Westover’s memoir Educated is fast achieving the status of a contemporary classic. She grew up in a remote corner of the American West preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government she didn’t exist. As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At 16 Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from the Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home.
Malcolm describes the paths taken through the eastern Mediterranean and its hinterland by an eminent Venetian-Albanian family – among them an archbishop in the Balkans, the captain of the papal flagship at Lepanto, the power behind the throne in the Ottoman province of Moldavia, and a dragoman (interpreter) at the Porte – previously almost invisible to history. Through them he casts the world between Venice and Istanbul in a fresh light, illuminating subjects as diverse as espionage, slave-ransoming and the grain trade. It is a masterpiece of both scholarship and storytelling, creating a panoramic picture of interrelations between the Christian and Ottoman worlds.
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The celebrated journalist and chief secretary of the Asociación de Periodistas Europeos (APE) Miguel Ángel Aguilar speaks with the editor Malcolm Otero Barral about his latest book España contra pronóstico (Aguilar), in which he takes us through recent Spanish history from the end of Franco’s regime and the Transition to the present day.
In the summer of 1381 England erupted in a violent popular uprising as unexpected as it was unprecedented. Sceptical of contemporary chroniclers’ accounts, Barker draws on the judicial sources of the indictments and court proceedings that followed the rebellion to offer a new perspective on the so-called Peasants’ Revolt. She introduces us to the loyal rebels who believed they were acting in the king’s best interests, and suggests that the boy-king Richard II sympathised with their grievances. Had it been implemented, their radical agenda would have transformed English society and anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years. In conversation with Stephanie Merritt.
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Photo: Zoe Norfolk
Human Rights, Equality, Free Speech, Privacy and the Rule of Law: the battle to establish these five ideas in law was long and difficult, and Anthony Lester was at the heart of the 30-year campaign that resulted in the Human Rights Act, as well as the struggle for race and gender equality that culminated in the Equality Act of 2010. Today our society is at risk of becoming less equal. From Snowden’s revelations about our own intelligence agencies spying on us, to the treatment of British Muslims, our civil liberties are under threat as never before. The internet leaves our privacy at risk in myriad ways; our efforts to combat extremism curtail free speech; and cuts to legal aid and interference with access to justice endangers the rule of law.
The award-winning author and screenwriter discusses his fast-moving, quick-talking story about the larger-than-life adventures of Luke, a comic-mad 11-year old who has only five days to rescue his brother and save the world after a dramatic alien visit and a case of mistaken identity.
Butler has worked in trouble spots all over the world in places including Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Myanmar and India. He captures human drama and architectural distress with pen, ink and watercolour. He has won an International Media Award and the V&A Illustration Award for his work. He shows his work and talks to Oliver Bullough.
The war historian explains the different challenges faced by the RAF and the Luftwaffe in 1940, the technologies of the planes and, above all, the skill, bravery and endurance of the airmen engaged in a contest that was of critical importance to the outcome of the Second World War.
The first in a global series of conversations invites writers, artists and thinkers to discuss the subjects and themes that are sometimes met with silence in societies around the world. This is the place to talk about how to communicate the difficult and the unsayable, whether through words or other forms of expression. Panelists include Chief Nyamweya and Keguro Macharia.Tell us on email or twitter what you'd like to discuss with the panel.
In February 1944, a rag-tag collection of clerks, drivers, doctors, muleteers, and other base troops, stiffened by a few dogged Yorkshiremen and a handful of tank crews managed to hold out against some of the finest infantry in the Japanese Army, and then defeat them in what was one of the most astonishing battles of the Second World War. What became know as The Defence of the Admin Box, fought amongst the paddy fields and jungle of Northern Arakan over a fifteen-day period, turned the battle for Burma. Holland is the author of Fortress Malta, Battle of Britain, and Dam Busters and runs Chalke Valley History Festival.
Do you think scientists are boring boffins who don’t leave the lab? Think again! The brainiacs of history spent hundreds of years breaking the rules, blowing things up and performing dangerous experiments. Come and celebrate 400 years of rebel antics. Expect plenty of silly wigs and terrible jokes. Dress up as a scientist and be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Dan Green’s Rebel Science, shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2016, which celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people.
A conversation about Gabriel García Márquez and Roberto Bolaño, two great, dead Latin American writers whose work has been read around the world, with three great contemporary writers: the Argentinian novelist Andres Neuman (pictured) is joined by his Colombian colleague Carolina Sanin and the Mexican writer Juan Villoro.
The Annual Smith-Soldat Memorial Lecture
Using digital mapping, aerial photography and LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), landscape historian David Lovelace reveals the hidden history of Herefordshire's landscape. From ancient ridge and furrow ploughing, medieval heathlands to the Royal forests, Lovelace explains the complex areas of multiple land use.
Wangari Grace (The Forever Tree) and Millie Dok (Worms To Eat, What a Treat)
A lively, interactive session of play-songs and tales in English and Kiswahili. Be prepared to have too much fun!
Martinez brings together a torrent of mind-expanding ideas, facts and arguments to dismantle sacred myths central to our society - myths about free will, free markets, free media and free elections. From the lottery of our birth to the consent-manufacturing influence of concentrated wealth and power, this far-reaching manifesto lifts the veil on the mechanisms of control that pervade our lives.
Three young friends meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Raymond Aron. Aron opens their eyes to a radical new way of thinking. Pointing to his drink, he says, “You can make philosophy out of this cocktail”. The author of How To Live: A Life of Montaigne tells the story of modern existentialism as one of passionate encounters between people, minds and ideas. Weaving biography and thought, Bakewell takes us to the heart of a philosophy about life that also changed lives, and tackled the biggest questions of all: what we are and how we are to live.