Perry was Bill Clinton’s Defence Secretary and has worked on security throughout his career. He explains the development of his thinking on weaponry and security as he journeys from the Cuban Missile Crisis to crafting a defence strategy in the Carter Administration to offset the Soviets’ numeric superiority in conventional forces, presiding over the dismantling of more than 8,000 nuclear weapons in the Clinton Administration, and his creation in 2007 (with George Shultz, Sam Nunn and Henry Kissinger) of the Nuclear Security Project to articulate “a vision of a world free from nuclear weapons and to lay out the urgent steps needed to reduce nuclear dangers”.
Ninety-five per cent of all thoroughbreds in the world are descended from one horse, the so-called Darley Arabian, shipped from Aleppo to Yorkshire in 1704 by a second son who failed to make his fortune and died before he could follow his horse home. The former racing correspondent on the Independent tells the story of the men and women who owned and traded and bred the horses descended from that first stallion. He also follows the men they hired to train them, and the jockeys who rode them and sometimes rescued them from the knacker’s yard, unwittingly preserving the genetic line of winners that currently resides with the champion Frankel. Chaired by the producer of the Horse Tales documentaries Corisande Albert.
What’s Macbeth without the witches? Quite possibly the play Shakespeare wrote. Macbeth was not published until after Shakespeare’s death and it is highly likely that it was his great contemporary Thomas Middleton who wrote most of the supernatural scenes. The Goldsmiths Shakespeare scholar will consider the role of the witches in Macbeth; their lasting legacy of psychosexual drama and the problems of ‘normal’ in a play that features a homicidal thane, a woman who wants to be unsexed, and a collection of bearded women babbling on a heath. Chaired by Peter Florence.
The Duchess of Rutland tells the story of the rediscovery of the great landscape designer’s abandoned plans for the Leicestershire estate. In a sumptuously illustrated lecture she shows how the original vision has now been articulated at one of Britain’s most spectacular country houses. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
Can Noah and his friends save their wilderness from developers? It’s the place where they make dens and sleep under the stars and they’re prepared to fight to save it. Join the author as she discusses the book and her own passion for preserving and protecting the countryside.
The Battle of the Atlantic was crucial to victory in the Second World War. If the German U-boats had prevailed, the maritime artery across the Atlantic would have been severed. Mass hunger would have consumed Britain, and the Allied armies would have been prevented from joining in the invasion of Europe. There would have been no D-Day. Using fascinating contemporary diaries and letters, from the leaders and the sailors on all sides, Dimbleby maps the human stories, the intelligence breakthroughs and the strategic daring of this turning point in European history.
Beneath the waters of Abukir Bay, at the edge of the Nile Delta, lie the submerged remains of the ancient Egyptian cities Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion, which sank more than a thousand years ago. They were dramatically rediscovered in the C20th and brought to the surface by marine archaeologists in the 1990s. The wealth of ancient artefacts from these excavations are now exhibited in the British Museum’s landmark exhibition. The curator tells the story of how two iconic ancient civilisations, Egypt and Greece, interacted in the late first millennium BC.
The consultant cardiac surgeon at Papworth looks at the development of tools to measure how well surgeons and hospitals are performing. He addresses the crucial decisions faced by anyone contemplating a medical intervention: should I keep taking the tablets? Should I have an operation? Which surgeon should I choose? He reveals why requesting a surgeon with the lowest patient mortality rate could be a mistake; how anaesthetists seem to make no difference to the outcome of an operation, but surgeons do; and why patients operated on the day before a surgeon goes on holiday are twice as likely to die as those operated on during that surgeon’s first day back.
Charlotte was a literary visionary, a feminist trailblazer and the driving force behind the whole Brontë family. She pushed Emily to publish Wuthering Heights and took charge of their precarious finances when her feckless brother turned to opium. In Jane Eyre she introduced the world to a brand new kind of heroine, modelled on herself: quiet but fiercely intelligent, burning with passion and potential. Harman is the award-winning biographer of Sylvia Townsend Warner, Fanny Burney and Robert Louis Stevenson, and the author of the best-selling Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World. Chaired by Catherine Han of Cardiff University.
Slow Fashion offers creatives, entrepreneurs and ethical consumers a glimpse into the innovative world of the eco-concept store movement. It focuses on sustainable design and businesses that makes people, livelihoods and sustainability central to everything they do. Minney is founder and CEO of fairtrade and sustainable fashion label People Tree. Williams is Director of The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion.
Join a stellar line-up of some of this year’s shortlisted authors for The Bookseller YA Prize as they are put under the spotlight by the judges before the winner is finally revealed. And celebrate with them afterwards! This year’s frontrunners are Holly Bourne, Sarah Crossan, Jenny Downham, Frances Hardinge, Catherine Johnson, Patrick Ness, Louise O’Neill, Mel Salisbury, William Sutcliffe and Lisa Williamson.
Why are we celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death? Who and what are we celebrating? How did Shakespeare get from there (the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage) to here (the global icon) and where will he go in the next hundred years? The eminent Shakespeare scholar is the author of The Genius of Shakespeare and Soul of the Age: The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare. He is Professor of English at the University of Oxford. Chaired by Jerry Brotton.
An illustrated lecture explores the earliest human art and what it tells us about our ancestors. Bahn looks at the famous cave paintings of Lascaux, Altamira, and Chauvet and the thousands of exquisite pieces of portable art in bone, antler, ivory, and stone produced in the same period. In 2003, Bahn led the team that discovered the first Ice Age cave art in England, at Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire. Chaired by Daisy Leitch.
The fabulous collections housed in the world’s most famous museums are trophies from an imperial age. Now the countries from which these treasures came would like them back. The Greek demand for the return of the Elgin Marbles is the tip of an iceberg that includes claims for the Benin Bronzes from Nigeria, sculpture from Turkey, scrolls and porcelain taken from the Chinese Summer Palace, textiles from Peru, the bust of Nefertiti, Native American sacred objects and Aboriginal human remains. Jenkins investigates why repatriation claims have soared in recent decades and shows that sending artefacts back will not achieve the desired social change nor repair the wounds of history. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
In the summer of 1990, Cathy’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out. It was two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive. They did not know then that there are many and various fates worse than death. The Last Act of Love is shortlisted for The Wellcome Book Prize.
What can chimpanzees and bonobos tell us about the extraordinarily complex human cultures? Koops, an Affiliated Lecturer in the Division of Biological Anthropology at Cambridge, investigates this question by studying our closest living relatives, the great apes.
General Sir Richard Shirreff, one of Britain’s highest-ranking soldiers and until recently Deputy Head of NATO, was threatened with court martial when he dared to criticise David Cameron’s defence policy. What he says here goes much further. He brings an urgent warning: We are sleepwalking our way into war with Russia and we need to act now, with resolution, to avoid it.
The story of how humans first started building the globalised world we know today. Set on a huge continental stage, from Europe to China, it is a tale covering more than ten thousand years from the origins of farming around 9,000 BC to the expansion of the Mongols in the C13th AD. Cunliffe brings into clearer focus those basic underlying factors that have driven change throughout the ages: the acquisitive nature of humanity, the differing environments in which people live and the dislocating effect of even slight climatic variation. The Emeritus Professor of Archaeology is the author of The Ancient Celts, Facing the Ocean, and Britain Begins.
What do neuroscience, tuberculosis and the humble fruit fly have to do with cancer? At the Francis Crick Institute, London’s new biomedical discovery centre, scientists from across the biomedical spectrum are being brought together under one roof. They are revolutionising research into cancer by speaking across specialisms and towards scientific innovation in the C21st. Chaired by Francine Stock.
Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the past 20 years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life. The author of The Wild Life and Meadowland tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland: from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the linnet pecking at seeds to the seven-spot ladybird that eats the aphids that eat the crop. He talks to Kitty Corrigan.
The author pays tribute to Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary in this brilliant new novel inspired by Othello. Her heartrending tale blends a love story with a sci-fi twist in an original Space-age adventure. Hear her discuss the story and her own love of Shakespeare with Claire Armitstead of the Guardian.