James lost his mother when he was seven. Shipped from home to home and subject to the whims of various care-givers after his father turned to alcohol and violence, he committed his first crime of breaking and entering when he was ten. His teenage and early adult years were spent drifting, and his petty crime turned increasingly violent, culminating in the terrible events for which he was jailed for life in 1984. Entering prison at 27, James struggled to come to terms with the enormity of his crimes and a future without purpose or hope. Then he met Joan, a prison psychologist, who helped him to confront the painful truth of his past, and to understand how it had shaped him from such a young age. Encouraged to read and to educate himself, over the next 20 years Erwin James would go on to receive a BA in History and become a regular columnist for the Guardian.
Kalfar’s The Spaceman of Bohemia is an extraordinary vision of the endless human capacity to persist and risk everything in the name of love and home. Nors’ Mirror, Shoulder, Signal is a witty, gut wrenching, lyrical tale of one woman’s journey in search of herself when there’s no-one to ask for directions. The Danish novelist is longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. They talk to Rosie Goldsmith.
‘Strange’ is the new ‘normal’ for global events. Throughout history, folk tales emerged to help us come to terms with extreme events. With the world as it is today, might stories make better sense of things than news reports? Artist and playwright Sarah Woods is joined by Andrew Simms, editor of a new collection of tales There was a Knock at the Door, and Bill McGuire, Professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at UCL and author of Waking the Giant.
Bonhams’ Head of Books and Manuscripts talks about the collectors who have made and lost fortunes in rare books. He gives a summary of price trends in the book market, and considers whether rare books are a good investment.
Patrick Deville a reçu le Prix Femina 2012 pour son dernier ouvrage Peste et choléra. Fondateur de la Maison des Écrivains Étrangers et Traducteurs de Saint-Nazaire (France) et grand voyageur (il a visité le Moyen-Orient, l’Afrique et l’Amérique centrale), il est l’auteur de plus de dix romans traduits dans une douzaine de langues.
Événement en français
Updale writes about the last minute of life for hundreds of people, and McCaughrean about a seaside theatre’s very last performance. Find out what is so absorbing about the end of things.
General Sir Richard Shirreff, one of Britain’s highest-ranking soldiers and until recently Deputy Head of NATO, was threatened with court martial when he dared to criticise David Cameron’s defence policy. What he says here goes much further. He brings an urgent warning: We are sleepwalking our way into war with Russia and we need to act now, with resolution, to avoid it.
With its taut narrative and its wincingly visceral portrait of a man locked in an uneven struggle with the forces of nature, Jones’s Cove is a powerful new work from one of the most distinctive voices in British fiction. Jufresa’s Umami is a quietly devastating novel of missed encounters, missed opportunities, missed people, and those who are left behind. Compassionate, surprising, funny and inventive, it deftly unpicks their stories to offer a darkly comic portrait of contemporary Mexico, as whimsical as it is heart-wrenching.
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?
With the world’s population expected to hit 10 billion by 2100, the earth’s capacity to sustain the human population and its increasing demands remains a critical issue. What are the energy implications for Ireland? What will be the balance between technological breakthrough and lifestyle change?
The historian argues for the predominance in any society of one of three broad value systems – that of the merchant (commercial and competitive); the soldier (aristocratic and militaristic); and the sage (bureaucratic or creative). These ‘castes’ struggle alongside the worker (egalitarian and artisanal) for power. Then comes a point of drastic change and the result is economic crisis, war or revolution, and eventually a new caste takes over.
The trailblazing economist, author of The Carbon Crunch, shows the commonly held view that environmental protection poses obstacles to economic progress to be false. He explains why the environment must be at the very core of economic planning. He presents the first real attempt to calibrate, measure and value ‘natural capital’ from an economic perspective and goes on to outline a stable new framework for sustainable growth.
A beautifully weighted memoir of political success and failure from the son of an Earl, who after Eton and Oxford found himself in cabinet and at the heart of Margaret Thatcher’s government. Just as his star was in the ascent, Waldegrave became embroiled in a scandal that tarnished his reputation but could not dampen his voracious enthusiasm for the political game.
A dazzling vision of the future. Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or ‘ems’: scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer and you have a robot brain but recognisably human. Applying decades of expertise in physics, computer science and economics, Hanson uses standard theories to paint a detailed picture of a world dominated by ems. Chaired by Daniel Davis.
The changing ‘treescape’ of the UK holds clues to social, political and natural events throughout history. From agriculture to boat building, Dutch elm disease and the great storm of 1987, the state of trees and woods in our landscape tell a story of our past and hold lessons for our future. Author Fiona Stafford and woodland ecologist George Peterken, both featured in Arboreal, a Common Ground collection of woodland writing, talk to Christiana Payne, Professor of History of Art at Oxford Brookes University.
Celebrate everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant, on the very first Elmer Day. Listen to the wonderful stories about Elmer, and share in the funny adventures he and his friends get up to. Come dressed in your brightest clothes.
Maclean assembles a dazzlingly eclectic cast of Berliners over five centuries, from the wild medieval balladeer to the ambitious prostitute who refashioned herself as a royal princess. Alongside them we encounter Marlene Dietrich flaunting her sexuality in The Blue Angel, Goebbels concocting Nazi iconography, Hitler fantasising about the mega-city Germania and David Bowie recording Heroes.
What happens when fossil fuels run out? How do communities and cultures survive? After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky and South Wales. Stories of coalfield residents who must create new careers illustrate the challenge of creating a sustainable future. Introduced by the film’s director.
You can book this event together with events  and  at a discounted price of £12. Please call the Box Office on 01497 822629 to proceed with this offer, and we will remove the £3 booking fee.
Macbeth, Macbeth is by Fernie and Palfrey, with stunning original pictures by de Freston. The tragedy is done, the tyrant Macbeth dead. The time is free. But for how long? As Macduff pursues dreams of national revival, smaller lives are seeding. In the ruins of Dunsinane, the Porter tries to keep his three young boys safe from the nightmare of history. In a nunnery deep in Birnam Wood, a girl attempts to forget what she lost in war. Flitting between them, a tortured clairvoyant shakes with the knowledge of what’s to come. An unprecedented collaboration between two leading Shakespeareans, Macbeth, Macbeth sparks a whole new world from the embers of Shakespeare’s darkest play.
Join a stellar line-up of some of this year’s shortlisted authors for The Bookseller YA Prize as they are put under the spotlight by the judges before the winner is finally revealed. And celebrate with them afterwards! This year’s frontrunners are Holly Bourne, Sarah Crossan, Jenny Downham, Frances Hardinge, Catherine Johnson, Patrick Ness, Louise O’Neill, Mel Salisbury, William Sutcliffe and Lisa Williamson.