In this 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia three writers tell the stories of people escaping horrors and seeking a better world elsewhere. These are the inside stories of refuge and migrations. McDonald-Gibson is the author of Cast Away: Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis; Kingsley is the author of The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis; Rawlence’s book is City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
In association with Wales Pen Cymru
Rome was first ruled by kings, then became a republic. But in the end, after conquering the world, the republic collapsed. So terrible were the civil wars that the Roman people finally came to welcome the rule of an autocrat who could give them peace. Augustus, their new master, called himself “the divinely favoured one”. The lurid glamour of the dynasty founded by Augustus has never faded. No other family can compare for sheer unsettling fascination with its gallery of leading characters. Tiberius, the great general who ended up a bitter recluse, notorious for his perversions; Caligula, the master of cruelty and humiliation who rode his chariot across the sea; Agrippina, mother of Nero, manoeuvring to bring to power the son who would end up having her murdered; Nero himself, racing in the Olympics, marrying a eunuch, and building a pleasure palace over the fire-gutted centre of his capital.
The writer discusses his 1982 Booker-winning novel about Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who risked his life to protect and rescue Jews from Auschwitz. The book was made into a film by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List.
How intelligent (or otherwise) are robots? Is it a good thing that they can steal our jobs? And will robots ever take over the world? Dr Iida is a Lecturer in Mechatronics at Cambridge.
The story of the frigate Mercedes and the return of its treasures to Spain has caught people’s attention over the last few months. But one question remains unanswered. Why has Spain still not managed to set up a major scientific study of the galleon and its treasure? Carlos León, archeologist, technical director of the exhibition The last voyage of Mercedes; writer Mari Pau Domínguez, author of Las dos vidas del capitán, and lawyer José María Lancho, specialist in underwater archeological heritage, talk to Jesús García Calero, director of the culture section of ABC newspaper.
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.
From nanomaterials and ancient oceans to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, three Royal Society Research Fellows introduce and discuss their work at the forefront of science with climatologist and broadcaster Gabrielle Walker.
Two readings: the geographer, Dorling, tells the stories of the people who live along The 32 Stops Of The Central Line to illustrate the extent and impact of inequality in Britain today. Wadham introduces her Heads And Straights: The Circle Line, an autobiographical tale of bohemians, punk, the King’s Road in the 1970s and family.TFL celebrates 150 years of the Tube with Penguin
Re-examining the differing impacts of WWI on Britain, Ireland and the United States, The Long Shadow throws light on the whole of the last century and demonstrates that the First World War is a conflict from which Britain, more than any other nation, is still recovering.
Bellaigue tells the forgotten stories of key figures and reformers of Islam’s past 200 years in The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason; from Egypt’s visionary ruler Muhammad Ali to brave radicals such as Iran’s first feminist Qurrat al-Ayn. Terror in France: The Rise of Jihad in the West by Gilles Kepel is the explosive account of the radicalisation of a segment of Muslim youth that led to the 2016 atrocities at Bataclan and in Nice, and of the failure of governments in France and across Europe to address it.
The maritime strategist and former Rear Admiral argues that in the second decade of the 21st century, the sea is set to reclaim its status as the world’s pre-eminent strategic medium. Parry makes the case that the next decade will witness a ‘scramble’ for the sea, involving competition for oceanic resources and the attempted political and economic colonisation of large tracts of what have, until now, been considered international waters and shipping routes. Chaired by Horatio Clare.
Sally Gardner and David Roberts talk and draw their way through the latest case, Operation Bunny.
Mahfouz introduces her vibrant anthology with two of her star contributors. Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle Eastern heritage whose dreams of playing a ghostbuster spiral into repeat castings as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honour killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo.
The interlocking themes of Establishment and Meritocracy form a crucial part of the intellectual compost that made Hennessy’s generation of post-war Britons. The Establishment and the concept of a growing and eventually self-propelling meritocracy were always at odds, and the policies that brought it about dramatically altered British society. He talks to economist Susie Symes, Chair of 19 Princelet Street.
The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together? In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link: corruption. Since the late 1990s, corruption has reached such an extent that some governments resemble glorified criminal gangs, bent solely on their own enrichment. These kleptocrats drive indignant populations to extremes-ranging from revolution to militant puritanical religion. Chayes is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of The Punishment of Virtue. Harding is the author of A Very Expensive Poison [see event 83] and one of the journalists on the Panama Papers story. They talk to Oliver Bullough, Orwell Prize shortlisted author of Let Our Fame Be Great and the writer and presenter of the film about Ukranian corruption Bloody Money [see event 443].
What do you do when you’re labelled abnormal in a world obsessed with normality? If you grow up in a world where wrinkles are practically illegal, cellulite is cause for a mental breakdown and women over a size ten are encouraged to shoot themselves (immediately), what the **** do you do if you’re, gasp, disabled? The comedian discusses her memoir of growing up with cerebral palsy.
The Pirates Next Door creator is back with a new bestseller in which Rex plots to be the King of Space. Luckily, when he goes too far with his dung-blasters, Mum is nearby…