The composer and librettists of the WNO’s groundbreaking new opera introduce their adaptation of David Jones’ classic First World War poem and screen film clips of the production. Bell’s beautiful score combines traditional Welsh song with moments of other-worldliness, terror, humour and transcendence. David Pountney’s period production is both an evocation and a commemoration of the events of the Somme.
How can cultural exchange inform community regeneration? In 1974 John Gaventa met Hywel Francis and initiated an exchange between Welsh and Appalachian coalfield communities. This work was expanded by researcher Helen Lewis, cinematographer Richard Greatrex, and community organiser Mair Francis. Tonight they discuss the benefits, pitfalls and insights gained from a long-term cultural exchange over four decades. They are in conversation with Dai Smith.
You can book this event together with events  and  at a discounted price of £12. Please call the Box Office on 01497 822629 to proceed with this offer, and we will remove the £3 booking fee.
What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is both of these things and more,; and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. The winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize talks about his research and investigations. Chaired by Stuart Proffitt.
The investigative journalist and author lives under police protection from the crime syndicates he exposed and denounced in Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero. He offers a personal and candid portrait of Italy today: a place of trafficking and toxic waste, where democracy is bought and sold, and organised crime rules both north and south.
Why do naturally talented people frequently fail to reach their potential while other far less gifted individuals go on to achieve amazing things? The secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a passionate persistence. In other words, grit. The MacArthur Genius Award-winning psychologist shares fascinating new revelations about who succeeds in life and why. Chaired by Corisande Albert.
The designer Alex Lifschutz and Foyles Trading Director Siôn Hamilton will tell the inside story of a plan hatched in the book trade’s darkest hour to reimagine the iconic London bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Siôn and Alex opened their doors to the publishing industry, holding a series of workshops that provided the insight to inspire an innovative shop design that has caught the imagination of book lovers across the world. Chaired by the editor of The Bookseller.
All aboard The Leaky Battery! In Rise of the Slippery Sea Monster the ever-popular Steampunk Pirates are attacked by a sea monster hungry for gold. Will the pirates by able to defend themselves? The author reveals the amazing powers of these remarkable seafaring heroes with the help of his ukulele and accordion and the singing of some rousing sea shanties. Pirate dress optional.
The Iranian human rights lawyer and activist tells of her fight for reform inside Iran, and the devastating backlash she faced after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Having fought tirelessly for democracy, equality before the law and freedom of speech, Ebadi became a global voice of inspiration. Yet, inside her own country, her life has been plagued by surveillance, intimidation and violence
The great names of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Copernicus, Raphael and Michelangelo were the mark of an age that saw a rush of discovery, the breaking down of barriers of ignorance and a newly connected world both politically and economically. Today we have better education and resources, the rate of innovation is doubling every year and there are great leaps in science, trade, migration and technology. Goldin argues that the results this time could be greater, but the world faces many of the same dangers as Renaissance man: warring ideologies, fundamentalism, climate change and pandemic.
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare we have commissioned six English language and six Hispanic writers to create stories to celebrate both writers and to offer new and intriguing perspectives on them. In this first of three sessions chaired by Rosie Goldsmith, the first three writers introduce their tales. “Yuri Herrera must be a thousand years old. He must have travelled to hell, and heaven, and back again. He must have once been a girl, an animal, a rock, a boy, and a woman. Nothing else explains the vastness of his understanding” – Valeria Luiselli. Marcos Giralt Torrente is the winner of the Spanish National Book Award, whose The End of Love is published in English. Poet and novelist Ben Okri won the Booker Prize for The Famished Road.
The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together? In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link: corruption. Since the late 1990s, corruption has reached such an extent that some governments resemble glorified criminal gangs, bent solely on their own enrichment. These kleptocrats drive indignant populations to extremes-ranging from revolution to militant puritanical religion. Chayes is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of The Punishment of Virtue. Harding is the author of A Very Expensive Poison [see event 83] and one of the journalists on the Panama Papers story. They talk to Oliver Bullough, Orwell Prize shortlisted author of Let Our Fame Be Great and the writer and presenter of the film about Ukranian corruption Bloody Money [see event 443].
Come, dragon tamers everywhere! Practise your Dragonese with author and illustrator Cressida Cowell, creator of the awesome How to Train your Dragon books. Learn the secrets of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third – sword-fighter, dragon whisperer and greatest Viking Hero who ever lived. The author celebrates the grand finale of this best-selling series.
The chair of the Wellcome Book Prize jury reflects on how we share what we know, and how science progresses. The shortlist for this year’s prize is The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss, It’s All In Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan, Playthings by Alex Pheby, The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink and NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman. The winner is announced on 25 April.
The Samuel Johnson Prize-winning author of 1599 offers an intimate portrait of one of Shakespeare’s most inspired moments: the year of King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. 1606, while a very good year for Shakespeare, is a fraught one for England. Plague returns. There is surprising resistance to the new king’s desire to turn England and Scotland into a united Britain. And fear and uncertainty sweep the land and expose deep divisions in the aftermath of a failed terrorist attack that came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot.
Baxter’s drawings are a delicious stew of pulp adventure novels, highbrow jinks, and outright absurdity: lonesome cowboys confront the latest in modern art, brave men tremble before moussaka, schoolgirls hoard hashish, and the world’s fruits are in constant peril. Wimples abound. The artist talks to John Mitchinson.