Val McDermid is one of the bestselling authors of thriller novels in the English-speaking world. Her prolific literary work, which has been translated into more than 30 languages, includes titles such as The Wire in the Blood, The Distant Echo and her latest work The Retribution. She has received the prestigious CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger prize, awarded for her contribution to the genre throughout her career. She talks to writer and contributor for The Guardian, Giles Tremlett.
Simultaneous translation from English into Spanish.
Co-organized with the British Council
Once upon a (very, very) long time ago Jo Brand was what you might describe as ‘a nice little girl’. Of course, that was before the values of cynicism, misogyny and the societal expectation that Jo would be thin, feminine and demure sent her off down Arsey Avenue. Now she’s considerably further along life’s inevitable bloody ‘journey’ – and she’s fucked up enough times to feel confident she has no wisdom to offer anyone. But who cares? She’s going to do it anyway...
Science sometimes looks like a rather forbidding activity, carried out behind closed doors by mysterious, white-coated individuals, speaking their own incomprehensible language. But at the most basic level, the quest to understand the world around us is a fundamentally human activity. Science belongs, and has belonged, to all of us – and we all have a responsibility for it. That is what the history of science shows – and that’s why it matters very much indeed. Morus is the author of The Oxford Illustrated History of Science.
Photo: Marie Curie
Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923-2014) wrote brilliant novels about what love can do to people, but in her own life the lasting relationship she sought so ardently always eluded her. The biographer examines the life of the author of The Cazalet Chronicle, her marriages to the naturalist Peter Scott and the novelist Kingsley Amis, as well as her turbulent relationships with Cecil Day-Lewis, Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee. Cooper’s biography depicts a woman trying to make sense of her life through her writing, as well as illuminating the literary world in which she lived.
In Dubai, a luxury apartment block is built in the shape of a giant iPod. In China, President Xi Jinping denounces the trend of constructing ‘bizarre’ new buildings in wacky shapes and colours. In Cincinnati, celebrity architect Zaha Hadid is paid millions to design a single ‘iconic’ structure – with the hope of single-handedly transforming the region’s ailing fortunes. These incidents are all part of the same story: the rise of the age of spectacle. Chaired by Simon Jenkins.
Dylan Moore hosts this conversation about two extraordinary novels. Seven-year-old Esther must negotiate adult dysfunction, and a school environment that exposes her to further prejudice and injustice. Joso’s From Seven to the Sea is a window onto the world of a child who rejects convention and expectation. Esther embarks on a creative expedition into liberty and free-thinking; and each day, in place of school, sets out to sea. Deborah Kay Davies’ Tirzah and the Prince of Crows is set in a remote valley in Wales. It is 1974, and Tirzah is sixteen, pretty, witty and wise. Brought up in a staunchly religious family, she has lived a sheltered life. But then she meets a boy. As she begins to struggle against the confines of her community, juggling everyone’s expectations and trying to find her own way in the world, life takes an unexpected turn, ultimately teaching her that freedom springs from within.
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.
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.
The distinguished art historian presents his elegant and intriguing survey of the evolution of visual art in Wales from the Renaissance to the present day, told through landscape and portrait paintings, drawings and sculptures. Chaired by Jon Gower.
The British government’s own analysis of the economic impact of Brexit forecasts a fall in gross domestic product of 9% for Wales. The role of non-resident Welsh people (the Welsh Diaspora) and their soft power, in bringing new wealth and prosperity to Wales, is of huge importance and could be transformational. With global engagement changing the fortunes of nations and exerting huge influence over many aspects of public life and economic development, it’s time Wales got serious about diaspora. Mark Neale, CEO and founder of Mountain Warehouse, Kingsley Atkins, the founder and CEO of Ireland’s Diaspora Matters, and Rachel Minto, an EU expert based at Cardiff University, talk to Guto Harri.
100 years on, as Russia again fills the headlines, an intriguing insight into a world shocked and changed forever. The British Library curator introduces the most resonant exhibits from their Russian collection -- from a first edition of the Communist Manifesto to anti-Bolshevik propaganda and Lenin’s handwritten application for a Reader Pass. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
In 1997, Bella Bathurst began to go deaf. Within a few months, she had lost half her hearing, and the rest was slipping away. For the next 12 years deafness shaped her life, until, in 2009, everything changed again. Sound draws on this extraordinary experience, exploring what it is like to lose your hearing and – as Bella eventually did – to get it back. What does that teach you about listening and silence, music and noise? She investigates the science behind deafness, hearing loss among musicians, soldiers and factory workers; sign language, and what the deaf know about these subjects that the hearing don’t. Chaired by Kamal Ahmed.
Initiator of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage Mabel van Oranje reflects on lessons learned from two decades of fighting for human rights and development, what it means to make the impossible possible and how to create coalitions for lasting social change. Mabel has co-founded numerous peace foundations and is a member of the Dutch royal family.