Nicola Pierce is author of the bestselling Spirit of the Titanic. Her latest novel is City of Fate. Aimed at nine-year-olds and upwards, the novel is set during the battle of Stalingrad, when the Russians managed to hold off the forces of Nazi Germany against all odds. Nicola will discuss how she researched and wrote the book, using photographs to show how the most important battle of World War II was fought and won.
A masterclass on theatrical adaptation from Matt Spangler, award-winning American playwright and writer of the stage adaptation of the best-selling novel The Kite Runner.
Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentarian of the Year 2012, talks about his new book on the life and works of the great Irish statesman and political theorist. Followed by Q&A with Myles Dungan.
Join these master storytellers in their modern interpretations of the Norse myths. Kevin draws on his study of the mythology to bring together these great stories in a stunningly illustrated anthology. While equally well versed in the myths but taking greater liberties with them, Francesca's vibrant re-workings, including The Lost Gods and The Monstrous Child, and her picture-book Hack and Wack, show how resonant the old stories are today. Chaired by Sian Cain.
Up Top was the name given locally to the Mid Wales Mental Hospital above Talgarth; a double meaning like 'round the bend', which often located asylums elsewhere – out of sight and out of mind. Purcell’s hitherto untold history, based on archives and oral testimony from staff and patients, shows how mentally ill people were treated through the 20th century. At first the ‘lunatic asylums’ relied on a strict regime of fresh air and bromide. Then they became ‘mental hospitals’, trying desperate measures like leucotomy, deep sleep narcosis and electro convulsive therapy. Then the word ‘mental’ was dropped and ‘psychiatric hospitals’ moved into the era of heavy drugs and psychotherapy. Finally, community care took over. The history of the Mid Wales’ was typical of many institutions that lie as ruined monuments to our attempts to help the mentally ill.
The polarised intensity of Brexit can seem like a very British civil war. What might healing and reconciliation look like? What can we learn from the past, and from present examples? Classicist Bettany Hughes reflects on her 2014 documentary series What’s The Point of Forgiveness? and takes a long view of ancient historical paths to peace. War correspondent Jon Lee Anderson discusses the political wrangling of peace terms and treaties he’s witnessed, the amnesties and the long recovery from totalitarian oppressions. Olusoga is an historian and author of Black and British: A Forgotten History. Paul Dolan is Professor in Behavioural Science at the LSE, where he works on measures of happiness and subjective wellbeing that can be used in policy and by individuals looking to be happier.
Mary Portas is one of the UK’s most high profile businesswomen. She transformed Harvey Nichols, runs her own consultancy, made a career in TV (Mary Queen of Shops) and advised the Government on the future of High Streets. Today she talks candidly about her life and work and about how, after years of playing the business game, she rebuilt her business on the values that mattered to her. Don’t miss her advice on how to make the way we work better. Chaired by Kitty Corrigan.
An all-star panel gather to talk about birth rights, inequality, working motherhood, (lack of) diversity in (social) media, body image and post-natal depression, physical extremity and joy. Brathwaite is the co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, Schiller is director of Birthrights, the human rights in childbirth charity, Telford is creator of the parenting site Mother of all Lists, Thorn is a Scummy Mummy and Burton-Hill is a broadcaster and writer.
How do women paint or photograph each other? How do they represent each other in performance or sculpture? As mothers or heroines? With tenderness, aggression or respect? Madam and Eve explores the female gaze as it focuses on other women. Rideal is an artist and photographer; Soriano is one of the world’s most respected curators; Bakewell is Bakewell – broadcaster, writer, pioneer.
Radiocarbon dating recently identified a manuscript in the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library as possibly the world's oldest fragment of the Qur’an, showing it to be at least 1,370 years old and attracting unprecedented international interest. Similarly, the earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels was rediscovered in a manuscript in Cologne Cathedral Library after being lost for 1,500 years and published for the first time last year with an English translation. How are such texts identified, authenticated and catalogued? What measures are taken to preserve them and make them available for scholarly research and public interest? What are the cutting edge technologies being used to analyse, protect and recover key historical documents?
Sarah Kilroy is Head of Conservation and Programming and Hugh Houghton is Director of Research at the Department of Theology and Religion and leads Birmingham's Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing.
The poet, writer and illustrator introduces Star Cross’d, her contemporary film version of Romeo and Juliet commissioned for the Shakespeare Lives programme by the British Council. She explores the continuing relevance of the story and its influence on her own writing including Lorali. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
Times of unprecedented pressure and challenge in the NHS have given rise to two heart-breaking memoirs of life in the front line of medicine today. Hear Rachel Clarke, journalist and doctor, and Adam Kay, doctor, writer and comedian in conversation with Anita Donley on healthcare, safety and medicine today.