For 150 years, canals were the high-tech water machines driving the industrial revolution. Amazing feats of engineering, they carried the rural into the city and the urban into the countryside, and changed the lives of everyone. Then, just when their purpose was extinguished by modern transport, they were saved from extinction and repurposed as a 'slow highways' network, a peaceful and countrywide haven from our too-busy age. Today, there are more boats on the canals than in their Victorian heyday. Writer and slow adventurer Jasper Winn spent a year exploring Britain's waterways along 1,000 miles of 'wet roads and water streets' where he discovered a world of wildlife corridors, underground adventures, the hardware of heritage and history, new boating communities, endurance kayak races and remote towpaths. Chaired by Mark Skipworth.
King Henry VIII is often defined by his many marriages, but his relationships with the men who surrounded him reveal much about his beliefs, behaviour and character. They show him to be capable of fierce, but seldom abiding loyalty; of raising men only to destroy them later. Henry’s father the first Tudor king, his older brother Arthur, his handsome jousting partners, his warring advisors – both Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell ended up on the block; but the tenderness that he displayed towards those he trusted proves that he was never the one-dimensional monster often depicted. Tracy Borman is a bestselling author and historian, specialising in the Tudors. She is joint chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces and chief executive of the Heritage Education Trust.
Why did landscape become a subject for art in the 18th century and not before? Where might we look for clues to an earlier ‘sense of place’? The Professor of English, author of Weatherland and Romantic Moderns, examines the history of English landscape painting and local writing from the particular perspective of going back to her childhood home in Sussex. She talks with Tim Dee, editor of a timely collection of the best British nature writing newly commissioned by one of the great authorities on the subject - Ground Work. The book explores a sense of place, and our obligations of custodianship in this land.
Erika McGann, author of The Demon Notebook, The Broken Spell and The Watching Wood, conducts an interactive talk about writing books for pre-teen readers and aspiring authors.
What does it take to be a Dragonsitter? Could you be one? This is your opportunity to find out. Join the author and illustrator to learn about The Dragonsitter series in a fun-filled event packed full of storytelling and live-drawing.
Professor Littlemore and Dr Turner are co-investigators on the project ‘Death before Birth’. This examines how people who have experienced miscarriage, termination for foetal anomaly, and stillbirth, reach decisions concerning what happens to their babies after death, how their perceptions of the law impact on their decision-making, and how they communicate their experiences and choices to those there to support them. The project will also be examining the existing guidance on what happens to babies after they have died, investigating how it is interpreted in practice by professionals and the extent to which it takes account of the views, experiences and needs of the bereaved. Jeannette and Sarah will be talking about the ways in which people who have experienced pregnancy loss, and those who support, use language to make sense of and communicate their feelings about their loss.
Pariat’s captivating novel, The Nine-Chambered Heart, is a kaleidoscopic story of one woman as seen through the eyes of those she has loved or been loved by. To read Andersson’s tale of an adulterous affair, Acts of Infidelity, is to dive inside the mind of a brilliant, infuriating friend – her lovers’ entanglements and arguments are the stuff of relationship nightmares: cutting, often cruel, and written with razor-sharp humour. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
Paolo Giordano (Italy) rose to international fame with The Solitude of Prime Numbers, a novel that won the 2008 Strega Prize and which was made into a film in 2010. Author of The Human Body, Giordano was educated as a physicist and will present his recent work, Like Family. In conversation with Héctor Abad Faciolince.
Clark honours the life and work of the pioneer of the hospice movement. His biography shows how Cicely Saunders and the hospice she created, St Christopher’s, played a crucial role in shaping a new discourse of care at the end of life. From the pessimism of ‘there is nothing more we can do’, medicine and healthcare gradually adopted a more purposeful approach to care at the end of life, which came to be known as ‘palliative care’.
The wish to protect wildlife is now a central goal for our society, but where did these ‘green’ ideas come from? And who created the cherished institutions, such as the National Trust or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which are now so embedded in public life and attract millions of members? Cocker asks searching questions such as who owns the land and why? And who benefits from green policies? Why do the British seem to love their countryside more than almost any other nation, yet have come to live amid one of the most denatured landscapes on Earth? He tries to map out how this overcrowded island of ours could be a place fit not just for human occupants but also for its billions of wild citizens. Chaired by Andy Fryers.