A classicist and a neuroscientist explore the Ancient Greek words Liberty, Comedy, Charisma, Xenia, Wisdom and Peace and travel both forwards and backwards in time, investigating how these ideas have been moulded by history and have made an impact on history and the human experience. Hughes is the author of Helen of Troy – Goddess, Whore and The Hemlock Cup. Critchlow is named as a British Council's Top 100 UK Scientist for her work in communication.
Project Daniel was launched in January 2014 in Sudan with the establishment of the world’s first 3D-printing prosthetic limb lab, creating artificial limbs for victims of war.
As Mohammed Ali Humanitarian of the Year and named in the Top 50 Most Creative People 2014, Mick Ebeling is the founder and driving force of Not Impossible; making DIY, accessible, tech-based solutions for people around the world and powerfully telling those stories to inspire others to do the same.
Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare white elephant destined for the palace menagerie… The Turkish author of The Forty Rules of Love and Honour discusses her mesmerizing new novel with William Sieghart.
Humans don’t always behave as you expect them to. Sometimes their responses and actions are completely irrational – we don’t always make perfect decisions – but the model we base everything on is a rational one. Why? If we design our systems, our government, and all the products and services we use for perfect, rational people, is it any wonder they aren’t working? The Stanford academic and political advisor believes that change is possible and necessary: that we can create a more local, more accountable, more human way of living that will make us more productive, more fulfilled and ultimately happier.
Join TV presenter Helen Skelton as she introduces her children’s book, the first in a new action-packed adventure series. Helen reveals how her own incredible real-life experiences and adventures have influenced her writing, from cycling to the South Pole to tightrope walking between the towers of Battersea Power Station. Amazon Summer is based on Helen’s own experiences travelling through the Amazon. Chaired by writer and broadcaster Matt Brown.
Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to interrogate the link between religion and bloodshed.
Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the centuries, from medieval crusaders to modern-day jihadists. Today we regard faith as a personal and private matter, but for most of history faith has informed people’s entire outlook on life, and has often been inseparable from politics. Fields of Blood is a celebration of the ancient religious ideas and movements that have promoted peace and reconciliation across millennia of civilization.
In 1902 HG Wells wrote ‘Humanity has come some way, and the distance we have travelled gives us some earnest of the way we have to go. All the past is but the beginning of a beginning; all that the human mind has accomplished is but the dream before the awakening.’ The astronomer boldly explores post-human evolution and offers a SWOT analysis of mankind’s short- and longer-term futures. He considers the risks of asteroid impact, climate change and, most worrying of all, the downsides of biotech, AI and other fast-advancing technologies. Chaired by Dan Davis.
The event that changed all of their lives happened on a Saturday afternoon in June, just minutes after Michael Turner – thinking the Nelsons’ house was empty – stepped through their back door.
Moving from London and New York to the deserts of Nevada, Sheers’ new novel is a brilliant exploration of violence, guilt and attempted redemption, written with the pace and grip of a thriller. He takes the reader from close observation of the domestic sphere to some of the most important questions and dilemmas of the contemporary world.
Sheers is a poet and playwright whose latest works include the National Theatre of Wales’ Mametz, the award-winning poem Pink Mist and Calon.
Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates and Richard Spruce were English naturalists who went to Amazonia 150 years ago. All three explored an unknown river and had many thrilling adventures: violent attacks of malaria, fearful rapids, murder attempts, encounters with newly contacted indigenous peoples, shipwrecks, and many other hardships. In addition to their huge contributions to knowledge of the Amazonian environment, each is particularly famous for one discovery. Wallace is acknowledged as a co-discoverer, along with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution. Bates discovered protective mimicry among insects, a phenomenon named after him. Spruce transported the quinine-bearing Cinchona tree, the most important medicinal plant of the nineteenth century, to India, where it saved countless lives from malaria.
Four internationally acclaimed jurists discuss which rights might be argued into a new charter for the C21st. Buergenthal serves as a judge at the ICJ in the Hague; Goldstone served as a prosecutor at the ICT after running the Goldstone Commission in South Africa; Leveson is President of the Queens Bench Division and chaired the public inquiry into press ethics in the UK; Sands is Professor of Law at UCL.
‘I have discovered a truly marvellous proof, which this margin is too narrow to contain…’ Twenty years after a mild-mannered Englishman solved Pierre de Fermat’s 350-year-old theorem, Singh tells the true story of how mathematics’ most challenging problem was made to yield its secrets in a thrilling tale of endurance, ingenuity and inspiration.
The chair of judges interviews the winner of the £60,000 2015 Prize, who was announced on 19 May in London.
Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango, which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.
Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo There Below. Seiobo There Below was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.
The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.
The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work: ‘In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.’
Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented: ‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’
The poet swaps the moorland uplands of the north (Walking Home) for the coastal fringes of Britain’s south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, taking poetry into distant communities and tourist hot-spots, busking his way from start to finish.
From the surreal pleasure-dome of Minehead Butlins to a smoke-filled roundhouse on the Penwith Peninsula, then out to the Isles of Scilly and beyond, Armitage tackles this personal Odyssey with all the poetic reflection and personal wit we’ve come to expect of one of Britain’s best loved and most popular writers.
John Aubrey loved England. From an early age, he saw his England slipping away and, against extraordinary odds, committed himself to preserving for posterity what remained of it – in books, monuments and life stories. His Brief Lives would redefine the art of biography yet he published only one rushed, botched book in his lifetime and died fearing his name and achievements would be forgotten.
Scurr’s biography is an act of scholarly imagination: a diary drawn from John Aubrey’s own words, displaying his unique voice, dry wit, the irreverence and drama of a literary pioneer. Aubrey saw himself modestly as a collector of a vanishing past, a ‘scurvy antiquary’. But he was also one of the pioneers of modern writing, a journalist before the age of journalism, who witnessed the Civil War and the Great Fire of London in the company of some of the influential men and women, high and low, whose lives he would make his legacy.
It’s 100 years since drugs were first banned, and drug use and drug crime have continued to grow steadily across the world. What are people addicted to? Are any of the policies adopted around the world based on scientific data? Are any of them working? Hari is the author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War Against Drugs; Hitchens is the author of The War We Never Fought. Chaired by Hernando Alvarez, editor of BBC Mundo.
The cultural historian demonstrates the rise of China-phobia in popular culture with the help of some film clips. Frayling chronicles the entry of Dr Fu Manchu, known as ‘the yellow peril incarnate in one man’, into world literature a century ago and asks why the idea developed unfairly that China was a threat to Western civilization, and why such images continue to distort our image of its people. Frayling also explains how we neglect the history of popular culture at our peril if we are to understand our deepest desires and fears. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
On the shrouded corpse hung a tablet of green topaz with the inscription: ‘I am Shaddad the Great. I conquered a thousand cities; a thousand white elephants were collected for me; I lived for a thousand years and my kingdom covered both east and west, but when death came to me nothing of all that I had gathered was of any avail. You who see me take heed: for Time is not to be trusted.’
Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest known Arabic short stories, surviving in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some found their way into The Arabian Nights but most have never been read in English before. Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange has monsters, lost princes, jewels beyond price, a princess turned into a gazelle, sword-wielding statues and shocking reversals of fortune.
Robert Irwin’s books include For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies, The Middle East in the Middle Ages, The Arabian Nights: A Companion and (as editor) The Penguin Anthology of Classical Arabian Literature. Azar Nafisi taught Western literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University and the University of Allameh Tabatabai in Iran. In 1981 she was expelled from the University of Tehran after refusing to wear the veil. In 1994 she won a teaching fellowship from Oxford University, and in 1997 she and her family left Iran for America. She is the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Things I’ve Been Silent About.
A unique and fascinating journey into the private life of a gadget you thought was on your side. Afterwards, you’ll never look at your phone in the same way again… The brainchild of Channel 4 News’ award-winning technology journalist Geoff White and security researcher Glenn Wilkinson: welcome to a live stage performance using cutting-edge interception technology to reveal the people, places and companies your phone is talking to behind your back – and what it’s telling them.