All over the world, Shakespeare’s plays find an audience, but often hidden within productions are thought-provoking, often controversial themes, about corruption, overthrowing power or teenage love. These areas of debate might rarely get staged, were it not for the cloak of Shakespeare’s ‘respectability’. This session discusses how Shakespeare slips by the censors, both historically and today. Simon Callow is an actor and writer. David Aaronovitch is a journalist who writers for The Times. Rachel Jolley is the editor of Index on Censorship. Alexa Huang teaches at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C
Contributors to a ground-breaking new book, Roald Dahl: Wales of the Unexpected, discuss the vital presence of Wales in the work of ‘the world’s number one storyteller’. This is Dahl wonderfully defamiliarised in his centenary year through the lens of the country of his birth and early life.
Presented by The Welsh Academy
The chair of the Wellcome Book Prize jury reflects on how we share what we know, and how science progresses. The shortlist for this year’s prize is The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss, It’s All In Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan, Playthings by Alex Pheby, The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink and NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman. The winner is announced on 25 April.
The true story of a lethal spy triangle with three men at its centre – a brilliant, ruthless, British secret agent called Roger Landes; the Gestapo counter-espionage officer Friedrich Dohse, who was charged with finding him; and French Resistance leader André Grandclément, who was responsible for the most controversial betrayal that took place in wartime France. From 1942 until 1944 these three enemies were drawn into a lethal dance in which comrades, Allied agents and downed pilots were sold to the Germans as casually as crates of wine. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
How did our mariners manage without digital GPS? Captain Wells, master of Cunard’s QM2, traces the history of navigating the oceans by measuring the heavens using sextants and astrolabes; and author and broadcaster Ridpath, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, explores the mythology surrounding key constellations.
In this hilarious tale of teen angst, discovering his parents are secret nudists is just one of the cringe-making events Mike Swarbrick has to deal with. A very funny new writer for teens.
Duration 45 mins.
Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates and Richard Spruce were English naturalists who went to Amazonia 150 years ago. All three explored an unknown river and had many thrilling adventures: violent attacks of malaria, fearful rapids, murder attempts, encounters with newly contacted indigenous peoples, shipwrecks, and many other hardships. In addition to their huge contributions to knowledge of the Amazonian environment, each is particularly famous for one discovery. Wallace is acknowledged as a co-discoverer, along with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution. Bates discovered protective mimicry among insects, a phenomenon named after him. Spruce transported the quinine-bearing Cinchona tree, the most important medicinal plant of the nineteenth century, to India, where it saved countless lives from malaria.
Jane Austen’s comic masterpiece was published 200 years ago by John Murray. Our awareness of her heroine’s limitations is one of the great joys of the book. The Guardian’s Digested Read satirist is joined by UCL’s Emeritus Professor of English, John Sutherland – co-author of The Connell Guide to Jane Austen’s Emma, Lives of the Novelists and How To Be Well Read – to celebrate the book.