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.
In this sumptuously illustrated lecture the historian asks: were the Vikings, as contemporary description had it, a ‘valiant, wrathful and purely pagan people’ who swept in from the sea to plunder and slaughter? Or, in the words of a Manx folksong, ‘ware-wolves keen in hungry quest’, who lived and died by the sea and the sword? Or were they unusually successful merchants, extortionists and pioneer explorers?
The author made plans to cycle the legendary Via Heraklea. It was an ancient path that took him deep into the world of the Celts: their gods, their art, and, most of all, their sophisticated knowledge of science. Gradually, a lost map revealed itself, of an empire constructed with precision and beauty across vast tracts of Europe. Oriented according to the movements of the Celtic sun god, the map had been forgotten for almost two millennia.
The author of The Serpent’s Promise, Almost Like A Whale, The Language of the Genes and In the Blood conducts an evolutionist’s exploration.
Fuller studies the phenomenon of mass participation in reading events, through book clubs, city reads, festivals and online reading communities.
We are thrilled to launch the publication of the conclusion to the Ibis Trilogy with a rare interview with the novelist. It is 1839 and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war. One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the Hind, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Flood of Fire follows a varied cast of characters from India to China, through the outbreak of the First Opium War and China’s devastating defeat, to Britain’s seizure of Hong Kong.
Photo: Jerry Bauer
Growing up in 1970s Suffolk in a crumbling giant of a house with wild, tangled gardens, the celebrated jeweller was left to wreak havoc by invention. Without visible parental influence but with sisters to love him and brothers to fight for him, he made nature into his world. Creation became a compulsion, whether it was go-karts and guns, cross-bows and booby-traps, boats, bikes or scooters. And then it was jewellery. He talks to Georgina Godwin.
The Catholics of Elizabethan England did not witness a golden age. Their Mass was banned, their priests were outlawed, their faith was criminalised. In an age of assassination and Armada, those Catholics who clung to their faith were increasingly seen as the enemy within. It is a tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies. Chaired by SJ Parris.