William Nicholson’s new novel, The Lovers of Amherst, interweaves the stories of a young, contemporary researcher into the life and work of the reclusive American poet, Emily Dickinson, with that of the poet’s milieu during a turbulent period in the 1880s. The story from the past revolves around an illicit love affair conducted by Emily Dickinson’s married brother, in which the poet colluded. The theme stems from William Nicholson’s long-standing fascination with Emily Dickinson’s work as well as his interest in the wellsprings and consequences of erotic passion. Nicholson’s plays include Shadowlands and Life Story. He co-wrote the script for the film Gladiator and he has scripted Les Misérables and Mandela. Emily Dickinson’s poetry will be read by actress Lisa Dwan.
The world’s leading expert in forensic cyberpsychology analyses everything from the impact of screens on the developing child to the explosion of teen sexting. She examines the acceleration of compulsive and addictive online behaviours (gaming, shopping, pornography) and the escalation in cyberchondria (self-diagnosis online), cyberstalking and organised crime in the Deep Web. Cyberspace is an environment full of surveillance, but who is looking out for us?
Mirror, Mirror: The Uses and Abuses of Self-Love
Everyone deplores narcissism, especially in others. The vain are by turns annoying or absurd, offending us whether they are blissfully oblivious or proudly aware of their behaviour. But are narcissism and vanity really as bad as they seem? Can we avoid them even if we try?
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 author was terrified of beetles until she started to write Beetle Boy, when she discovered that they support the eco-system of the whole planet. As a result, she created Baxter the rhinoceros beetle, side-kick to Darkus, who needs all the help he can get to find his missing father, in this funny and heart-warming story. Dr Sarah Beynon is an expert entomologist and head of Beynon's Bug Farm, with some very cool beetles.
Reason, we are told, is what makes us human, the source of our knowledge and wisdom. But if reason is so useful, why didn’t it also evolve in other animals? If it is that reliable, why do we produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? Mercier’s provocative and brilliant suggestion is that reason helps us justify our beliefs and actions to others, convince them through argument and evaluate the justifications and arguments that they address to us.
The way the body moves, feels, breathes, and engages with the world has been viewed very differently across times and cultures. For centuries, we were believed to be composed of souls that were part of the body and inseparable from it. Now we exist in our heads, and our bodies have become the vessels for that uncertain and elusive thing we call our true selves. The way we understand the material structure of the body has also changed radically over the centuries. From the bones to the skin, from the senses to the organs of sexual reproduction, every part of the body has an ever-changing history, dependent on time, culture, and place. Fay Bound Alberti is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow in History at Queen Mary University of London.
Two international superstars read and discuss their stories with Daniel Hahn. Kehlman presents his new novel F: the Friedland brothers have nothing in common. Martin is a priest with no faith. Ivan is an artist with no integrity. Eric is a financier – now, with no money. Each, in their own way, a fake. Each about to step into the abyss. Nors introduces her glitteringly funny and acute stories of Danish life collected in Karate Chop / Minna Needs Rehearsal Space. Blending compassion with dark delight, Nors conjures up a flawed, unsettlingly familiar world with each cautionary glance as fresh moments of wonder, romance and frail beauty are unexpectedly infiltrated by depravity, isolation and despair.
The dearly treasured Booker Prize-winning novelist, screenwriter and dramatist discusses his work. His books include The Barrytown Trilogy, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, Oh Play That Thing, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors and Two Pints. He also co-wrote Roy Keane’s memoir The Second Half. His stage adaptation of The Commitments is now running on the West End in London. In the television series Father Ted, the character Father Dougal Maguire’s unusual sudden use of (mild) profanities is blamed on his having 'been reading those Roddy Doyle books again.' Roddy talks to Sean Rocks, presenter of Arena on RTÉ Radio 1.
The author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and The Absolutist introduces his new novel. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night…
War, glory, despair and mourning: for 2,700 years Homer has gripped listeners and readers with the stories of Achilles’ anger and Hector’s death, and of Odysseus’ decade-long journey home from Troy. Verity discusses his vigorous and elegant new translations with Peter Florence.
How do satnavs find the quickest route from one town to another? What’s the most efficient way to visit the best pubs in the UK? Is it true that all living things in the world are six or fewer degrees of separation away from each other? The Cardiff mathematician shows, pictorially, how the many problems in everyday life can be modelled as networks: from the colouring of maps to the way Facebook makes friend recommendations.
In this illustrated lecture the art historian explores our obsession with the human body and compares the classical perfection of the nude with the raw, intensely human representation of the C20th and C21st. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
How should we value the Arts in the schools curriculum? What do we learn from putting on plays, playing in bands, painting and dancing? The CEO of the Creative Industries Federation and his guests challenge the government’s focus on STEM subjects and examine the place of culture in British education and the national economy.
Oceans are the most mysterious places on earth. Their depths remain largely unexplored, yet 95% of the planet’s habitable space lies within them. And now the life they support hangs in the balance.
The winning author and translator of Celestial Bodies join us for a conversation with the chair of the jury. Celestial Bodies is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present.
Bettany Hughes says: “Through the different tentacles of people’s lives and loves and losses we come to learn about this society – all its degrees, from the very poorest of the slave families working there to those making money through the advent of a new wealth in Oman and Muscat. It starts in a room and ends in a world. We felt we were getting access to ideas and thoughts and experiences you aren’t normally given in English. It avoids every stereotype you might expect in its analysis of gender and race and social distinction and slavery. There are surprises throughout. We fell in love with it.”
The new star of Israeli literatura speaks with the journalist and editor in chief of the international section of El País, Guillermo Altares, about her book The People of Forever Are Not Afraid: A Novel (La gente como nosotros no tiene miedo, Alfaguara) in which she captures the frustration, cruelty, rage and pain depicted in the military service of young soldiers. Translated into 23 languages, awarded with the «5 Under 35» and finalist of the 2013 Sami Rohr and the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013.
Simultaneous translation from English into Spanish.
Co-organised with the Embassy of Israel in Spain.
We are locked in by our buildings, roads and homes, and the high, unsustainable energy use they depend on. Lindsay Mackie of the New Weather Institute; Howard Johns, author of The Energy Revolution and author Andrew Simms discuss how we can instigate the transformational change required to make our homes and cities viable in the future.
When Tony Blair became prime minister in May 1997, he was, at 43, the youngest person to hold that office since 1812. With a landslide majority, his approval rating was 93% and he went on to become Labour’s longest-serving premier. What went wrong? #Corruptiooptimipessima. The Chilcot report is expected in June.