Frank Dikötter Keynote Speaker

  • Author of the People's Trilogy, the award-winning series of books documenting the impact of communism in China
  • His latest work, 'How to be a Dictator', was nominated as the book of the year by several publications
  • Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Frank Dikötter's Biography

Frank Dikötter is a historian and writer, specialising in the study of modern China. Frank has published a dozen books that have changed the way we view China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China (1992) to China before Mao: The Age of Openness (2007). He is best known as the author of the People’s Trilogy, a series of books that document the impact of communism on the lives of ordinary people on the basis of unprecedented access to archival material in China. The first volume, entitled Mao’s Great Famine, won the 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Britain’s most prestigious book award for non-fiction. The second instalment, The Tragedy of Liberation, was short-listed for the Orwell Prize in 2014. The Cultural Revolution concludes the trilogy and was short-listed for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize in 2017.

Frank is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Before moving to Asia in 2006 he was Professor of History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

In his latest book, How to be a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century, Frank takes a closer look at how eight dictators, from Hitler and Stalin to Mao, managed to acquire power and keep it. The book was listed as one of the Books of the Year in the New Statesman, the Economist and the Financial Times.

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