Four Shots in the Night) draw from years of research and multiple books to tell the real history of 20th century espionage – from figures such as WWII resistance fighter Elzbieta Zawacka, British agent Christine Granville, and father of US Special Forces Geoffrey Pyke, to the history of MI5, the real ‘M’ and the use of spies in late 20th-century Northern Ireland.

Chaired by historian, author and HistFest director, Rebecca Rideal.

About the speakers

  • Clare Mulley: Clare Mulley, FRHistS, is an award-winning author and broadcaster, primarily focused on female experience during the Second World War. Books include The Woman Who Saved the Children about Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children; The Spy Who Loved on the Polish-born British special agent Krystyna Skarbek aka Christine Granville; and The Women Who Flew for Hitler, which tells the story of Nazi Germany’s only two female test pilots, one of whom tried to save Hitler’s life while the other tried to kill him. Her latest book, Agent Zo, tells the incredible story of Elzbieta Zawacka, the WW2 female resistance fighter.
  • Henry Hemming: Henry Hemming is the Sunday Times bestselling author of seven non-fiction books including M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster, the Dolman Travel Award-shortlisted Misadventure in the Middle East, and the New York Times bestseller The Ingenious Mr Pyke. He has written for The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Times, The Economist, FT Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. His latest, Four Shots in the Night, tells the story of how the 1986 murder of a spy in Northern Ireland led to one of the biggest murder investigations in British history.

This event is kindly supported by Fellows Auctioneers.

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Thurs 11 April – British Library, London