It is 1948 and the young and beautiful Marguerite Carter has lost her parents and survived a terrifying war, working for the SOE behind enemy lines. She returns to England to be one of the first women to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Now she pins back her unruly auburn curls, draws a pencil seam up her legs, ties the laces on her sensible black shoes, and sets out towards her future as an English teacher in a girls’ grammar school. Outside the classroom Britain is changing fast, and Miss Carter finds herself caught up in social upheaval, swept in and out of love and forging deep, enduring friendships. The first novel from the actress and award-winning author of The Two of Us and Just Me.
Memories are not only about the past; they also affect the future. Nicola and Clive, a scientist and a fine artist respectively, explore the complex relationships between memory and human experience. Join them for a fascinating discussion incorporating science, literature, magic and dance.
A celebration of reading and books from the comedian, broadcaster and writer whose books include the novels Hitler’s Canary, Flying Under Bridges and Valentine Grey, children’s stories The Littlest Viking and The Troublesome Tooth Fairy, non-fiction best-sellers Peas & Queues and Girls Are Best and the play Bully Boy. Introduced by Sue Wilkinson.
Keen’s incisive critique The Internet is Not the Answer traces the development of the net through the waves of start-ups and the rise of the big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity. He shows how the Web has had a deeply negative effect on our culture, economy and society. Phillips’ Trust Me, PR is Dead asks whether we can ever really trust companies and their stories in an age when technology not only allows transparency, but demands it. Keen is executive director of the Silicon Valley salon FutureCast and the author of Digital Vertigo and The Cult of the Amateur. Phillips was CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest PR company, before leaving to set up Jericho Chambers.
Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how does it work? Even in this age of cloning and synthetic biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we missing a vital ingredient in its creation?
Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, they show how photosynthesis relies on subatomic particles existing in many places at once, while inside enzymes, those workhorses of life that make every molecule within our cells, particles vanish from one point in space and instantly materialize in another.
In 1519 an arrogant and unscrupulous man sailed from the Caribbean with orders to find a missing Spanish expedition. He immediately set about carving himself an empire in modern Mexico, while the governor of Cuba sent a force out to kill him. Hernán Cortés explored the coast to Veracruz then struck inland, seduced by tales of a great empire rich in gold. He found the largest and best-run city on earth and reduced it to rubble.
Award-winning travel writer and historian John Harrison followed in his footsteps for four months, finding the jungle ruins and sophisticated hilltop cities which put the lie to the popular image of the Aztecs and their neighbours as bloodthirsty savages. Popular accounts always suggest Cortés was mistaken for a returning god; the truth is very different and far more interesting. Both the Spanish and the Aztecs thought that the world was coming to a close soon, and that they were pleasing their gods in performing vital last deeds.
An unmissable line-up of YA talent for your delectation. Four fabulous writers range over many topics that concern their readers, including love. Love Hurts is a new collection of writing, edited by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, to which James and Non have both contributed. They are joined by the winner of the inaugural YA Book Prize, Louise O’Neill in what promises to be a lively conversation chaired by Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust.
As society becomes more liberal, the Churches often seem more entrenched. The Oxford historian explores how Western Christianity’s complex and often divisive ideas about sex, marriage and gender have their roots in a story that began 3,000 years ago. Chaired by Anita Anand.
The award-winning Magnum photographer discusses his 30-year career shooting conflicts, vanishing traditions and contemporary culture with the Artistic Director of the Royal Academy. He presents his latest book From These Hands: A Journey Along the Coffee Trail. This brand new collection documents all the important coffee-growing communities around the world. McCurry’s striking colour portraits reach beyond the physical processes, to capture the very essence of these communities: ‘This project is about coffee, but not in a literal sense. It’s about how we live, about how people interact with one another.’
Photo: Bruno Barbey
Three young female scientists who are recipients of the University of Cambridge’s most prestigious scholarship, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, talk about their research. Julia Fan Li is director of the Global Health Investment Fund, which funds research and development for some of the most pressing global health challenges; Divya Venkatesh researches African sleeping sickness and does cross-disciplinary work in biotechnology; Alexandra Grigore works on an innovative fingerprint identity system for accessing medical records in developing countries.
Leaping from the pages, jostling for position alongside the Valleys mams, dads, and bamps, and described with great warmth, the superheroes in question are a motley crew: Evel Knievel, Sophia Loren, Ian Rush, Marty McFly, a bicycling nun, and a recalcitrant hippo. Other poems focus on the crammed terraces and abandoned high streets where a working-class and Welsh nationalist politics is hammered out. This is a post-industrial Valleys upbringing reimagined through the prism of pop culture and surrealism. Edwards marries an authentic colloquial voice with sound technique to produce poems that recognize the exotic in everyday life, and a first collection that, remarkably, has won the Costa Prize for Poetry 2014.
Henry’s new collection explores a marital break-up, his childhood in Aberystwyth, and in the final sequence we meet 'Davy Blackrock': washed-up songwriter and modern day alter ego of Dafydd y Garreg Wen (David of the White Rock), alias David Owen (1720–1749), the blind, 18th century harpist and composer who fell asleep on a hill and dreamt the famous song which bears his name.
A powerful and sometimes humorous look at the phenomenon of artificial high dramas and public shamings that are characteristic of a world dominated by social media. Why do we do it and how does it affect the shamed? Ronson was prompted into looking at public shaming after his own online identity was stolen in 2012. He met famous shamers and shamees to discover how public ridicule and vitriol can devastate the victim, and to uncover the true reasons behind the rise in public shaming.
Ronson is a documentary maker and author of many bestselling books including The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Lost at Sea and Them: Adventures with Extremists. Chaired by John Mitchinson.
In 2010 Sir Andre Geim FRS was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking work on the material graphene. More unusually, he’s also known for inventing an adhesive tape based on geckos and for levitating live frogs. Geim talks about his prize-winning work and how his atypical approach to science and life led him to it.
The journalist and economics commentator examines the state of Britain today and looks forward to a Britain of tomorrow. Hutton argues that allowing the market to decide, irrespective of justice and equity, has led to a capitalism that extracts value rather than creates it – in turn leading to an unequal society organised for the benefit of the top 1%.
Hutton is author of many influential books including The State We’re In, The World We’re In and Them and Us: Changing Britain – Why We Need a Fair Society.
A beautiful collaboration between TS Eliot Prize-winning poet Philip Gross and visual artist Valerie Coffin Price. Gross once lived on the banks of the River Taff in Wales and his journals are the source for the powerful poems. Price revisited the walking route along the river, from which evolved the prints and drawings that accompany the poems.
The award-winning photo-journalist has been documenting the island of Haiti for the past 15 years and has produced an astonishing record of one of the world’s most extreme cultures and natural environments, racked by civil war, climatic catastrophe and violent deprivations. He shows his images and discusses his work with Oliver Balch.
A conversation with the winner of the 2015 prize. Chair of judges, Bill Bryson: 'Marion Coutts' account of living with her husband's illness and death is wise, moving and beautifully constructed. Reading it, you have the sense of something truly unique being brought into the world – it stays with you for a long time after.'
In 2008 the art critic Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The tumour was located in the area controlling speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. He died early in 2011. Marion Coutts was his wife. In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to her partner's death. This book is an account of a family unit, man, woman, young child, under assault, and how the three of them fought to keep it intact. Written with extraordinary narrative force and power, The Iceberg is almost shocking in its rawness. It charts the deterioration of Tom's speech even as it records the developing language of his child. Fury, selfishness, grief, indignity and impotence are all examined and brought to light. Yet out of this comes a rare story about belonging, an 'adventure of being and dying'. This book is a celebration of each other, friends, family, art, work, love and language.
In 1962 the pioneering Sunday Times photographer embarked on a project to photograph the profound social and political changes sweeping across the world, from the slow disintegration of the Middle East, the early collapse of the Communist bloc and the rise of African nationalism, to the totalitarianism of China and North Korea, and the disparities of wealth and poverty in the Americas. Fifty years on, he shows his photogaphs and discusses them with filmmaker Corisande Albert.
A masterclass on how to get started in the media. Chaired by BBC Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones. Panellists include Head of Digital Development for Arts, Peter Maniura; Susie Worster, Head of Talent for Shed Media; Sally Garwood, one of the apprentices on BBC Radio’s Journalism scheme, and Creative Access Production trainee Ashley Francis-Roy.
Not for broadcast.