On 4 July 1187 Saladin destroyed the Crusader army of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in a terrible slaughter at the battle of Hattin. He went on to restore the Holy City of Jerusalem to Islamic rule. The carnage at Hattin was the culmination of almost a century of religious wars between Christian and Muslim in the Holy Land. In the C20th the battle was revived as a symbol of Arab hope for liberation from Crusader-Imperialism, and in the C21st it has become a rallying cry for radical Muslim fundamentalists in their struggle for the soul of Islam. Chaired by Peter Florence.
The author of The Tulip and The Curious Gardener explores the different ways in which we have, throughout the ages, responded to the land. While painters painted and writers wrote, an entirely different band of men, the agricultural improvers, also travelled the land and published a series of remarkable commentaries on the state of agricultural England. They looked at the land in terms of its usefulness as well as its beauty and, using their reports, Pavord explores the many different ways in which land was managed and farmed, showing that what is universal is a place’s capacity to frame and define our experience.
The great comic writer, author of What A Carve Up! and The Rotters’ Club, introduces his new novel. It’s about the hundreds of tiny connections between the public and private worlds and how they affect us all. It’s about the legacy of war and the end of innocence. It’s about living in a city where bankers need cinemas in their basements and others need food banks down the street. It’s about how comedy and politics are battling it out and how comedy might have won.
As support for the extremes of the political spectrum increases across Europe, and Britain threatens to pull out of the EU, what does the future hold for our continent? Abbas is a research associate at the University of Cambridge, Bickerton is a lecturer in politics and Karcher is a research associate in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages. Simms is the author of Britain's Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation.
The best-selling author’s teenage heroine, Hel, knows every feeling of adolescence. But as goddess of the Underworld, when she behaves badly she doesn’t just get sent to her room; she gets sent to rule over the dead for all eternity! Hel has powers that most teens can only dream of – but they come at a price.
Join the illustrator on a journey of discovery in some of the Earth’s most amazing habitats. Explore the coral on the Great Barrier Reef, experience the astonishing peaks of the Himalayas, trek through the Amazon rainforest, experience the darkest paths of the Black Forest and the dry heat of the Chihuahuan desert. And then draw your own ‘wonder garden’.
From the renowned and entertaining behavioural economist and co-author of the seminal work Nudge, Misbehaving is an irreverent and enlightening look into human foibles. Traditional economics assumes that rational forces shape everything. Behavioural economics knows better. Thaler has spent his career studying the notion that humans are central to the economy - and that we’re error-prone individuals, not Spock-like automatons. Now behavioural economics is hugely influential, changing the way we think about not just money, but also about ourselves, our world and all kinds of everyday decisions.
Never in human history was there such an opportunity for freedom of expression. If we have internet access, any one of us can publish almost anything we like and potentially reach an audience of millions. And never was there a time when the evils of unlimited speech flowed so easily across frontiers: violent intimidation, gross violations of privacy, tidal waves of abuse. With vivid examples – from his personal experience of China’s Orwellian censorship apparatus to the controversy around Charlie Hebdo as well as a very English court case involving food writer Nigella Lawson – Garton Ash proposes a framework for civilized conflict in a world in which we are all becoming neighbours.
The language of genes has become common parlance. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. The media tells us that our genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer’s. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise. So we’ve all heard of genes, but how do they actually work? Arney is an award-winning science writer and broadcaster who specialises in genetics and biomedical science.
PS The story goes that an old sea captain once gave Ernest Hemingway a six-toed cat whose distinctive descendants still roam the writer’s Florida estate…
A conversation with two of Latin America’s biggest award-winning fiction stars, who were part of the landmark Bogota 39 Generation in 2006. In Gabriel Vasquez’ Reputations, Colombia’s great cartoonist star is at a big public celebration of his career when he is faced with a character from his past who calls into question everything about his life and work. Enrigue’s Sudden Death is a funny and mind-bending novel about the clash of empires and ideas in C16th, told over the course of one, dazzling tennis match in Rome. In England, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII execute Anne Boleyn, and her executioner transforms her legendary locks into the most sought-after tennis balls of the time. Across the ocean in Mexico, the last Aztec emperors play their own games, as Hernán Cortés and his Mayan translator and lover scheme and conquer, fight and fornicate, not knowing that their domestic comedy will change the course of history.
The Booker-winning Australian writer launches his new novel. On the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean, Napoleon spends his last years in exile. It is a hotbed of gossip and secret liaisons, where a blind eye is turned to relations between colonials and slaves. The disgraced emperor is subjected to vicious and petty treatment by his captors, but he forges an unexpected ally: a rebellious British girl, Betsy, who lives on the island with her family and becomes his unlikely friend.
The first female winner of The Royal Society’s book prize, Gaia Vince’s ambitious journey charts humanity’s changes on our living planet. By transforming our relationship with the natural world, humans have beckoned a new a geological age: the Anthropocene. Join Gaia as she talks to broadcaster Adam Rutherford about the stories and people that make up these earth-shifting times.
The geographer introduces this staggeringly detailed analysis of social change over the past 15 years, gleaned from census statistics and big data. It is essential reading for all those working in local authorities, health authorities, and statutory and voluntary organisations, as well as for researchers, students, policy makers, journalists and any Haymakers interested in social geography, social policy, social justice and social change.
In times of instability and change, more and more African writers are turning to non-fiction. A new anthology, Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, brings local perspectives to the stories behind the headlines, and highlights contemporary issues across the continent. It addresses the Chinese in Africa, the refugee crisis, and Ebola. Can creative nonfiction move readers where fiction falls short, or simply fails to inspire action? Rosie Goldsmith hosts South African-based author Mark Gevisser, Hawa Golakai from Liberia and Kevin Eze from Senegal.
Inspired by the traditional wonder tales of the East, Rushdie’s new novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.
Paris at the time of the French Revolution was the world capital of science. Its scholars laid the foundations of today’s physics, chemistry and biology. They were true revolutionaries, agents of an upheaval both of understanding and of politics. The Eiffel Tower, built to celebrate the Revolution’s centennial, saw the world’s first wind tunnel, first radio message and first observation of cosmic rays. Perhaps the greatest Revolutionary scientist of all, Antoine Lavoisier founded modern chemistry and physiology, transformed French farming, and hugely improved the manufacture of gunpowder. His political activities brought him a fortune, but in the end led to his execution. The judge who sentenced him claimed that “the Revolution has no need for geniuses”. Chaired by Dan Davis.
The global strategist and author travels from Ukraine to Iran, Mongolia to North Korea, London to Dubai and the Arctic Circle to the South China Sea – all to show how C21st conflict is a tug-of-war over pipelines and internet cables, advanced technologies and market access. Yet Connectography offers a hopeful vision of the future. Khanna argues that new energy discoveries and innovations have eliminated the need for resource wars; that global financial assets are being deployed to build productive infrastructure that can reduce inequality; and that frail regions such as Africa and the Middle East are unscrambling their fraught colonial borders through ambitious new transportation corridors and power grids.
Tom Ellen, journalist, and Lucy Ivison, school librarian, discuss how they created Never Evers, the sequel to Lobsters. Are two writers better than one when it comes to having great ideas? Does their experience of having been at sixth form together help when they are writing about Mouse and Jack and the great disaster of the school ski-ing trip?
Some animals live for just a few hours as adults, others prefer to kill themselves rather than live for longer than they are needed, and there are a number of animals that live for centuries. There are parasites that drive their hosts to die awful deaths, and parasites that manipulate their hosts to live longer, healthier lives. There is death in life. Among all of this is us: perhaps the first animal in the history of the universe fully conscious that death really is going to happen in the end. The zoologist explores the never-ending cycle of death and the impact it has on the living.
What did performances of Shakespeare’s plays sound like in his day? Linguistics professor David Crystal introduces OP (original pronunciation) and marvels at the wonders of the playwright’s revolutionary vocabulary. Molina Foix (who translates Shakespeare for contemporary Spanish theatre) considers the reality that most people in the world discover the great writer’s work in translation.