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.
In C17th Italy, the number of girls and young women entering convents rose rapidly as dowries became increasingly expensive. Not all the girls went willingly and some left powerful written accounts of their experiences.
Entry to this event is free but you must reserve a ticket.
Two days after the European elections and a year from the next UK General Election, the journalist gives us the skinny on the state of the coalition government. Will Boris get a seat? Will Dave’s set club together with Nigel? Will Nick be Deputy PM forever?
We flatter ourselves about the nature of free will. And yet the most enormous forces – biological, physical, metaphysical – constrain our every action. Instead of embracing our condition we battle against it, with everyone from world conquerors to modern scientists dreaming of a ‘human dominion’ almost comically at odds with our true state. The philosopher talks to Francine Stock.
We often joke that teenagers don’t have brains. For some reason, it’s socially acceptable to mock people in this stage of their lives. The need for intense friendships, the excessive risk taking and the development of many mental illnesses – depression, addiction, schizophrenia – begin during these formative years. Drawing upon cutting-edge research in her London laboratory, the neuroscientist explains what happens inside the adolescent brain, what her team’s experiments have revealed about our behaviour, and how we relate to each other and our environment as we go through this period of our lives. She shows that while adolescence is a period of vulnerability, it is also a time of enormous creativity – one that should be acknowledged, nurtured and celebrated. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
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.
Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment about its plausibility. In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects. Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true and that an even wilder reality may lie behind them. Penrose is one of the world’s foremost theoretical physicists.
The psychologist cuts a fascinating exposé of modern office life and suggests How To Thrive In A World Of Lying, Backstabbing And Dirty Tricks.
From the NHS to corporate tax evasion, from climate change to immigration, Honourable Friends? tells the story of five years in Westminster and offers bold and practical suggestions for a fairer British political system. Caroline Lucas is MP for Brighton Pavilion. She was the leader of the Green Party from 2008 to 2012 and was voted MP of the Year in 2014. Caroline talks to Hay on Earth Director Andy Fryers.