The editor of The Amorist magazine chairs a conversation about love and sex in fiction and asks: is erotic passion the hardest form of literary endeavour? Get one line wrong and there’s laughter, or disgust. Gardner writes erotic fiction under the pen name Wray Delaney. Delaney’s first erotic novel, An Almond for a Parrot, is set amidst the brothels of 18thcentury London. Huston is the author of Say My Name, an account of a love affair between a married woman and a much younger man, while Jacobson’s most controversial novel was The Act of Love.
In nature, trickery and deception are widespread. Animals and plants mimic other objects or species in the environment for protection, trick other species into rearing their young, lure prey to their death, and deceive potential mates for reproduction. Cuckoos lay eggs carefully matched to their host’s own clutch. Harmless butterflies mimic the wing patterning of a poisonous butterfly to avoid being eaten. Some orchids develop the smell of female insects in order to attract pollinators, while carnivorous plants lure insects to their death with colourful displays. The Exeter Professor of Evolutionary Ecology considers what deception tells us about the process of evolution and adaptation.
One of the most influential poets in contemporary China reads his poems and talks to Jose Felix Valdivieso, who also reads Xi Chuan ‘s poems in Spanish.
Consecutive translation from Chinese into Spanish.
Co-organised with Cosmopoetica, Centro Cultural Chino in Madrid and Bibloteca Nacional de España.
Melting ice, a military arms race, the rush to exploit resources at any cost—the Arctic is now the stage on which our future will be decided. But one early September morning in 2013, 30 men and women from 18 countries - the crew of Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise - decided to draw a line in the ice and protest the drilling in the Arctic. Ben Stewart is Greenpeace's Head of Media and Frank Hewetson is one of the arrested Arctic 30.
Mary Shelley was brought up by her father in a house filled with radical thinkers, poets, philosophers and writers of the day. Aged 16, she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a relationship that was lived on the move across Britain and Europe, as she coped with debt, infidelity and the deaths of three children, before early widowhood changed her life for ever. Most astonishingly, it was while she was still a teenager that Mary composed her canonical novel Frankenstein, which was published exactly 200 years ago. In this fascinating dialogue with the past, Sampson sifts through letters, diaries and records to find the real woman behind the story.
Democracy has died hundreds of times, all over the world. We think we know what that looks like: chaos descends and the military arrives to restore order until the people can be trusted to look after their own affairs again. However, there is a danger that this picture is out of date. Until very recently, most citizens of Western democracies would have imagined that the end was a long way off, and very few would have thought it might be happening before their eyes. Runciman, one of the UK’s leading professors of politics, answers all this and more as he surveys the political landscape of the West, helping us to spot the new signs of a collapsing democracy and advising on what could come next. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
For thousands of years the human heart remained the deepest of mysteries; both home to the soul and an organ too complex to touch, let alone operate on. Then, in the late 19th century, medics began going where no one had dared go before. Morris gives us a view over the surgeon’s shoulder, showing us the heart’s inner workings and failings. He describes both a human story and a history of risk-taking that has ultimately saved countless lives. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
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.
With a background in building relationships within conflicted communities, Eamon Rafter discusses his account of the forty-year history of the Glencree Reconciliation Centre in Co. Wicklow.
Told over the course of one school day in 1970s Washington DC, New Boy is Tracy Chevalier’s take on Othello. It is a powerful modern drama about fitting in, standing out and knowing which friends to trust, from one of our most successful novelists. Tracy will be in conversation with Claire Armitstead.
Over the past two centuries or so, capitalism has undergone economic cycles that veer from boom to bust. The Economics Editor for Channel 4 News argues that we are on the brink of a change so big and profound that this time capitalism itself will mutate into something wholly new.
As one of the country’s leading architectural historians and interior designers, Edward Bulmer has been involved in the restoration and redecoration of numerous historic buildings including Goodwood and Althorp. With this experience he has created a range of Natural Paints that are also historically authentic and accurate. As an artist, he has developed this range using just 12 natural pigments used by artists for centuries. This delivers incredible depth of colour and a high-quality finish. It also allows buildings to breathe and our own air to be toxin-free. He talks to Giles Kime, Interiors editor of Country Life.
Drawing on new genealogical research, original records and expert testimony, the historian and broadcaster reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. He shows that the great industrial boom of the 19th century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. Chaired by Amol Rajan.
At 21 the prodigious violinist found her instrument: a rare 1696 Stradivarius, perfectly suited to her build and temperament. Her career soared. Then, in a train station café, her violin was stolen from her side. In an instant her world collapsed. This is Min's extraordinary story - of a young woman staring into the void, wondering who she was, who she had been. It is a story of isolation and dependence, of love, loss and betrayal, and of the intense, almost human bond that a musician has with their instrument. Above all, it's a story of hope through a journey back to music.
More adventures for Aubrey, a small boy who can talk to animals, in this author’s new title. Now shrunk to the size of an earwig, Aubrey is helping the insects to save the world from starvation and supporting a newly arrived Ladybird family to overcome hostility from the local inhabitants. Join Horatio Clare as he discusses his fantastic new story about the world of Aubrey and his epic adventure of love, travel and insects with Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.
An all-star line-up of British poets respond with their own poems to their choice of Shakespeare’s 14-line poems. They introduce and read the original sonnets and their own newly commissioned work.
The author of The Tulip and The Curious Gardener explores the different ways in which we have, throughout the ages, responded to the land. While painters painted and writers wrote, an entirely different band of men, the agricultural improvers, also travelled the land and published a series of remarkable commentaries on the state of agricultural England. They looked at the land in terms of its usefulness as well as its beauty and, using their reports, Pavord explores the many different ways in which land was managed and farmed, showing that what is universal is a place’s capacity to frame and define our experience.
On the one hand, Americans don’t want ‘big government’ meddling in their lives; on the other, they have repeatedly enlisted governmental help to impose their views regarding marriage, abortion, religion and schooling on their neighbours. These contradictory stances on the role of public power have paralysed policymaking and generated rancorous disputes about government’s legitimate scope. How did America reach this political impasse? And what happens now? Gerstle is Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge.