Hosted by senior Telegraph journalists, stories from 24 May at key historical moments over the past 150 years are brought to life using the paper’s unique archive. From World War One and D-Day to the rise of the Suffragettes and the birth of the nuclear age; not to mention fashion through the decades and legendary stars of sport. Here is a past world documented in fascinating and revealing detail by daily reporting.
The interlocking themes of Establishment and Meritocracy form a crucial part of the intellectual compost that made Hennessy’s generation of post-war Britons. The Establishment and the concept of a growing and eventually self-propelling meritocracy were always at odds, and the policies that brought it about dramatically altered British society. He talks to economist Susie Symes, Chair of 19 Princelet Street.
Do our workplaces promote health and well-being? And, if they did, what difference would it make? Dame Carol Black is an Expert Adviser to the Department of Health, the Chair of Nuffield Trust, the leading independent advisory body for healthcare policy in the UK, and the Principal of Newnham College. She was author of a 2008 report for the government on well-being at work.
The author of When God was a Rabbit – selected for World Book Night 2015 – introduces her second novel. Marvellous Ways is 89 years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life. Lately she’s taken to spending her days sitting on a mooring stone by the river with a telescope. She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it.
Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War. When his promise to fulfil a dying man’s last wish sees him wash up in Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid. As an unlikely friendship grows between the two, can Drake give Marvellous what she needs to say goodbye to the world, and can she give him what he needs to go on?
Photo: Illustrations from the first trial of the book, by Laura Carling
The winner of the 2014 Wellcome Book Prize introduces his wise and compassionate book Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love. Ten years in the writing, it tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. Chaired by Hay Festival President Stephen Fry.
Slow Fiction is inspired by the predella, the sequence of four or five pictures under a Renaissance altarpiece that tell the story of the annunciation, the adoration, or the pietà. If the large altarpiece painting is one moment in time, the predella shows the moments leading up to that key frame and sometimes what happens after. The artist Paul St George works with writers, translating selections of their writing into small sequences of sculptures making three-dimensional stories. Two of the first authors to be excited by this new way of bringing readers to writing are Polly Stenham, author of Hotel, and Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist: ‘To see my written words reimagined for a different audience, giving another take on the story-telling process – what we omit, what we emphasise, and what we leave behind – in a newly-configured presentation, is a true thrill.’
Set in 1960s Ireland, Tóibín’s new novel Nora Webster introduces one of the most complex and captivating heroines of contemporary fiction. He discusses the book and his new study On Elizabeth Bishop. He creates a vivid picture of the American poet while also revealing how her work has helped shape his sensibility as a novelist and how her experiences of loss and exile resonate with his own.
Photo: Brigitte Lacombe
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
In Sapiens, Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
This event was recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books.
Is six-party politics here to stay? Is first-past-the-post a bulwark against extremism? What’s the value of a campaign promise in a coalition context? International broadcaster Nik Gowing chairs. Hennessy is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary’s; Scurr lectures in Politics at Cambridge; Wood is leader of Plaid Cymru; Boycott is Food Advisor to the Mayor of London.
Jacqueline Wilson introduces an exclusive screening of CBBC’s new adaptation of her popular children’s novel Hetty Feather. A fast-paced and thrilling story, featuring a feisty new heroine, Hetty Feather brings the realities of the Victorian age to life through the eyes and adventures of the children who inhabit the Foundling Hospital. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with cast and crew.
Not for broadcast.
‘There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…’ The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.
The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.
The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards – some strange and other-worldly – but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.
Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.
The chief economics commentator of the Financial Times explains that further shocks could be ahead for the economy because governments have failed to deal with fundamental problems in the world’s financial systems. Wolf traces the causes of the great recession to the complex interaction between globalisation, destabilising global imbalances and fragile financial systems. He argues that management of the Eurozone in particular guarantees a future political crisis and he offers far more ambitious and comprehensive plans for reform than are presently being considered. Chaired by Susie Symes.
Why is the human female the only female animal to have curves, and how do these curves rule our lives by influencing not only sexual selection but also social hierarchy and self-image? The Clinical Veterinary Anatomist at the University of Cambridge applies the science of evolutionary biology and cutting-edge psychology to the female shape. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
Timchenko is the executive editor of the independent news platform Meduza. Zygar is the editor-in-chief of TV RAIN, Russia’s only independent television channel. Bullough is author of The Last Man in Russia and Let Our Fame Be Great and has reported over the last two years from the Ukraine. Vasiliyeva writes about press freedom and politics for Associated Press in Moscow.