Transported as a young boy by his father’s tales of Palestine, John McCarthy has always been drawn to the mystique of the Middle East. Remarkably, his first-hand experience of its brutal conflicts – he was kidnapped and held hostage in the Lebanon for five years – only strengthened his determination to return and explore its myriad complexities.
In the years since his ordeal, McCarthy has travelled through Israel and East Jerusalem, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Bedouin encampments of the Negev Desert. His intensely moving encounters with the inhabitants of this beautiful but tormented region reveal the continuing tragedy of the Palestinians who remained in Israel after its formation in 1948 – and who still dare to think of it as home.
In light of the First Minister for Wales’s call for UK-wide constitutional conventions, how does the Scottish independence vote, whether yes or no, affect the people of Wales?
The former Finance Minister of Greece shows that the origins of the European collapse go far deeper than our leaders are prepared to admit – and that we have done nothing so far to fix it.
This year’s lecture is given by the Swedish politician and diplomat. As Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency he led the Western inspection and response to the Chernobyl disaster. As head of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission he led the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq between 2000 and 2003, finding none. Chaired by Jon Snow.
The Middle East correspondent analyses the state of the region, the response of the international powers and the feelings of the people on the ground. Chaired by the British Ambassador to Lebanon.
A conversation with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who is now charged with delivering the COP21 Agreement, signed in Paris. If anyone can do it, she can. And she will.
The Waterstones chief James Daunt and the chair of judges Sir Rodric Braithwaite host a discussion on writing about Russia with Douglas Smith (shortlisted author of Former People) and author and judge Rachel Polonsky. The shortlist was announced on 25 April.
The Basque Country in the early 1980s was a nation beset by conflict, its economy in ruins. Three decades later and it’s a nation at peace and second only to Luxembourg in Europe’s prosperity stakes. And all this with an equality index on a par with Scandinavia. Come and hear how they did it from the man who led the country from the opening of the Guggenheim to the eve of ETA’s lasting ceasefire. What are the lessons for other countries? You may be surprised… Chaired by Adam Price.
Twenty-five years after a bomb brought Pan Am Flight 103 down on the town, the novelist James Robertson, author of The Professor Of Truth, and Dr Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing and who is a member of the Justice For Megrahi group, reflect on the tragedy.
The investigative journalist and author lives under police protection from the crime syndicates he exposed and denounced in Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero. He offers a personal and candid portrait of Italy today: a place of trafficking and toxic waste, where democracy is bought and sold, and organised crime rules both north and south.
The authors attempt to avert a potential global catastrophe by showing that the grounds for war do not exist, that there are no Iranian nuclear weapons, and that Iran would happily come to a table and strike a deal. They argue that the military threats aimed by the West against Iran contravene international law, and argue that Iran is a civilised country and legitimate power across the Middle East. Chaired by Bronwen Maddox.
The novelist, author of Honour, The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love develops her mesmerising exploration of writing and identity deriving from her fascination with the silent letter of her Turkish alphabet – the 'Ghost G'.
What are the lessons to be learnt from Libya, Syria and Afghanistan? The senior NATO officer, Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, is joined by the UN Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and the leading international lawyer.
Inspired by the traditional wonder tales of the East, Rushdie’s new novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.
The editors and contributors present the best writing on the Arab revolutions from prominent journalists, activists, bloggers, academics and writers who participated in and bore witness to the ongoing uprisings and struggles.
No American statesman has been as revered and as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Hailed by some as the ‘indispensable man’, whose advice has been sought by every president from John F Kennedy to George W Bush, he has also attracted immense hostility from critics who have cast him as an amoral Machiavellian – the ultimate, cold-blooded ‘realist’. In his first volume of biography, the historian examines Kissinger’s early life (as a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, a poor immigrant in New York, a GI at the Battle of the Bulge, an interrogator of Nazis, and a student of history at Harvard) to understand his debt to the philosophy of idealism. By tracing his rise, fall and revival as an adviser to Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, Ferguson assesses Kissinger’s contribution to the theory of diplomacy, grand strategy and nuclear deterrence.
The Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize-winning pioneer of microfinance and founder of the Grameen Bank talks to Nicholas Stern.
The historian tells the story of the British forces as they invade Afghanistan in 1839 and re-establish Shah Shuia ul-Mulk on the throne. The British faced little opposition to the invasion but, two years later, the Afghans rose in answer to the call for jihad and ultimately consigned the British to their most humiliating military defeat of the C19th.
Unshackled now from her role as the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent, the doyenne of international journalism talks about her thirty years as a foreign correspondent. She covered the fall of the Soviet Union from Moscow and the heydays and dogdays of the Clinton administration from Washington. A fluent Russian speaker, she has become the authority on the rise and rule of Vladimir Putin and the re-emergence of Russia as a superpower. She will be Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge from July.
Six years on from his landmark Climate Change Report, Lord Stern thinks he underestimated the predictions of global temperature rise and that we may now be looking not at 2/3° but at 4/5°. On the up side, he sees potential for economic growth in green industries. Chaired by Nik Gowing.
Monbiot is one of the most vocal and eloquent critics of the current consensus; a vital, countervailing voice. He assesses the devastation of the natural world, the crisis of inequality, the corporate takeover of nature, our obsessions with growth and profit and the decline of the political debate over what to do. He asks: how do we stand up to the powerful when they seem to have all the weapons? And: what can we do to prepare our children for an uncertain future?
Sky Rainforest Rescue ambassador Lily Cole features in a short film about her journey to the Brazilian Amazon to explore how people are making a sustainable income living from the rainforest. Join Lily to hear how she is supporting Sky and WWF to help protect 1 billion trees in the Amazon rainforest. Chaired by Andy Fryers.
The Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and this year’s Richard Dimbleby Lecturer, discusses Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016, the 400th anniversary of his death. The RSC’s celebrations in Stratford-upon-Avon include two major new productions to be directed by Doran: King Lear with Antony Sher, and a ground-breaking production of The Tempest with Simon Russell Beale, in collaboration with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios.
We are proud to launch Barbara Winton’s book about her father, the 105-year-old British humanitarian who organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War, in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport. Chaired by Alan Yentob.
The 2015 Nobel Literature Laureate talks about Russia and the USSR. Her Nobel citation was for “her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.
“I don’t ask people about socialism, I ask about love, jealousy, childhood, old age. Music, dances, hairstyles. The myriad sundry details of a vanished way of life. This is the only way to chase the catastrophe into the framework of the mundane and attempt to tell a story. Try to figure things out. It never ceases to amaze me how interesting ordinary, everyday life is. There are an endless number of human truths... History’s sole concern is the facts; emotions are out of its realm of interest. It’s considered improper to admit feelings into history. I look at the world as a writer, not strictly an historian. I am fascinated by people…”
This event will be conducted in Russian, with consecutive translation
The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk about Kevin centres on three generations of the Mandible family as an extreme fiscal crisis hits a near-future America. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon.
Far removed from the picture of Tehran that we glimpse in news stories, there is another hidden city where survival depends on an intricate network of lies and falsehoods. It is a place where Mullahs visit prostitutes, cosmetic surgeons restore girls’ virginity and homemade porn is bought and sold in the bazaars. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
A conversation with the plumber’s mate, lawyer, politician and memoirist, who spent 13 years at the heart of the New Labour government. He was Foreign Secretary at the time of 9/11 and the Iraq War.
Where the majority of a population is illiterate, art is the most effective way to communicate the message. The curator of the new BritishMuseum show examines propaganda ‘art’ as political communication, social cohesion and absolute control.
Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth is an idiosyncratic journey in the company of Gustavo ‘Highway’ Sanchez, an eccentric auctioneer on a mission to replace all his teeth. Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another (in this case Mexico to the United States), especially when there’s no going back. Busquets’ This Too Shall Pass is a lively, sexy and moving novel about a woman facing life in her forties, set on the idyllic Spanish coast.
Just a year ago, the US Presidential race looked set to be a dull affair, dominated by two political dynasties – another Bush versus another Clinton. Now, the stage is set for one of the most unusual, and unsettling, electoral battles in American history. After Obama’s campaign of hope, we have Donald Trump’s scaremongering bid to become the Republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton’s scandal-tinged final stab at the Democratic nomination. Is this really the best that the nation that calls itself the ‘world’s greatest democracy’ can do? And if the answer is yes, is it time to start looking for an alternative political system better suited to the social media age? Newsweek will dissect the chain of events that has led us here and speculate on what the future might hold for the next Commander in Chief. Joining Digital Editor, Serena Kutchinsky, will be Larry Sanders, the academic and Green Party Health Spokesperson, who is the older brother of the US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders; Sarah Churchwell,Professor of the Public Understanding of the Humanities and Professorial Fellow in American Literature, IES School of Advanced Study, University of London, Harvard Professor and author of Kissinger, Niall Ferguson, and Jan Halper Hayes, the Worldwide Vice President and Chairman UK of Republicans Overseas.
The panel members debate the question being put to voters north of Hadrian’s Wall on 18 September 2014, with the Speaker of the House of Commons in the chair. Audience participation included!
It began with an unsigned email: ‘I am a senior member of the intelligence community’. The award-winning investigative journalist takes up the story of the NSA whistleblower. Chaired by James Naughtie.
The journalists who exposed A Very British Killing: The Death Of Baha Mousa and Bosnia: The Reckoning investigate the grotesque misconduct of war and the insidious moral corruption of everyone involved, the decay of public life, and the endemic parallels that exist with Britain’s current institutional structures.
In his widely-acclaimed book Strategy: A History, Freedman considers the history of non-violence as a deliberate strategy, from Gandhi to Martin Luther King. He extends his analysis to Nelson Mandela, considering why the South Africa leader abandoned the armed struggle and chose a path of reconciliation.
The distinguished economist examines the inexorable growth of the world’s second largest economy as it makes the transition from central planning and faces the challenges of a developing country. Chaired by Guto Harri.
While it is common to hear about the problems of overpopulation, might there be unexplored benefits of increasing numbers of people in the world? How can we both consider and harness the potential benefits brought by a healthier, wealthier and larger population? May more people mean more scientists to discover how our world works, more inventors and thinkers to help solve the world’s problems, more skilled people to put these ideas into practice?
The international view of Britain’s place in Europe from the French Ambassador to Berlin, the Colombian author of When Latin America Rules The World and the Director of the Centre for India & Global Business at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
The novelists discuss the way in which fiction illuminates the history, the geography and the spirit of place.
In association with Commonwealth Writers.
Two compelling views of sex and gender in the Middle East. In Superman Is An Arab, her sequel to I Killed Sheherezade, Haddad examines the patriarchal system and machismo that continues to dominate in the Arab world. Sex is entwined in religion and tradition, politics and economics, gender and generations, so it makes the perfect lens for examining the region’s complex social landscape in El Feki’s study of Intimate Life In A Changing Arab World.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag mines new archive material to chronicle Stalin’s brutal evisceration of the civil societies newly liberated from Nazi occupation as his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: communism. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
A conversation about new writing in the Arab world with the PEN Award-winning and Beirut 39 writer Samar Yazbek, author of A Woman In The Crossfire: Diaries Of The Syrian Revolution.
The former Governor of the Bank of England analyses the causes of the global financial crisis. He proposes revolutionary new ideas to answer the central question: are money and banking a form of alchemy or are they the Achilles heel of a modern capitalist economy?
The historian presents his magisterial study of the Jewish people with previews of the themes, stories and arguments that inform the second and final volume of his epic When Words Fail including the persistence of anti-semitism, even after the Holocaust and, disturbingly with gathering force, into our own times.