Llew Jones wanted to see the States and write about the experience. Then he met Joe Bosco, a butterfly salesman as charismatic as he was infuriating, and they were soon hurtling across 1980s America together, caught up in an adventure that got way, way out of control. Now Llew is in jail, his friend is gone, and he has to give his side of the story if he’s ever going to get free . . . Part existential road trip, part neo-Gothic thriller, part morality tale, The Killing of Butterfly Joe is a dazzling and propulsive novel full of characters you’ll never forget. The film of Brook’s novel The Aftermath starring Keira Knightley and Alexander Skarsgård comes out later this year. He talks to Peter Florence.
An all-star book group of Hay writers gather to recommend books for our #Vote100Books campaign: We want a new library of 100 great books by women that have inspired readers over the past century. Which books would you want to add to this library? Books have liberated and empowered people, books have enabled readers to imagine the world to be braver, more equal and more dynamic. Democracy is vulnerable to cynicism. Books offer empathy and hope. Chaired by Lynn Enright, head of news and content at The Pool.
Find out more about the #vote100books campaign and submit your nominations here
The classic London fogs, thick yellow pea-soupers, were born in the Industrial Age and remained a feature of cold, windless winter days until clean air legislation in the 1960s. Corton tells the story of the fogs, their dangers and beauty, and the lasting effects on our culture and imagination of these urban spectacles. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
A rare interview with the former Prime Minister of Israel, the most decorated soldier in his country’s history and author of a new memoir. Barak is a fierce proponent of a two-state solution for a lasting peace with Palestinians, with a shared capital in Jerusalem. He reflects on the current state of the peace process, on Israeli, Arab and American politicians and on the opportunities that are still available.
Bronwen Maddox is the director of The Institute for Government. She was previously editor of Prospect and Foreign Editor of The Times.
Tambini’s book Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple shows how these corporations have accumulated power in ways that existing regulatory and intellectual frameworks struggle to comprehend. A consensus is emerging that the power of these new digital monopolies is unprecedented, and that it has important implications for journalism, politics and society. Bartlett’s The People vs. Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) asks what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence? The author of The Dark Net and Radicals argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society are weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will. Chaired by Matt Stadlen of LBC.
Intimate conversations with 12 of the most famous medieval manuscripts in existence. De Hamel traces the elaborate journeys these exceptionally precious artifacts have made through time and space. He shows us how they have been copied, who has owned them or lusted after them (and how we can tell); how they have been embroiled in politics and scholarly disputes; and how they have been regarded as objects of supreme luxury and as symbols of national identity. De Hamel was Head of Medieval Manuscripts at Sotheby’s and is now Librarian at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
If you’ve ever felt the shock of listening to a recording of your own voice, you realise how important your voice is to your personal identity. We judge others not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent. The Professor of Acoustic Engineering explores the full range of our voice – how we speak and how we sing; how our vocal anatomy works; what happens when things go wrong and how technology enables us to imitate and manipulate the human voice.
Genealogist Catriona Crowe demonstrates how to use the 1901 and 1911 censuses to trace your ancestry.
The Colombian writer who won the La Otra Orilla award in 2009 for Necrópolis presents his book Océanos de arena, a diary of travels in the Middle East. He talks to Enrique Bueres, editor-in-chief of Canal+ and contributor to GQ magazine.
Who said stationery is boring? Half-chewed Cristal Bics and bent paper clips, rubber bands to fiddle with or ping, blunt pencils, rubbers and Tipp-ex. Exploring these everyday objects, Ward reveals tales of invention – accidental and brilliant – and bitter rivalry. He also asks the difficult questions, like who is Mr Pritt? And what are the thousands of uses claimed for Blu-Tack?
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.
Get out your wings and come dressed as a fairy for storytelling and lots of activities with the fairy queen.
In the popular imagination, as in her portraits, Elizabeth is the image of monarchical power. The Virgin Queen ruled over a Golden Age: the Spanish Armada was defeated and England's enemies scattered; English explorers reached almost to the ends of the earth; a new Church of England rose from the ashes of past conflict, and the English Renaissance bloomed in the genius of Shakespeare, Spenser and Sidney. But the image is also armour. In her illuminating new account of Elizabeth’s reign, Castor shows how England’s iconic queen was shaped by profound and enduring insecurity – an insecurity which was both a matter of practical political reality and personal psychology. But, facing down her enemies with a compellingly inscrutable public persona, the last and greatest of the Tudor monarchs would become a timeless, fearless queen.
The story of the making of Adolf Hitler that we are all familiar with is the one Hitler himself wove in his 1924 trial, and then expanded upon in Mein Kampf. Weber strips away the layers of myth and fabrication in Hitler's own tale to tell the real story of his politicisation and radicalisation in post-First World War Munich. It is the gripping account of how an awkward and unemployed loner with virtually no recognisable leadership qualities and fluctuating political ideas turned into the charismatic, self-assured, virulently anti-Semitic leader with an all-or-nothing approach to politics with whom the world was soon to become tragically familiar.
The Wye’s natural beauty has long been part of the river’s heritage, but many aspects of its history have been forgotten. Having both a Welsh and an English heritage, the Wye has a special unifying role in British culture, as well as exhibiting some of the classic features of a border. The river has been a psychological barrier separating cultures by language, religion and politics, and a physical barrier separating hostile rivals. By tradition the Wye was the last refuge of Vortigern and of Owain Glyndwr. In the 18th century, timber that was floated down the river from the Golden Valley built the British fleet that took on the French at Trafalgar.
Jorge Edwards, writer, literary critic, journalist and Chilean diplomat, and well-deserved recipient of the Premio Cervantes, discusses his latest novel, El descubrimiento de la pintura (Lumen), with the Peruvian writer, Fernando Iwasaki.
Shiver me timbers! Once upon a time, a mysterious message in a bottle said someone needed help; help from a certain bold, brave knight. So the brilliant Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, his cat Envelope and his good grey mare find a ship to rescue the messenger. Join the author for a musical, storytelling journey complete with pirates, a sea monster, and a delicious surprise.
From Dean to Epping, Hatfield to Sherwood, the author covers the natural history of our forests and how they have changed the face of our landscape. Covering the different species of trees that give our woods their unique character, the plants and animals that inhabit them and the way their appearance changes throughout the seasons, Woods is a fascinating and beautifully illustrated celebration of Britain’s trees and the ancient stories that surround them.
Zebra, Elephant and Bird are three best friends together: then one day they all fall out because Zebra runs TOO fast and doesn’t listen to his friends.
Join Jenni for a storytelling session and hands-on art workshop. She’ll also show you how she made the book, and you will be making your very own zebra mask to take home.