From reconstructing Shakespeare’s accent to the rise and fall of Received Pronunciation, actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father David travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English. Witty, authoritative and jam-packed full of fascinating facts, You Say Potato is a celebration of the myriad ways in which the English language is spoken – and how our accents, in so many ways, speak louder than words.
The tax avoidance practices of multinational companies have recently been at the forefront of political and economic news. To highlight the unfairness of the current situation, a group of small businesses in Crickhowell, Wales, decided to adopt the offshore tax avoidance tactics of large companies. They have branded this movement the ‘Fair Tax Town’ and now intend to export it to other small businesses all over the UK. We explore the rise of algorithm-based companies such as Facebook, Uber and Deliveroo, and show how their offshore status allows them to extract value from countries in a similar manner to the East India Company in the C17th.
The designer Alex Lifschutz and Foyles Trading Director Siôn Hamilton will tell the inside story of a plan hatched in the book trade’s darkest hour to reimagine the iconic London bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Siôn and Alex opened their doors to the publishing industry, holding a series of workshops that provided the insight to inspire an innovative shop design that has caught the imagination of book lovers across the world. Chaired by the editor of The Bookseller.
The brilliant Ross and Christopher explore the wonder of science as a way to explain some of the mysteries of the world in their books, Time Travelling with a Hamster and The Many Worlds of Albie Bright.
The historian introduces his biography of King John – a ruler managing the aftermath of another ruinous Crusade, conflicts with France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, excommunication, taxation and some very demanding Nobles. King John is familiar to everyone as the villain from the tales of Robin Hood — greedy, cowardly, despicable and cruel. But who was the man behind the legend? Was he truly a monster, or a capable ruler cursed by ill luck? In this talk, the historian draws on contemporary chronicles and the king's own letters to bring the real John vividly to life.
Discover the future of screen technology with computer scientist Matt Jones. His team at Swansea University is exploring displays that mutate to create textures and change shape to reveal controls like dials and switches depending on our needs. See some of the early prototypes that are enhancing our digital interactions with the physical world.
Who has won the 2017 Bookseller YA Prize? Join the distinguished line-up of some of the authors shortlisted for the 2017 The Bookseller YA Book Prize as they discuss their books before the moment that the winner is announced and celebrated. The shortlisted authors are: Sara Barnard, Malorie Blackman, Laure Eve, Clare Furniss, Lisa Heathfield, Patrice Lawrence, Peadar O’ Guilin, Francesca Simon, Martin Stewart and Alex Wheatle. Chaired by Gemma Cairney.
In the early evening of 16 October 1834 a huge ball of fire exploded through the roof of the Houses of Parliament, creating a blaze so enormous that it could be seen by the King and Queen at Windsor. Rumours as to the fire’s cause were rife. Was it arson, terrorism, the work of foreign operatives, a kitchen accident, careless builders, or even divine judgement on politicians? Chaired by Jesse Norman.
In a prelude celebration to next year’s 150th anniversary of the Welsh colony in Patagonia, two of the most brilliant writers from the two countries exchange stories across languages and cultures. They talk with Daniel Hahn.
A Ghanaian poet, novelist, editor, social commentator and broadcaster, Nii is an inspirational writer. Join him for this poetry workshop as he takes you through structure, metaphor and imagery to discover the similarities and differences between poetry and rap/hip hop.
Many people consider freedom of expression as a universal right that must not be compromised. In an age of cultural relativism and complex relations between religion, culture and the state, what is the right way to move forward on this debate? Three international heavyweights, Baroness Helena Kennedy (UK), Fawaz Traboulsi (Lebanon) and Hanif Kureishi (UK) discuss with John Kampfner.
Event in English
Whether the issue is violence, terrorism, women’s rights or slavery, Muslims are today expected to provide answers and to justify what Islam is – or is not. Here’s an introduction to the basics from the Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
The illustrator discusses and demonstrates his working practice. This event is aimed at students and young artists.
Antonio Lucas is a consummate poet, as well as a columnist of El Mundo; Peio H. Riaño has displayed his professional insight in the most prominent cultural publications in the country; Fernando R. Lafuente, former director of the Instituto Cervantes; and Jesús Ruiz Mantilla, with five novels in the bookshops, all declare their passion for Roberto Bolaño —already a legend—, justifying and even criticizing it.
Co-organised and produced by AC/E (Acción Cultural Española)
The Speaker of the House, a former Junior competitor and LTA-qualified coach, argues the case for his ranking of the twenty greatest male tennis stars of all time, surface by surface, era by era. Rafa vs Bill Tilden? Perry vs Murray? Federer vs Lacoste? Anyone for an hour of nostalgic fanaticism?
How much do we keep from the people we love? Why is the truth so often buried in secrets? Can we learn from the past or must we forget it? O’Hagan’s fifth novel is a beautiful, deeply charged story about love and memory, about modern war and the complications of fact.
Photo: Tricia Malley Ross Gillespie