The field of mind-body medicine is plagued by wild claims that mislead patients and instil false hope. But scientists in a range of fields are uncovering solid evidence that our minds influence our bodies far more profoundly than previously thought. The award-winning science journalist delves deep into the latest research and asks: are those who turn to alternative medicine deluded, or are they on to something? Can our thoughts, beliefs and emotions influence our physical health? Can we train our brains to heal our bodies?
Ninety-five per cent of all thoroughbreds in the world are descended from one horse, the so-called Darley Arabian, shipped from Aleppo to Yorkshire in 1704 by a second son who failed to make his fortune and died before he could follow his horse home. The former racing correspondent on the Independent tells the story of the men and women who owned and traded and bred the horses descended from that first stallion. He also follows the men they hired to train them, and the jockeys who rode them and sometimes rescued them from the knacker’s yard, unwittingly preserving the genetic line of winners that currently resides with the champion Frankel. Chaired by the producer of the Horse Tales documentaries Corisande Albert.
We become fat because we eat too much. Why some eat more than others, however, is powerfully genetically controlled. The Director of Genomics/Transcriptomics at Cambridge explores some of these genes and observes: “Many genes have been identified that increase our risk of becoming obese and most of these function in the brain to influence food intake. Obese people find it hard to lose weight not because they are bad and lazy, but because they are fighting their biology.”
An interactive exploration of how the finance industry delivers slim pickings and creates fat cats with financial expert Pitt-Watson and his willing stooge, comedian Brigstocke. The finance industry is often viewed with suspicion: complicated, greedy, and institutionally corrupt. But its origins were often inspired by social reformers because its purposes are so fundamental to individual and communal prosperity. They will discuss the expensive (but useless) things the finance industry does, and some of the (useful and) practical things it should do, but doesn’t. Reform is difficult, because the flaws in the industry are hard-wired into the way we think about economics, but they'll have it licked within the hour.
A new tale of ageing, lust, helplessness and deception told with the trademark black humour of one of the great British novelists whose films and books include The Buddha of Suburbia, Venus, The Mother and My Beautiful Launderette. Kureishi is one of the wisest and most humane writers with an acute eye for vulnerabilities and quiet desperation.
The inspirational teacher, Phil Forder, brings the two writers in residence and the Director of HM Parc Prison, Bridgend to discuss the literary programme he’s pioneered and our sister Festival there that’s now in its ninth year. They discuss the impact of education and empathy, literacy and literature, and offer a vision of a successful reformation of prison experience. They talk to Peter Florence.
The great poet Pablo García Baena, winner of the Príncipe de Asturias Award for Literature, and member of the jury of the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Awards, and versatile poet and translator Clara Janes discuss their work.
Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for her debut novel The Art of Being Normal, Williamson’s All About Mia is a story about sisters, accepting your strengths and weaknesses, and learning to forgive the people you love. Join her as she discusses creating her insightful family stories.
Inspired by Dulle Griet (aka Mad Meg), Pieter Bruegel's 16th century painting of a "strong, intense woman striding determinedly across a violent landscape", Dull Margaret is the first graphic novel by Academy award-winning-actor Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and artist Dix (best known for his comics in the Guardian). The Dulle Griet painting shows a breastplated woman with a sword in one hand in front of the mouth of hell. Broadbent uses that single, vivid image as a launching point to explore what the rest of Dull Margaret’s bleak existence may have been like. Chaired by Georgina Godwin.
Promising myth, adventure and mechanimals, Bunzl and Hargrave will begin an illustrated conversation in which they discuss the inspiration behind their best-selling debuts Cogheart and The Girl of Ink and Stars and introduce their new books, Moonlocket and The Island at the End of Everything.
Metaphors, metonymy, irony, hyperbole – non-literal expression is one of the primary tools for achieving economy of expression, clarity, persuasiveness, politeness and the communication of emotions. However, the potential for misunderstanding increases dramatically in situations where participants lack shared background knowledge or have significantly different views of the world. Littlemore is Professor of English Language and Applied Linguistics at University of Birmingham.
Join Adam Stower as he shows us one story and tells us another in an hilarious case of mistaken identity which will delight young readers.
The hugely entertaining Welsh performance artist Bedwyr Williams in conversation with one of Wales most distinguished art curators, Director of the game-changing international contemporary art prize Artes Mundi 7. Williams uses multimedia, performance and text to explore the friction between the deadly serious and the banal aspects of modern life. He’s known for satirizing the relationship between the artist and curator by creating absurd scenarios for them to appear in.
The historian and broadcaster brings the court of Henry VIII to life in her first children’s novel. Go behind the scenes and discover the friendships and intrigues at the Royal court when she tells the story of Eliza’s life as a Maid of Honour to the glamorous new Queen.
Join three authors as they introduce their books, take children’s questions, and discuss with their young audience ways to make the world a better place. All create vivid, unforgettable stories that concern major issues and current events, in particular what it might mean to be a refugee. The event will be chaired by Nicky Parker of Amnesty International UK and the audience will be invited to draw or write a message of welcome on postcards that will be distributed to refugees or asylum seekers in the UK.
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
To mark the centenary of women in Britain first getting the vote, the women’s rights campaigner and great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst charts how women’s lives have changed over the past century and offers a powerful and positive argument for the way forward.
The outrageously funny comedians cover a wide range of parenting topics, from pelvic floors and play dates to farting and fish fingers. Expect songs, sketches, stand-up and very scummy stories! Parental guidance: GO!