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Ian Birch in conversation with Melissa Denes and Paul McNamee

Ian Birch has edited, launched and re-launched multiple publications in London, New York, Milan and Sydney. Most recently, he was editorial director at Hearst Media on both sides of the Atlantic, overseeing classic brands such as Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Ian won the Mark Boxer Award for lifetime achievement at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards. His first book, UNCOVERED: Revolutionary Magazine Covers (Cassell, 2108) is an oral history of some of the industry’s most impactful covers told in the words of the people who created them.

He will be joined by Melissa Denes, Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian Weekend Magazine and Paul McNamee, Editor-in-Chief of The Big Issue.

Melissa Denes has been the editor of Guardian Weekend magazine since 2013, winning the British Society of Magazine Editors award for best newspaper magazine in 2018 and 2015, and the Press Award for best newspaper supplement in 2016. She was the Guardian’s arts editor from 2006-2013.

Paul McNamee was appointed UK Editor of The Big Issue in summer 2011, the first time The Big Issue had a single editor across all national, regional and online editions.  He started out on local newspapers in Northern Ireland, before co-founding Belfast-based Irish music magazine Blank with Colin Murray. He moved to the NME in London and following a number of years there he began writing for a series of newspapers and magazines, amongst them the Daily Mirror, The Guardian, Belfast Telegraph and The Irish Times. He was named British Editor of The Year in 2013 and 2016 by the BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors) and Magazine Editor of the Year three times by leading publishing industry body PPA Scotland. He served a two-year term as Chairman of PPA Scotland.

The Big Issue delivered an annual sales increase for three consecutive years in 2015, 2016 and 2017. It currently sells 78,449 copies per week across Britain.