Why is there an ‘h’ in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press, and his Flemish employees are to blame. Without a dictionary or style guide to hand in C15th Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign ears, and it stuck. The linguistics prof unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, in an epic journey taking in C6th monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet.
As part of Hay Festival’s big Shakespeare 400 Celebrations, the writer and lecturer discusses the playwright’s poetry.
We are delighted to host the announcement of the winners of the Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which will be presented by John le Carré. Judges Godfrey Smith, author of prize-winning biography George Price: A Life Revealed, and Canadian short story writer DW Wilson will talk about the process of judging, and the winning writers will be in conversation with Razia Iqbal.
Entry to this event is free but you must reserve a ticket.
What kind of past is it that Michael Gove’s proposed history curriculum offers to schoolchildren and their teachers? Can it be taught? Should it be taught? And what are the consequences for our national culture and identity? The historian leads the conversation and welcomes contributions from primary and secondary school teachers.
We each possess a similar set of around 25,000 human genes. Yet a tiny, distinctive cluster of these genes plays a disproportionately large part in how our bodies work. The immunologist argues that these few genes hold the key to who we are as individuals and our relationship to the world: how we combat disease; how our brains are wired; how attractive we are; even how likely we are to reproduce. Chaired by Liz Hunt.
The novelist brings back her hero of Restoration: Robert Merivel, physician and courtier to Charles II, loved for his gift to turn sorrow into laughter, now faces the agitations and anxieties of middle age.
Love Bombing is the psychologist’s very simple technique, which helps most children from three years to early teenage. Because so many parents have periods of living very busy or miserable or complicated lives, most of us need to reconnect with our children from time to time. Love Bombing does the job. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
The Astronomer Royal and former Royal Society President discusses his hopes and fears for the coming decades, and speculates about more distant time-horizons, and a possible post-human era.