Menna Elfyn (Wales), Alan Spence (Scotland), Peter Fallon and Breda Wall Ryan (Ireland) share their contribution to this unique collection of poetry honouring the United Nations International Day of Happiness.
Dilvan, a young Kurdish girl, has fled her home in Syria to escape the terror that has overrun her country. In a brief moment of safety she begins to record in her diary the desperate search for her family. Dilvan’s fighting spirit and her compelling story is eloquently told by a journalist who has reported widely on the atrocities in Syria for many newspapers. Real stories such as Dilvan’s inspired her book.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink on the planet, but very few people have any idea what it is made of. We all know that wine is made by fermenting pressed juice from grapes and cider comes from pressing apples but what about beer? Beer is traditionally made from four natural ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast and water, and each of these has an extraordinary story to tell. Brown is a journalist and author who specialises in making people thirsty.
The Children’s Laureate is joined by some of the best new illustrators to discuss the challenges and magic of telling stories to all ages through pictures.
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.
The classicist and novelist reimagines the Oedipus and Antigone stories from the perspectives of two of the women who have often been overlooked, Jocasta and Ismene; re-telling the myth to reveal a new side of an ancient story.
Join the winners of the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal and the 2016 Costa Children’s Book Award respectively to discuss their original way of writing their most recent book. These two authors collaborated on writing a novel in verse, sending chapters back and forth on WhatsApp, and created an extraordinary tale. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
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.
The evolutionary biologist shows why our ancestors became two-legged, why we have opposable thumbs, why the backbone appeared, how fish fins became limbs, how even trees are locomotion-obsessed, and how movement has shaped our minds as well as our bodies. He explains why there are no flying monkeys or biological wheels, how dinosaurs took to the air, how Mexican waves began in the animal kingdom, and why moving can make us feel good. Wilkinson opens up an astonishing new perspective – that nothing in life makes sense except in the light of movement.
In a time of extreme stress for the NHS, is there another way to deliver healthcare in the UK? Should we go back to traditional roles, like matrons? Or should we innovate with new professions like Physician Associates? Which new systems can we find for dealing with an ageing population? Baroness Hollins is Emeritus Professor in Psychiatry of Disability at St George’s, University of London; Perry is Associate Head of the Institute of Health & Society at the University of Worcester; Thrush is a Consultant at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Wilkie, is a GP and Professor of Primary Care; Charlotte Scott-Wilson is a Physician Associate Graduate.
How does an artist and academic build a museum in a book? Reading from her books Art in the Time of Colony and The Importance of Being Anachronistic, the Birmingham Professor of Global Art discusses the process of writing the poetic and personal into her histories of art.
In April 1917, the exiled leader of the Bolsheviks, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, travelled back to Russia by train. His country was at war and his route would take him through enemy territory; the plan was controversial from the start. The destination was the Finland Station and the first steps on the road to Soviet power. Merridale, the great Russia scholar, follows in the leader's tracks, creating a gripping account of events in Russia and Europe at one of the tensest moments of the First World War. Chaired by Peter Hennessy.
Keggie Carew grew up under the spell of an unorthodox, enigmatic father. An undercover guerrilla agent during the Second World War, in peacetime he lived on his wits and dazzling charm. But these were not always enough to sustain a family. As his memory began to fail, Keggie embarked on a quest to unravel his story once and for all. Dadland won the Costa biography award. It is funny and tender and utterly captivating.
Pussy is the story of Prince Fracassus, heir presumptive to the Duchy of Origen, famed for its golden-gated skyscrapers and casinos, who passes his boyhood watching reality shows on TV, imagining himself to be the Roman Emperor Nero, and fantasising about hookers. He is idle, boastful, thin-skinned and egotistic; has no manners, no curiosity, no knowledge, no idea and no words in which to express them. Could he, in that case, be the very leader to make the country great again? Jacobson has won the Wodehouse Prize twice and the Man Booker once.
Westover’s memoir Educated is fast achieving the status of a contemporary classic. She grew up in a remote corner of the American West preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government she didn’t exist. As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At 16 Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from the Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home.