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 academic presents his annotated edition of FR Leavis’ famous critique of CP Snow’s theory of the ‘two cultures’ of arts and sciences. Collini describes what was at stake in the dispute, reappraises its literary tactics and evaluates the purpose of Leavis’ brand of cultural criticism.
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.
The writer discusses his two new publications: a history book that chronicles the time of Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys and Charles II – The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain; and a dazzling time-travelling fiction, The Outcasts of Time.
The Icelandic superstar of Nordic Crime brings her lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir to Hay – a humanely-drawn protagonist with much in common with Merrily Watkins, the ‘detective’ in Rickman’s series of supernatural thrillers set around the Borders. His latest novel is The Magus of Hay. They talk to Paul Blezard.
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.
Meet Jamie Thomson, author of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning Dark Lord series, as he talks about his latest book Dark Lord: Eternal Detention. Jamie will teach the audience how to laugh like a Dark Lord.
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.
The Government hopes that the energy and environment sectors will provide strong economic growth and job creation in Ireland in the years and decades to come. What are the likely developments?
There are hundreds of stories about the bravery and loyalty of dogs in wartime. Rix and Kelleher discuss the inspiration for their books, A Soldier’s Friend and A Dog in No Man’s Land. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
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.
A walk on the dark side of globalisation and the all-pervasive organised crime that reaches from Russia to the banks and parliaments of the world, and to every personal computer networked to the web. Bradley is Buzzfeed’s Investigations Correspondent, Glenny is the author of McMafia, Harding is the author of Collusion and a foreign correspondent at the Guardian, Bullough’s forthcoming book is Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks now Rule the World and How to Take it Back.
George III wanted to be a new kind of king, one whose power was rooted in the affection and approval of his people. And he was determined to revolutionise his private life. He was sure that as a faithful husband and a loving father, he would be not just a happier man but a better ruler as well. As the children grew older, and their wishes and desires developed away from those of their father, it became harder to maintain the illusion of domestic harmony. The king’s episodes of madness undermined the bedrock of their marriage; his disapproving distance from the bored and purposeless princes, especially the dissolute Prince of Wales, alienated them; and his determination to keep the princesses at home, protected from the potential horrors of the European marriage market, left them lonely, bitter and resentful.
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.
Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup. Jonathan Drori, a trustee of The Woodland Trust and The Eden Project, uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable.