A Banner for the Network

11 April 2023

Every year to lighten the admin load for the ESN conference, I set aside some money to invest in a creative project. One year it was an ESN tea towel, the next year it was an enamel mug, the year after that we created a branded European Speechwriter Network notebook.

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Why families don’t adopt black cats any more, and other consequences of digital populism. A review of Giuliano da Empoli’s Engineers of Chaos

30 December 2022

In the last chapter of Giuliano da Empoli’s book on the rise of digital populism, he describes the problem faced by the owner of a cat rescue centre.

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Seven Reasons to Attend the European Speechwriter Network conference at Brasenose College, Oxford in March 2023

30 September 2022

1. Meet the Speechwriters

Highly-educated, multilingual, intuitive, that tends to be the kind of person who falls into the role of ‘speechwriter’.

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What are we to make of Zelensky’s speeches?

15 July 2022

On Friday 8 July 2022, we hosted an online interview with Äse Thomassen, a Norwegian political scientist, who has just published a book, Zelensky’s rhetoric. The book gives some background to the rise of the Ukrainian President, and analyses his strategy of speaking to parliaments around the world.

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How to use a checklist of speechwriting commonplaces

16 June 2022

During the pandemic, Benet Brandreth QC produced a fine book: Shakespearean Rhetoric. It’s a very accessible account of how Shakespeare was a product of his education, and how he used his education when composing his plays.

It’s regrettable that we’ve lost the rigour which characterised argumentation in that era. Especially because in a modern media environment, it’s so important to create texts that stand out.

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Hail the Speechual! A new chapter in the history of speechmaking

10 March 2022

Former BBC correspondent turned speechwriter, Nick Hawton, gives his views on the changing nature of leadership communication.

In the deepest, darkest days of Covid, a new creature emerged into the light. Shrouded in pixels, gorging on the insecurity of the moment, the creature infected monitors the world over.

Promising connection and efficiency, it displaced the ‘here and now’ and drained empathy and spontaneity from the speechmaking ritual.

Lo, behold, the creature cometh, the mutant child of Father Speech and Mother Virtual….all hail the Speechual.

Speechwriters mourned the passing of the in-person delivery. Existential questions abounded.

But the predicted end of days has not transpired. The Speechual was (and is) not an enemy. It is our friend. It just needs to be understood.

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Rhetoric versus Science in France

11 January 2022

Leaders are supposed to be public mediators. Healing division and building coalitions. It’s not their job to be right about things.

It’s their job to get the least worst outcome for everyone, based on the limits of politics (like the rule of law) and the reality that all societies are made up of irreconcilable factions.

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Edward Mortimer 1943-2021

30 June 2021

We were sad to hear of the death of Edward Mortimer on 18 June 2021.

Edward was a distinguished speechwriter and journalist and a keen supporter of the Network.

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France versus Great Britain – how speechwriting works

8 February 2021

On Thursday 21 January 2021, Brian Jenner from the European Speechwriter Network talked to Amélie Blanckaert from the French speechwriting agency Coup de Plume about the differences in the public speaking cultures in France and Great Britain.

The French speechwriting salon on Zoom

8 May 2020

Because of lockdown, we have to do things differently.

Before lockdown, if I wanted to bring speechwriters together that always involved booking a room in London, creating an incentive for people to show up and covering the costs through ticket sales.

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