Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered. Prompted by his retirement from his full-time job in the NHS, and through his continuing work in Nepal and Ukraine, Henry has been forced to reflect more deeply about what 40 years spent handling the human brain has taught him.
Lying at the crucible of Central Europe, the Silesian village of Kupferberg suffered the violence of the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, and World War I. After Stalin’s post-World War II redrawing of Poland’s borders, Kupferberg became Miedzianka, a town settled by displaced persons from all over Poland and a new centre of the Eastern Bloc’s uranium-mining industry. Decades of neglect and environmental degradation led to the town being declared uninhabitable, and the population was evacuated. Today, it exists only in ruins, with barely a hundred people living on the unstable ground above its collapsing mines. The journalist and photographer tells its story.
A celebration of the exquisite craftsmanship and elegance of silverware and porcelain in a tour of social history with National Trust experts James Rothwell, author of Silver for Entertaining and Patricia Ferguson author of Ceramics: 400 Years of British Collecting in 100 Masterpieces Chaired by Simon Murray.
Four poets read from new collections in this poetry platform. Campbell reads from her new collection Heat Signature. Blewitt reads from her Forward-commended This is Not a Rescue. Hooson reads from her collection The Other City. Atkin reads from Basic Nest Architecture.
The second of three events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare in which three of the writers commissioned introduce their work. Leyshon is the author of the novels The Colour of Milk and Memoirs of a Dipper, and Bedlam, the first play by a woman ever to be performed at Shakespeare’s Globe; Brook’s most recent novel is The Aftermath; Molina Foix is one of Spain’s most distinguished novelists and film directors. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
The medic/philosopher takes a wry look at a variety of topics such as stupidity (including the author’s own), fashions in academe, and the human propensity for mission drift. His latest book of essays is Epithemean Imaginings.
There are many different versions of our creation story. Baggott tells the version according to modern science. Using a cross-disciplinary approach, he starts with the Big Bang and travels right up to the emergence of humans as conscious intelligent beings, 13.8 billion years later. Chaired by Dan Davis.
What is time? Is our sense of time’s passage an illusion? The human brain is a complex system that not only tells time but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological flow and enables ‘mental time travel’ - simulations of future and past events. Chaired by Raymond Tallis.
At a time when migrations and borders are again central to our politics and national identity, the archaeologist looks back in time, to the creation of what was then Europe’s largest earthwork, Offa’s Dyke. He examines the role of the Mercian kingdom as a European power, and the ways in which Alfred and the Saxon kings rewrote that history. Chaired by Jesse Norman, MP for South Herefordshire, through which Offa’s Dyke approaches Hay.
Join illustrators Chris Riddell and Leigh Hobbs, the Children’s Laureates of the UK and Australia respectively, as they discuss and demonstrate their work in an event of inspiration, entertainment and live drawing.
The cultural historian demonstrates the rise of China-phobia in popular culture with the help of some film clips. Frayling chronicles the entry of Dr Fu Manchu, known as ‘the yellow peril incarnate in one man’, into world literature a century ago and asks why the idea developed unfairly that China was a threat to Western civilization, and why such images continue to distort our image of its people. Frayling also explains how we neglect the history of popular culture at our peril if we are to understand our deepest desires and fears. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
New technology with the potential to reduce and mitigate our impact on the environment is emerging on every scale from the global to the domestic. Geo-engineering could counteract climate change by intervening in Earth’s natural systems, while new consumer technology offers greener cars and smarter homes. What are the latest ideas? And which technologies will be the most effective at securing a sustainable future? Mark Shorrock is the CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power. Davenport is CEO of Good Energy.
Horatio Clare weaves a spell-binding story of a rambunctious boy, some remarkable animals, a lot of jokes and a darkly evil magic that Aubrey must bravely defeat if he is to save his father. Peter Florence says, “This is destined to become a children’s classic”.
The campaigner, publisher and wanderer has spent his life travelling: “The richer our imaginations, the richer our travel experience. We British do things one way and the Spaniards another; there are unlimited ways of doing everything. Kindness is found in unexpected places, as is eccentricity. Eccentrics are an endangered species and need as much protection as does the house sparrow.”
Are themes of childhood and adolescence universal? How are they represented in fiction? Join a panel of YA writers from France, Zimbabwe, Estonia, Latvia and the UK as they discuss the opportunities and challenges of writing children’s and YA novels in their countries. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
This event is supported by the British Council, the Latvian Literature Platform and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia
Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s: a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two-piece swimsuits caused mass alarm. She is the author of Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900–1939, Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War and Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives During the Second World War. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt, where the foreign visitors and diplomats who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos beneath their windows. Rappaport draws upon the diaries and letters of these international witnesses, to carry us right into the action: to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened.