Intelligence Squared

Intelligence Squared

Intelligence Squared is the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion. Live and online we take you to the heart of the issues that matter, in the company of some of the world’s sharpest minds and most exciting orators. Join the debate at www.intelligencesquared.com and download our weekly podcast every Friday.

Episodes

They are the titans of the spy novel, who have elevated thrillers to the level of literary fiction. Much imitated, much adapted by the big and small screens, Ian Fleming and John Le Carre have painted our picture of post-war espionage: Fleming through the dashing figure of James Bond, with his lush locations and Martinis as icy as his heart; Le Carre through his damning portrait of the British secret service drawn from his own time in MI5 and MI6. But which of the two novelists is the greater? In this thrilling contest, Fleming's case will made by Anthony Horowitz, creator of the bestselling Alex Rider spy novels and author of the official Bond continuation novel Trigger Mortis. Championing Le Carre - whose memoir about his life as a former spy currently sits in the bestseller lists - will be David Farr, Emmy-nominated screenwriter of the BBC's adaptation of The Night Manager. 'Fleming is one of the very few writers - Charles Dickens and JK Rowling might be two others - who have transcended fiction, who have created stories that capture a particular time and place, that are universally recognisable and that are, it would seem, immortal,' says Horowitz. 'George Smiley is a fascinating character. James Bond is an icon. That's the difference.' By contrast, pointing to Le Carre's own experiences in the secret service, Farr says: 'John Le Carre turns espionage into existentialism. His canvas is betrayal -- of the realm and of the heart. His greatness comes from the personal nature of that exploration.' To illustrate their arguments, Horowitz and Farr will be calling on a cast of actors to bring the novels to life. So far we are delighted to have confirmed Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis and Peaky Blinders star Alex Macqueen....