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.
England is the most complicated place in the world. And, as the journalist and humorist travels through each of the historic English counties, he discovers that’s just the start of it. Every county is fascinating, the product of a millennium or more of history: still a unique slice of a nation that has not quite lost its ancient diversity.
He finds the well-dressers of Derbyshire and the pyromaniacs of Sussex; the Hindus and huntsmen of Leicestershire; the goddess-worshippers of Somerset. He tracks down the real Lancashire, hedonistic Essex, and the most mysterious house in Middlesex. In Durham he goes straight from choral evensong to the dog track. As he seeks out the essence of each county – from Yorkshire’s broad acres to the microdot of Rutland – Engel always finds the unexpected. Chaired by Justin Albert.
The history of 12,000 years of the British landscape, from the Ice Age to the 21st century. A tour de force from the prize-winning author Nicholas Crane, co-presenter of Coast and President of the Royal Geographical Society.
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. Trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group. Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities. Chaired by Georgina Godwin.
Pearson draws on ten years of his Observer columns to explore the rhythms and pleasures of a year in the garden. Travelling between his city-bound plot in Peckham and 20 acres of verdant hillside in Somerset, he celebrates the beautiful skeletons of the winter garden, the joyous passage into spring, the heady smell of summer’s bud break and the flaring of colour in autumn.
On 4 June 2014 in New York the legendary Cape publisher auctions the drawings given to him by John Lennon when they were published 50 years ago. He shows the Beatle’s artwork and tells the story of their collaboration.
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum has become a modern classic – pretty good at only 10 years old. But, as the winner of two Roald Dahl Funny Book Prizes, two Blue Peter Book Awards and the Red House Book Award, this was always something special. Celebrate Mr Gum with the author in an event that is likely to be as riotous as the book.
There are almost a billion guns across the globe today. There are 12 billion bullets produced every year and as many as 500,000 people are killed by them annually. Meeting people affected by guns from all walks of life in 25 countries – porn starlets who appear as snipers in XXX films, Zionist anti-terror gun trainers, El Salvadoran gangland killers – Overton unearths some hard truths about the terrible realities of war and gun crime. Overton is Director of Investigations at the London-based charity Action on Armed Violence and an investigative journalist who has worked in over 80 countries around the world.
The creators of this year’s most staggeringly beautiful book read and present their collaboration. All over the country, there are words disappearing from children’s lives. These are the words of the natural world – dandelion, otter, bramble, acorn – all gone. The rich landscape of wild imagination and wild play is rapidly fading from our children’s minds. Macfarlane and Morris offer a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke. With acrostic spell-poems by award-winning writer Robert Macfarlane and hand-painted illustrations by Jackie Morris, this enchanting book captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.
The Lost Words is our Hay Festival Book of the Year 2017
The composer and librettists of the WNO’s groundbreaking new opera introduce their adaptation of David Jones’ classic First World War poem and screen film clips of the production. Bell’s beautiful score combines traditional Welsh song with moments of other-worldliness, terror, humour and transcendence. David Pountney’s period production is both an evocation and a commemoration of the events of the Somme.