If a nation is a group of people with a sense of kinship, a political identity and representative institutions, then the English have a claim to be the oldest nation in the world. They first came into existence as an idea, before they had a common ruler and before the country they lived in even had a name. They have lasted as a recognizable entity ever since, and their defining national institutions can be traced back to the earliest years of their history.
On 2 August 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town to begin his life anew. Having survived the ghetto of Lodz, the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the harrowing slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany, his final challenge is to survive the survival. In his intelligent and deeply moving book, Rosenberg returns to his own childhood in order to tell the story of his father; walking at his side, holding his hand, trying to get close to him again. It is also the story of the chasm that soon opens between the world of the child, permeated by the optimism, progress and collective oblivion of postwar Sweden, and the world of the father, darkened by the long shadows of the past.
Owen’s The Quick is a macabre gothic mystery set in Yorkshire and fin de siècle London. Sedgwick’s A Love Like Blood is a dark, compelling thriller about how a man’s life can change in a moment; about where the desire for truth – and for revenge – can lead; about love and fear and hatred. And it is also about the question of blood. They talk to Sameer Rahim.
If we’re going to win the climate war, the battle cry has to be positive. “Pain now or apocalypse later” just doesn’t cut it, and nor does “save the planet”. The climate scientist and strategist argues that it’s time to stop focusing on disaster and start pouring our energy into imagining – and creating – the promised land. Because fundamentally the planet doesn’t care what we do. This is about saving ourselves. Chaired by Jim Al-Khalili.
An intriguing journey of dissonance in science, in nature and in music: how composers have employed it from Baroque music to Rock feedback; how medicine harnesses it to shatter kidney stones and treat cancer; and even how the military uses it in (real and rumoured) weapons. Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.
A masterclass on how to get started in the media. Chaired by BBC Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones. Panellists include Head of Digital Development for Arts, Peter Maniura; Susie Worster, Head of Talent for Shed Media; Sally Garwood, one of the apprentices on BBC Radio’s Journalism scheme, and Creative Access Production trainee Ashley Francis-Roy.
Not for broadcast.
The Medievalist and Fantasy scholar considers our interest in life without death – as vampires, zombies or in other forms, and as it appears in myth, folklore, literary novels and popular culture. What can these stories tell us about the desire for immortality?
In 1962 the pioneering Sunday Times photographer embarked on a project to photograph the profound social and political changes sweeping across the world, from the slow disintegration of the Middle East, the early collapse of the Communist bloc and the rise of African nationalism, to the totalitarianism of China and North Korea, and the disparities of wealth and poverty in the Americas. Fifty years on, he shows his photogaphs and discusses them with filmmaker Corisande Albert.
Since the early days of the Raj, cricket has been entwined with national identity and Pakistan’s successes helped to define its status in the world. In recent years its cricketers have been a prey to problems which have threatened Pakistan’s very existence: fall out from the ‘war on terror’, sectarian violence, gangsterism and corruption, deep-seated crises in education, health and the environment, and a shortage of effective leaders. For twenty years, Pakistani cricket has been stained by the scandalous behaviour of the players involved in match-fixing.
A warm and joyful look at a child’s world and all the things they love. Follow on from the Booktrust Early Years Award-winner I Love My Mummy.
The eminent neurologist examines the stories of people whose symptoms are so strange that even their doctor struggles to know how to treat them. A man who sees cartoon characters running across the room; a teenager who one day arrives home with inexplicably torn clothes; a girl whose world turns all Alice in Wonderland; another who transforms into a ragdoll whenever she even thinks about moving. The brain is the most complex structure in the universe and neurologists must puzzle out life-changing diagnoses from the tiniest of clues – it’s the ultimate in medical detective work. O’Sullivan’s book about psychosomatic illness, It’s All in Your Head, won both the Wellcome Book Prize and the Royal Society of Biology Book Prize. She talks to Rosie Boycott.
The award-winning novelist, author of Restoration, The Road Home, Music and Silence, and The Colour, awakens the senses in this diverse collection of short stories. In her precise yet sensuous style she lays bare the soul of her characters– the admirable, the embarrassing, the unfulfilled, the sexy and the adorable – to uncover a dazzling range of human emotions and desires. She reads, and talks to Peter Florence.