Keynotes

Maja Thomas

Maja Thomas is The Chief Innovation Officer of Hachette Livre, and the Director of the Hachette Innovation Program, focusing on the intersection of publishing and digital innovation.

Maja works internationally across divisions and sectors, facilitating collaboration with start-ups and established global players, to get books into the hands, phones, and ears of readers. The team she leads designs and creates experiments with augmented reality, tap to read interfaces, social messaging platforms, bots, and voice assistants, and pilots projects to use machine learning and big data in publishing.

Her passion for storytelling — and the future of storytelling — animates everything she does.

Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh Shukla is the author of three novels. His latest, The One Who Wrote Destiny comes out in Spring 2018. His debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010. His second novel Meatspace was released to critical acclaim in 2014. Nikesh has written for The Guardian, Observer, Independent, Esquire, Buzzfeed, Vice and BBC2, LitHub, Guernica and BBC Radio 4. Nikesh is also the editor the bestselling essay collection, The Good Immigrant which won the reader’s choice at the Books Are MyBag Awards. Nikesh was one of Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 Global Thinkers and The Bookseller’s 100 most influential people in publishing in 2016 and in 2017. He is the co-founder of the literary journal, The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency.

Nikesh is chairing a panel on ‘Ethics in Storytelling’.

Image Credit: Ailsa Fineron

Guy Gadney

Guy Gadney has been working at the intersection of media and technology for over 20 years, initially as the first Head of Digital for Penguin Books UK, then at the BBC and Guardian, before setting up his first games company developing massively multiplayer games.

More recently, he produced the official mobile games for Sherlock, Home & Away and other TV series around the world. He is CEO of To Play For, the media technology platform behind Charisma.ai which is producing new forms of immersive stories powered by artificial intelligence.

The company is currently adapting John Wyndham’s scifi classic The Kraken Wakes, and the immersive theatre production For King and Country into narrative games powered by Charisma.ai. It is a member of the StoryFutures Creative Cluster, as well as undertaking a year-long research project with King’s College London into the future of storytelling, funded by Innovate UK. He is co-contributor to the paper It Speaks, a guide to avoiding unconscious bias in artificial intelligence and games, funded by the Canadian government’s ReFig programme.

Guy is also Chair of the Oxford-based arts centre, Arts at The Old Fire Station which is co-habited with the charity Crisis, producing new works to support those facing tough times.