Cadwalladr has won the Orwell Prize and the Reporters Without Borders Award for her investigative journalism in The Observer into the subversion of the democratic process and the impact of big data analytics and interventions on the EU Referendum and the American Presidential Election. She discusses her work with Oliver Bullough.
The actor and writer tells stories from his two books Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold and Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures.
The Nobel Prize-winning chemist in conversation with the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science and author of The Book of Humans.
Everyone knows about DNA. It is the essence of our being, influencing who we are and what we pass on to our children. But the information in DNA can’t be used without a machine to decode it. The ribosome is that machine. Older than DNA itself, it is the mother of all molecules. Virtually every molecule made in every cell was either made by the ribosome or by proteins that were themselves made by the ribosome.
A fascinating insider account, Gene Machine charts Ramakrishnan’s unlikely journey from his first fumbling experiments in a biology lab to being at the centre of a fierce competition at the cutting edge of modern science.
A conversation between two writers renowned for their explorations of nature and landscape. Robert Macfarlane's Underland, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated non-fiction book of 2019, takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland's glaciers to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into the planet's past and future, and into darkness and its meanings. Global in its geography, gripping in its voice and haunting in its implications, it is both an ancient and an urgent work.
Macfarlane, a winner of the Hay Festival Prose Medal, is the author of Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks and (with Jackie Morris) The Lost Words. Horatio Clare’s latest books are The Light in the Dark and Something of his Art: Walking to Lübeck with JS Bach – Hay Festival’s Book of the Month for December 2018.
See also event  on 29 May – Spell Songs, a musical performance of The Lost Words – Macfarlane's multi-award-winning collaboration with the artist Jackie Morris.
After more than a hundred years of the internal combustion engine, a new automotive technology has arrived. Cleaner, quieter and fun to drive, electric cars are here, and they are here to stay. But how do we get from 2.6% of new car sales in 2018 to the numbers we need to make a real difference to air pollution, and climate change? The Government has set ambitious targets for the uptake of electric vehicles. If we are to meet them, a change in the way people drive and think about the technology is required. Join Robert Llewellyn, TV presenter, author and electric vehicle expert, Jesse Norman, Former Future of Mobility Minister and local Hereford MP, Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Energy Electric Vehicles and Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers, as well as panellists from the motor and energy industries, to discuss this transition. Chaired by TV presenter and author Kate Humble.
Rugby is a serious global business that is scaling up, and facing regional and global challenges and revolutions. WRU CEO and Chair of GlobalWelsh Martyn Phillips, Sam Warburton, the former Wales, Lions and Cardiff Blues captain and THE ref Nigel Owens discuss all aspects of the sport: its challenges, both on and off the field, and the culture that underpins the essence of the game, in conversation with Carolyn Hitt, author of Wales Play in Red.
For more than twenty-five years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria. He has also volunteered in areas blighted by natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal. Driven by both the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is now widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. Since 2015, the foundation he set up with his wife, Elly, has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets.
Happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on a variety of studies ranging over wellbeing, inequality and discrimination to bust the common myths about our sources of happiness. He shows that there can be many unexpected paths to lasting fulfilment. Some of these might involve not going into higher education, choosing not to marry, rewarding acts rooted in self-interest and caring a little less about living forever. By freeing ourselves from the myth of the perfect life, we might each find a life worth living. Chaired by Horatio Clare.
McEwan’s new novel Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses the fundamental question: what makes us human? Du Sautoy’s new book is The Creativity Code: How AI is learning to write, paint and think.
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown-up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. Alderton’s captivating memoir is about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.
This second of this year’s gala readings celebrates the power of persuasion and words. From calls to arms to demands for peace, this performance captures the voices of prophets and politicians, rebels and tyrants, soldiers and statesman. Speeches' is inspired by Simon Sebag Montefiore’s new book which will be published in October and by the two great Penguin speeches anthologies edited by Brian MacArthur, who died in March this year, and to whom this event is dedicated.
The full cast will be announced on the day.
Come and meet the one and only Michael Rosen and find out all about Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots and Uncle Gobb and the Plot Plot and his other fabulous stories including We're Going on a Bear Hunt as we celebrate its 30th birthday. Jelly Boots is a riotous poetry celebration of words – silly words, funny words, words you only use in your own family, new words, old words, and the very best words in the right order. Uncle Gobb and the Plot Plot is the third uproarious Uncle Gobb adventure and sees Malcolm and his awful Uncle Gobb return, each with a cunning plot…
So many of us believe that we are free to shape our own destiny. But what if free will doesn’t exist? What if our lives are largely predetermined, hardwired in our brains, and our choices over what we eat, who we fall in love with, even what we believe are not real choices at all? Neuroscience is challenging everything we think we know about ourselves, revealing how we make decisions and form our own reality, unaware of the role of our unconscious minds.
Chaired by Bettany Hughes.
350 years ago Rembrandt van Rijn died in poverty - but not obscurity - having sublimely reinvented every genre of art that he touched. Twenty years after his Rembrandt's Eyes was published Simon Schama asks what it is that makes his work so deeply moving and how did he re-make the image of humanity?
Traditional Japanese gardens combine aesthetics with ethics, beauty with philosophy in a perfectly curated celebration of the natural world. A Japanese garden is the world in miniature: rocks represent mountains, ponds represent seas. Natural and man-made elements combine to create a garden that, while natural, is not wild. The gardener and photographer look at the traditions and culture which inform some of the most beautiful and famous gardens from all over Japan, from Kenroku-en to the Zen gardens of Tokyo and the historic beauty of Kyoto, and from the famous cherry blossom celebration hanami to the autumnal crimson magnificence of momijigari.
O’Toole examines how trivial journalistic lies became far-from-trivial national obsessions; how the pose of indifference to truth and historical fact has come to define the style of an entire political elite; how a country that once had colonies is redefining itself as an oppressed nation requiring liberation; the strange gastronomic and political significance of prawn-flavoured crisps; the dreams of revolutionary deregulation and privatisation that drive Arron Banks, Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg; and the silent rise of English nationalism, the force that dare not speak its name. O’Toole is an investigative journalist, historian, biographer, literary critic and political commentator. His acclaimed columns on Brexit for the Irish Times, the Guardian and the New York Review of Books have been awarded both the Orwell Prize and the European Press Prize. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
The Supervet recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.
Britain’s institutions and democracy have been envied around the world for centuries – the mother of parliaments, the centre of an administrative empire that pinked in the world. Are parliament, Whitehall, the City of London, the devolved assemblies, the press, the political parties, the Trades Unions and the traditional powers of the land still fit for purpose? Who runs Britain? How’s that going? Abell is editor of the TLS and author of How Britain Really Works. Olusoga is a broadcaster and Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester. He is the author of Black and British: A Forgotten History. Maddox is Director of the Institute for Government. She has been Foreign Editor of The Times and Editor of Prospect.
The world is messing with our minds. Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious? After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.
The Newsnight presenter takes us behind the camera and onto the newsroom floor: “The things that are said on camera are only part of the story. Behind every interview there is a backstory. How it came about. How it ended. The compromises that were made. The regrets, the rows, the deeply inappropriate comedy. Making news is an essential but imperfect art. It rarely goes according to plan.
I never expected to find myself wandering around the Maharani of Jaipur’s bedroom with Bill Clinton or invited to the Miss USA beauty pageant by its owner, Donald Trump. I never expected to be thrown into a provincial Cuban jail, or to be drinking red wine at Steve Bannon’s kitchen table or spend three hours in a lift with Alan Partridge. I certainly didn’t expect the Dalai Lama to tell me the story of his most memorable poo.
The beauty of television is its ability to simplify. That’s also its weakness: it can distil everything down to one snapshot, one sound bite. Then the news cycle moves on.”
Join us for a fascinating talk that weaves the personal and the cultural, the social and the political, and explores what it means to be human in our age of uncertainties and conflicts. The novelist reflects on identity, gender and belonging, looking at a range of nations and cultures from Turkey to Hungary, from America to Brazil and Russia. How can writing nurture the markers of democracy, tolerance, the acceptance of diversity and progress? Where do we look for balance and truth, for clarity and hope?
The Wellcome Book Prize lecture aims to celebrate the place of medicine, science and the stories of illness in literature, arts and culture, and how these stories add to our understanding of what it means to be human. Elif Shafak is chair of judges for the 2019 prize, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and an advocate for women’s rights, LGBT rights and freedom of speech. Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books, eleven of which are novels. Her work has been translated into fifty languages. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people who will "make the world better".
Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
When Kapka Kassabova was a child, the border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece was rumoured to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall, so it swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives. Today she sets out on a journey to meet the people of this triple border – Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, and the latest wave of refugees fleeing conflict further afield. She discovers a region that has been shaped by the successive forces of history: by its own past migration crises, by communism, by two world wars, by the Ottoman Empire, and – older still – by the ancient legacy of myths and legends. Border has won multiple awards including the British Academy’s Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2018.
Wolf illuminates a dramatic history – how a single English law in 1857 led to a maelstrom, with reverberations lasting to our day. That law was the Obscene Publications Act. Dissent and morality became legal concepts: if writers, editors, printers and booksellers did not uphold the law and the morals of society they faced serious criminal penalties. This was most dramatic regarding anything to do with love between men; homosexuality was linked to deviancy in the eyes of the law. Wolf portrays the dramatic ways this censorship played out among a bohemian group of sexual dissidents, including Walt Whitman in America and the English critic John Addington Symonds. Both a fascinating story and, crucially, an important way of understanding how the Act created homophobia and our ideas of ‘normalcy’ and ‘deviancy’, Outrages also shows the way it helped usher in the state’s purported need and right to police speech. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.