The great Arsenal and England defender explains the struggles he’s faced to stay sober for 20 years and why he set up Sporting Chance, the charity which provides treatment and support for sports stars suffering from addictions. He gives his incisive thoughts on England’s continued failings in major tournaments and assesses why Arsenal has struggled to repeat the title-winning formula of his own time there.
After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, barely 17, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Having both fled terrible hardships, their days are now vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and in which they are complicit. But when a young Indian girl crosses their path, Thomas and John must decide on the best way of life for them all in the face of dangerous odds. Barry’s novel won the 2016 Costa Book of the Year award. His previous fiction includes The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, A Long Long Way and The Secret Scripture.
A darkly glinting novel set on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, The Green Road is a story of fracture and family, selfishness and compassion – a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we learn to fill them. The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave the west of Ireland for lives they never could have imagined in Dublin, New York and various third-world towns. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she’s decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold.
The Man Booker-winning novelist (The Gathering) is addicted to the truth of things. Sentence by sentence, there are few writers alive who can invest the language with such torque and gleam, such wit and longing – who can write dialogue that speaks itself aloud, who can show us the million splinters of her characters’ lives then pull them back up together again, into a perfect glass.
This event will be recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books.
Photo: Hugh Chaloner
Taking the audience on a spectacular, enchanting journey across Wales and its glorious landscape, Wilson uses photos from the book to talk about his work, his inspirations and how to set about capturing the perfect image. Chaired by Carolyn Hitt.
Judges have blocked Presidential executive orders in the US and corrected the legality of the Prime Minister’s parliamentary Article 50 procedures in the UK. What should the constitutional role of the courts be in maintaining a proper balance of power in a modern democracy? Professor Penny Darbysh
Assuming no previous linguistic knowledge or familiarity with Middle English, Horobin introduces us to the wonders of Chaucer’s language and the importance of reading him in the original, rather than modern translation.
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 novelist introduces her exquisitely written childhood memoir. Tremain grew up in post-war London, a city of grey austerity, still partly in ruins, where both food and affection were fiercely rationed. The girl known then as Rosie and her sister Jo spent their days longing for their grandparents’ farm, buried deep in the Hampshire countryside, a green paradise of feasts and freedom, where they could at last roam and dream. But when Rosie is ten years old, everything changes. She and Jo lose their father, their London house, their school, their friends and – most agonisingly of all – their beloved Nanny, Vera, the only adult to have shown them real love and affection. But slowly the teenage Rosie escapes from the cold world of the 1950s into a place of inspiration and mischief, of loving friendships and dedicated teachers, where a young writer is suddenly ready to be born.