Fortey presents his wood, deep in the Chiltern Hills, as an interwoven collection of different habitats rich in species. His attention ranges from the beech and cherry trees that dominate the wood to the flints underfoot; the red kites and woodpeckers that soar overhead; the lichens, mosses and liverworts decorating the branches as well as the myriad species of spiders, moths, beetles and crane-flies. The 300 species of fungi identified in the wood capture his attention as much as familiar deer, shrews and dormice. The great palaeontologist is the author of Fossils: A Key to the Past, The Hidden Landscape, Life: An Unauthorised Biography, Trilobite! and The Earth: An Intimate History. Chaired by Dan Davis.
Why do zombies walk with their arms outstretched? How can newborn babies grip an adult finger tightly enough to dangle unsupported from it? From early tools to machinery, from fists to knives to guns, from papyrus to QWERTY to a swipeable screen; the history of civilisation is a history of what humans do with their hands. Mankind’s story is marked out by profound changes in how we use our hands; and it is also marked by underlying patterns that never change. And as much as the things we do with our hands reflect our psychological state, they can also change that state profoundly…The psychoanalyst is the author of Why do Women Write More Letters Than They Post? and Promises Lovers Make When It Gets Late. Chaired by Daisy Leitch.
Pale Sister, written by Colm Tóibín for the great Beckett actress Lisa Dwan, is a dramatisation of the voice of Ismene, the sister of Antigone, who recounts her sister's defiance of the king as pressures mount on Ismene herself to act to vindicate her sister, or even follow her example. It arises from The Antigone Project, a course taught at Columbia University by Dwan and Tóibín, which examined the ways in which this story – a woman’s powerlessness emerging as power, conscience versus law, defiance versus might, protest versus order, individual versus authority. It runs for one hour and 15 minutes and will be followed by a discussion.
In an intimate portrait of a single countryside community, the historian traces in vivid detail the lives of the twenty-two men and one woman from the Dartmoor village of Lydford who made the supreme sacrifice fighting for Britain in the two World Wars, the Falklands and Iraq.
Do you sometimes feel grumpy? Do you wish every day was your birthday? Join the author and illustrator of Grumpy Frog for a fantastic interactive event with storytelling and live drawing.
McMullan and Mair have carefully selected the nine most fascinating documents held by The National Archives relating to Shakespeare’s life. Presented together for the first time, these are some of the most significant documents in the world that track Shakespeare’s life as a citizen of London, a businessman, a family man, a servant to the King, and even possibly a thief and a subversive. They explore both his domestic and professional lives, what it meant to live in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, and the social impact of his plays. McMullan is also the editor of the new digital Norton edition of the complete plays.
The former BP CEO of BP articulates and explores the recurring rift between big business and society, offering a practical manifesto for reconciliation. It’s a call to arms for real and effective corporate social responsibility. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
What do neuroscience, tuberculosis and the humble fruit fly have to do with cancer? At the Francis Crick Institute, London’s new biomedical discovery centre, scientists from across the biomedical spectrum are being brought together under one roof. They are revolutionising research into cancer by speaking across specialisms and towards scientific innovation in the C21st. Chaired by Francine Stock.
In a world where too often, it seems, only the economy matters, Fiona Reynolds argues that beauty should shape our lives. Dame Fiona is Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and was formerly Director-General of The National Trust.
A conversation with the Canadian novelist whose Do Not Say We Have Nothing was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker, and who is now publishing her early novel Certainty. Her humane and exacting writing often explores the Asian diaspora. She has won many awards including the Governor General’s Award and The Giller Prize. She talks to the deputy editor of Index on Censorship who has reported from and written extensively on China.
The author takes listeners on a virtual trip into his writing space, revealing the research behind Saint Death. Think folk saints, migrants, gang warfare and human rights as he tells tales of the iconic Santa Muerte and reveals the shocking reality facing many communities living on the Mexican/US border. A fascinating and powerful talk from this prize-winning novelist.
Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, 13-year-old Robert Coombes and his 12-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lords. They told their neighbours their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next 10 days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes’ house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm... Summerscale won the Samuel Johnson Prize for The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.
Twenty years ago the UK stopped building nuclear stations. Why are we now planning an £18 billion, French-Chinese, nuclear power station at Hinkley Point? Taylor is lecturer in finance at Cambridge University.
Herman the bear embarks on an epic journey to deliver a very special letter and ensure that his friendship with Henry the raccoon really is forever. Tom talks about Herman’s adventure in a creative event: prepare to get crafty and remember to bring your imagination!
Join the much-loved illustrator as he sets loose six Vikings in a rollicking, rhyming adventure. Pencils and paper will be provided for the whole family so that you can draw along with Nick. Look out for a tartan-patterened cat, a naughty vampire bat and a clever mermaid.
Jonathan and Jose are custom bike builders from Burry Port. Photographer Richard Greatrex has chronicled their journey to complete a unique and magnificent bike, documenting the joys and difficulties of small-scale manufacturing. In conversation with Rob Penn, author, journalist, TV presenter and inveterate cyclist. The Working Wales project celebrates makers and the things they make.
Based on a mass of newly declassified Russian secret intelligence documentation, Haslam reveals the true story of Soviet intelligence from its very beginnings in 1917 right through to the end of the Cold War. Covering both branches of Soviet espionage, civilian and military, he charts the full range of the Soviet intelligence effort and the story of its development: in cryptography, disinformation, special forces, and counter-intelligence. He shows how their greatest weapon and ironically their greatest weakness was the human factor: their ability to recruit secret agents. Haslam is the George F Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
Andrew Gant unravels the captivating, and often surprising stories behind the origin of some of our best loved carols. Tales of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys, choirboys, monks and drunks. It is a fittingly joyous account of one of our best-loved musical traditions.
Journalist and author Nativel Preciado discusses her latest novel Canta solo para mí, which won the 2014 Premio Fernando Lara de Novela. The novel depicts the journalistic profession in Spain in the 1970s, a very turbulent period during which huge changes took place. This provides the backdrop for a passionate love story. She talks to writer Fernando Delgado.
Have you ever wanted to write a novel? How do you get it out of your head and onto the page? How do you handle structure, dialogue and plot? And once it’s written, what is the best way to get it published? These and more questions will be tackled in a new series in The Irish Times called ‘How To Write a Book’. Joining Sinead Gleeson of The Irish Times will be novelists from the festival programme.