The Kardamyli Festival 2023 | How To Academy

Thu, 5 October 2023

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm GMT

The Kardamyli Festival 2023

Thursday 5th October - Monday 9th October 2023

Join us in the Greek Peloponnese for the “most life-enhancing, life-encouraging, life-enjoying book festival you could imagine” (Adam Nicolson).

Kardamyli is the Peloponnese’s most beautiful seaside village and was the home of Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor. What better place to stage a festival devoted to all that’s best in the worlds of literature, history and culture?

With just 350 attendees, this is an unmissable chance to join some of the world’s top thinkers within the spectacular seaside charm of Kardamyli in the Greek Peloponnese.

Our international cast of speakers has been chosen for their talent to compel. We’ve drawn together politicians, museum directors, nomads, scientists, writers, academics and archaeologists who’ll dig deep into the issues that preoccupy our age.

And when they’ve stopped talking, the afternoons will be yours to sunbathe, swim or explore some of the loveliest landscape in Europe. In the evenings, there’ll be live entertainment, good music and dining by the sea.

There are only a few tickets left and because we know people have found difficulty finding accommodation, we’ve edited the website page to show what’s still available. You can find it here.


Thursday 5th

Drinks Party at the Leigh Fermor House
Join our wonderful cast of speakers and your fellow guests for sunset drinks on a terrace overlooking one of the best views in Greece.

Friday 6th

Bettany Hughes – The Search for The Good Life
Socrates was among the first philosophers to ponder how to live the good life. What did he and his successors learn and what was it about their times that shaped their thinking?

Andrea Wulf – Magnificent Rebels
In the late-eighteenth century, a group of friends gathered in the small German town of Jena to provoke a revolution of the mind. What they came up with would transform society.

Naoise Mac Sweeney – The West: The Invention of Antiquity
We think of The West as a golden thread leading ‘from Plato to Nato’. But our civilisation, so reviled by much of the world today, has much richer antecedents.

Literary lunch with Joshua Barley
Greece has two Nobel Prize-winners and both were poets. What is it about Greek poetry that so touches the soul of this nation? (80 places only)

Evening Event

Neil MacGregor – Living with the Gods
Every society has a set of beliefs that go far beyond the life of the individual and have the power to define – and to divide – us. Neil MacGregor explores the objects, places and rituals that, throughout history, have given us our sense of who we are.

Saturday 7th

Kai Strittmatter – We have been Harmonised
In China, powerful new technologies watch, control and ‘harmonise’ the masses. And it’s clear that the Party’s plans go well beyond China. What does President Xi want?

Steve Rosenberg – Inside Putin’s state
President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has led to drastic societal changes that have shaped the lives of every Russian. What is it like to live in such a State?

Anjana Ahuja – Artificial Intelligence in a Dividing World
AI promises to revolutionise human existence, affecting everything from how we work to how we govern ourselves. How will it be controlled in our dividing world?

Evening Event

George Manginis in conversation with Angelika Kottaridi
Aigai was the ancient capital of Macedonia and the discoveries at Vergina may well be the most spectacular since Tutankhamun. Angeliki Kottaridi was there from the beginning and, with the help of the Benaki Museum’s George Manginis, will take us on a guided tour.

Sunday 8th

Tom Holland – Hadrian the Philhellene
Hadrian’s statue at Olympia has, on his breastplate, the goddess Athena standing over the she-wolf suckling the founders of Rome. Why was one of Rome’s greatest emperors so admiring of Greece?

Ben Macintyre – Colditz
The author of SAS Rogue Heroes tells the true story of the most infamous prison in history. And it is rather different from the one we’ve grown up with.

Jonathan Freedland – The Escape Artist
In 1944, Rudolf Vrba did the impossible: he escaped from Auschwitz. What he had to tell would find its way to Roosevelt and Churchill and would save countless Jewish lives.

Gala Dinner on the village quay with dancing and fireworks
There will also be an after-dinner game in which Tom Holland will ask some of our speakers ‘Who from history would you most like to be reincarnated as?’
Each has 10 minutes to persuade us of their choice. Then we vote.

Monday 9th

Emma Smith – Shakespeare’s debt to the classics
Throughout his plays, Shakespeare drew from the people and ideas that suffused classical civilisation. Emma Smith will show how they enriched his work.

Gaia Vince – Nomad Century
Mass migration will be the defining feature of our century as billions flee the effects of climate change. Why, and when, will it happen and how can we adapt to it?

Rory Stewart – Nothing in Extreme
Such was the warning of the Delphic Oracle, yet we have ever ignored it. Why has humanity consistently failed to address the scandal of extreme poverty?

Literary lunch with Joshua Barley
Greece has two Nobel Prize-winners and both were poets. What is it about Greek poetry that so touches the soul of this nation? (80 places only)

Evening Event
Jonathan Freedland’s festival round-up
Jonathan Freedland will chair a panel of our speakers to discuss the festival’s themes, with an audience Q & A.