What does it mean to be northern? To get to the crux of this regional mindset, we’re inviting two authors and northern experts to share their insight on the past, present and future of a vibrant and ever-changing region.

Colin Speakman, author of Yorkshire: Ancient Nation, Future Province will detail the history and impact of the three ‘ridings’, while Brian Groom, author of Northerners: A History, From The Ice Age to the Present Day will be on hand to talk us through the highs and lows of the North’s story – from bloody battles to The Beatles and beyond.

About The Chair

Headshot of author Kate Fox

Kate Fox

Kate Fox is a stand-up poet and has performed everywhere from the Glastonbury Festival to Radio 4. Kate has been a radio journalist, a Victoria Wood tribute act (called Victoria Wouldn’t) and newspaper columnist and does really hold a PHD in Northerness. As well as her poetry and touring, Kate writes and campaigns about neurodiversity. She lives in Whitley Bay and is the author of Where There’s Muck, There’s Bras: The Lost Stories of The Amazing Women of the North, out now from HarperNorth.

About The Authors

Colin Speakman Headshot

Colin Speakman

Colin Speakman is an award-winning writer, poet and environmentalist, best known for his books about walking, the countryside and Yorkshire.  He was one of the creators  of the Dales Way long distance walking route, the Founder-Secretary of Yorkshire Dales Society (Friends of the Dales) and is an active member of the North York Moors Association, PLACE Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Society. In 1997 he was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Letters by Bradford University in recognition of his outstanding environmental and literary work in Yorkshire. In 2021 he received the national Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild “Golden Eagle” lifetime achievement award in recognition of his work over several decades promoting understanding and access to Britain’s countryside.     



Headshot of journalist Brian Groom

Brian Groom

Brian Groom is a journalist and expert in British and regional affairs. He began work in Yorkshire, on the Goole Times. Most of his career was at the Financial Times, where he did senior jobs including assistant editor and political editor. He also launched and edited Scotland on Sunday, the Scotsman’s Sunday paper. Originally from Stretford, Lancashire, he now lives in Saddleworth, in the historic West Riding.