A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic Circle. Finland is an enigmatic place, famous for its educational miracle, healthcare and gender equality – as well as Nokia, Angry Birds, saunas, questionable cuisine and deep taciturnity. Aboard the icebreaker Otso Clare gets to know the crew, and explores Finland’s history and character. His most recent books include Down to the Sea in Ships and Myths and Legends of the Brecon Beacons. Chaired by Peter Florence.
Come and learn to draw with the Animation Director of the Oscar-nominated animated feature film Song of the Sea.
The South African-born, anti-apartheid campaigner and politician chronicles the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, from lawyer to ANC freedom fighter, from political prisoner to President of the Rainbow Nation. He charts Madiba’s post-office humanitarian campaigns and gives an intimate and revealing portrait of the beloved global icon. The legacy is more complex, and Hain examines the state of the RSA today after Zuma’s corruption, and as Ramaphosa accedes to power. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
The development of painting in London from the Second World War to the 1970s is the story of interlinking friendships, shared experiences and artistic concerns among a number of acclaimed artists, including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Gillian Ayres, Frank Bowling and Howard Hodgkin. Drawing on extensive first-hand interviews, many previously unpublished, with important witnesses and participants, the art critic Martin Gayford teases out the thread connecting these individual lives and demonstrates how painting thrived in London against the backdrop of Soho bohemia in the 1940s and 1950s and ‘Swinging London’ in the 1960s.
One moment Kirkpatrick is attempting a rare solo ascent of Norway’s Troll Wall, the next he is surrounded by the TV circus while climbing Moonlight Buttress with the BBC’s The One Show presenter Alex Jones. Yosemite’s El Capitan is ever-present; he climbs it alone – strung out for weeks, and he climbs it with his 13-year-old daughter Ella – her first big wall.
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.
A conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer about his comedic masterpiece, a great American novel for our times. Russo returns to North Bath, the Rust Belt town first brought to unforgettable life in Nobody’s Fool.
Professor Erzsébet Dobos, author of Megmenekültek, talks to celebrated journalist Arcadi Espada, author of En nombre de Franco, about the protection given to Hungarian Jews by the Spanish Embassy in Budapest during WWII.
In collaboration with the Spanish Embassy in Hungary, Instituto Cervantes and Fundación Lara
The hugely ambitious Parthian press project to gather in one imprint the greatest Welsh writing in English of the past 100 years has now reached 50 titles – from Raymond Williams and Margiad Evans to Rachel Trezise and Leonora Brito. Phil George leads a conversation about the scope and scale, impact and treasures of Welsh literature. What do we learn from these modern classics? What might the next 50 books be? And how might they be selected?
During a three-year, eight-nation journey, Ignatieff found that while human rights is the language of states and liberal elites, the moral language that resonates with most people is one of everyday virtues: tolerance, forgiveness, trust and resilience. These ordinary virtues are the moral system of global cities and obscure shantytowns alike. A novelist and historian, Ignatieff is Rector and President of Central European University in Budapest.
Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
Join Cressida Cowell, award-winning author of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series. Cressida will talk about her latest book, The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic, as well as the inspirations behind all her writing, and give tips on becoming an author or illustrator.
Every year, the world spends about $2 trillion on wars. The total value of the global arms trade alone was at least $94.5 billion in 2014. The veteran peace campaigner suggests that establishing world peace would cost the global economy just $2 billion. She shows how everybody, from individuals in their communities to diplomats and world leaders, can realistically work together to end interminable cycles of violence and build a better society. Elworthy’s entire working life has been dedicated to building peace. She has been three times a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is founder of the Oxford Research Group. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
A conversation about fiction and language with two of the greatest Spanish language writers. The Impostor is Cercas’ new novel about the notorious fake Holocaust survivor, Enric Marco. With profound compassion and lacerating honesty, Cercas takes the reader on a journey not only into one man’s gigantic lie, but also into the deepest, most flawed parts of our humanity. Cercas also publishes his book of essays on the novel The Blind Spot. Gabriel Vasquez introduces his novel The Shape of the Ruins. It takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vásquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since. They talk, in English, to Daniel Hahn.