Gonzo Davies, back-row forward and builder, knows the highs and lows of life; but as political and industrial corruption conspire to give parochial violence a national and international dimension, is he prepared to become the target of dark forces? The bestselling author of The Greatest Welsh XV Ever, best known now as the BBC’s voice of international rugby, brings us his first novel and looks forward to this autumn's Rugby World Cup.
The authorised biography of the Tottenham, Arsenal and England defender is a frank and often blistering account of a life lived between the soaring heights of celebrity football and the despairing depths of personal trauma. He talks to the author of Wenger.
How do professionals across all sectors develop the survival skills for a resilient future? Join us to take the great ideas you’ve jotted on the back of beer mats or napkins and make them real.
Join the acclaimed actress and anthologist for a sizzling reading of some of the joyous, magical and humorous poems from her anthology. In a dazzling display of poetry, the show journeys through a calendar year, with poems celebrating events such as Martin Luther King Day and the first day of Spring before ending with Michael Rosen’s The Car Trip.
Sir Tony Robinson and Beatie Edney of Poldark will be performing alongside Allie Esiri.
Chris Riddell will be live drawing the event. Tony Robinson and Beatie Edney will be performing poems.
On the shrouded corpse hung a tablet of green topaz with the inscription: ‘I am Shaddad the Great. I conquered a thousand cities; a thousand white elephants were collected for me; I lived for a thousand years and my kingdom covered both east and west, but when death came to me nothing of all that I had gathered was of any avail. You who see me take heed: for Time is not to be trusted.’
Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest known Arabic short stories, surviving in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some found their way into The Arabian Nights but most have never been read in English before. Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange has monsters, lost princes, jewels beyond price, a princess turned into a gazelle, sword-wielding statues and shocking reversals of fortune.
Robert Irwin’s books include For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies, The Middle East in the Middle Ages, The Arabian Nights: A Companion and (as editor) The Penguin Anthology of Classical Arabian Literature. Azar Nafisi taught Western literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University and the University of Allameh Tabatabai in Iran. In 1981 she was expelled from the University of Tehran after refusing to wear the veil. In 1994 she won a teaching fellowship from Oxford University, and in 1997 she and her family left Iran for America. She is the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Things I’ve Been Silent About.
From the young woman who avoided the dreaded ‘forces bloomers’ by making knickers from military-issue silk maps, to Vogue’s indomitable editor Audrey Withers, who balanced lobbying government on behalf of her readers with driving lorries for the war effort, Julie Summers weaves together stories from ordinary lives and high society to provide a unique picture of life during the Second World War. As a nation went into uniform and women took on traditional male roles, clothing and beauty began to reflect changing social attitudes. For the first time, fashion was influenced not only by Hollywood and high society but by the demands of industrial production and the pressing need to ‘make-do-and-mend’.
Never in human history was there such an opportunity for freedom of expression. If we have internet access, any one of us can publish almost anything we like and potentially reach an audience of millions. And never was there a time when the evils of unlimited speech flowed so easily across frontiers: violent intimidation, gross violations of privacy, tidal waves of abuse. With vivid examples – from his personal experience of China’s Orwellian censorship apparatus to the controversy around Charlie Hebdo as well as a very English court case involving food writer Nigella Lawson – Garton Ash proposes a framework for civilized conflict in a world in which we are all becoming neighbours.
Photo: Olivia Hemmingway
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.
The legendary musician shares the insights and experience of his sixty-year career with Clemency Burton-Hill. ‘This book distils what, at my advanced age, I feel able to say about music, musicians, and matters of my pianistic profession.’
One of the world authorities on medieval children and schools examines the poetry and stories of the middle ages, the myths and the legends. Chaired by Simon Mundy.
Shamsie’s epic story A God In Every Stone starts in 1914 and carries us across the globe, into the heart of empires fallen and conquered, from Ypres to Peshawar. Young’s The Heroes’ Welcome is a sequel to My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You. For those who fought, those who healed and those left behind, 1919 is a year freighted with perilous beginnings, unavoidable realities and gleams of indestructible hope. The authors talk to Ted Hodgkinson.
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.
A conversation about risk and resurgence. Barrett is the co-author of Extreme: Why Some People Thrive at the Limits, which examines what we can learn from people who embrace high-risk work and life and are attuned to survival. Sian Williams, one the nation’s most trusted broadcasters, is also a trauma assessor. She is the author of Rise: Surviving and Thriving After Trauma (embargoed until 30 May).
Nothing can quite prepare you for the hells and joys of fatherhood, but Brian’s fabulous stories will be a consolation, a guide and a friendly treasure.
The Egyptian novelist discusses her writing and her heroic Palfest festival, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year with an anthology This Is Not a Border: Reportage and Reflection from the Palestine Festival of Literature. Soueif’s fiction includes In The Eye of the Sun and The Map of Love. Her non-fiction work includes Cairo: Memoir of a City Transformed.
This event will be recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books