The poet, writer and illustrator introduces Star Cross’d, her contemporary film version of Romeo and Juliet commissioned for the Shakespeare Lives programme by the British Council. She explores the continuing relevance of the story and its influence on her own writing including Lorali. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
From the rise and fall of empires in China, Persia, and Rome to the spread of the great religions and the wars of the C20th, this epic work illuminates how the Silk Roads shaped global history, the axis of East and West. Frankopan is the Director of the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University.
“They told you you need to be thin and beautiful. They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels. They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty. They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place. They told you that’s not for girls – take it as a compliment – don’t rock the boat – that’ll go straight to your hips. They told you beauty is on the inside, but you knew they didn’t really mean it. Well I’m here to tell you something different…” Hilarious, jaunty and bold, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project exposes the truth about the pressures surrounding body image, the false representations in media, the complexities of sex and relationships, the trials of social media and all the other lies they told us.
The heroic tale of how Lord Woolton, Minister for Food 1940-1943, really fed Britain. As a nation at war, with supply routes under attack from the Axis powers and resources scarce, it was Woolton’s job to fulfil his promise to the British people, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in particular, that there would be food on the shelves each week. He battled to outwit unscrupulous dealers on the black market streets of cities across the British Empire, persuading customs authorities to turn a blind eye to his import schemes.
Amidst the numbers and summits of the refugee crisis, the voices of those who have fled conflict and persecution can be lost. Join us for readings from women across the world who have sought protection in the UK and learnt English with the British Red Cross in South Wales, where they have been writing about their experiences. Sharing their stories from the point of departure to their arrival in Britain, they write eloquently about the asylum system and life in the UK.
The English Language is spoken by more than a billion people throughout the world. But where did English come from? And how has it evolved into the language used today? The Oxford Professor investigates the evolution of the English language, examining how it continues to adapt, as English continues to find new speakers and new uses. Engaging with contemporary concerns about correctness, he considers whether such changes are improvements, or evidence of slipping standards. What is the future for the English Language? Will Standard English continue to hold sway, or are we witnessing its replacement by newly emerging Englishes?
On 25 January 2011, the world was watching Cairo. Egyptians of every stripe came together in Tahrir Square to protest Hosni Mubarak’s three decades of brutal rule. After many hopeful, turbulent years, however, Egypt seems to be back where it began, with another strongman, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in power. How did this happen?
The distinguished foreign correspondent uses literary reportage to describe the intimate ironies and ad hoc movements of the Egyptian revolution from Mubarak’s fall to that of Mohammed Morsi. Vignettes, incidents, anecdotes, conversations, musings, observations and character sketches cast a fresh light on this vital Middle Eastern story. Chaired by Katrin Bennhold of the New York Times.
S J Parris is the bestselling author of Prophecy and Heresy. Her historical thrillers follow the renegade monk, philosopher and heretic Giordano Bruno, as he uncovers dark mysteries and plots in Elizabethan England. The fifth book in the series finds Bruno in peril at the French court of King Henri III, under the terrifying eye of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici.
With their bluebells, blackbirds and beech trees, our woodlands are beautiful and inspiring places to explore. Discover why the British love nature-watching, and how it can help protect our woods and trees. Wildlife and science broadcaster Kate Humble is joined by Neil Sinclair, author of the 'Commando Dad' series.
The journalist interrogates the ideas of safe space on campus, the psychology of “vindictive protectionism” and the practice of “no-platforming” speakers. In a political culture that is susceptible to polarisation, where social media amplifies grievance and offence, how do we wield free speech? Aaronovitch discusses his lecture with Clemency Burton-Hill. He talks about his memoir Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists on Sunday
Planned as a decisive strike but fought as a bloody battle of attrition in 1916, the Battle of the Somme claimed over a million dead or wounded in months of fighting that have long epitomized the tragedy and folly of the First World War. By focusing on the first-hand experiences and personal stories of both Allied and enemy soldiers, Sebag-Montefiore defies the customary framing of incompetent generals and senseless slaughter. In its place, eyewitness accounts relive scenes of extraordinary courage and sacrifice, as soldiers ordered over the top ventured into No Man’s Land and enemy trenches, where they met a hail of machine-gun fire, thickets of barbed wire, and exploding shells. Chaired by Jesse Norman.
Excavation of two quarries in the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire by a UCL-led team of archaeologists and geologists has confirmed that they are sources of Stonehenge’s ‘bluestones’ and shed light on how they were quarried and transported. “We have dates of around 3400 BC for Craig Rhos-y-felin and 3200 BC for Carn Goedog, which is intriguing because the bluestones didn’t get put up at Stonehenge until around 2900 BC,” says Professor Parker Pearson. “It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable in my view. It’s more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument – somewhere near the quarries – which was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire. Stonehenge was a Welsh monument from its very beginning. If we can find the original monument in Wales from which it was built, we will finally be able to solve the mystery of why Stonehenge was built and why some of its stones were brought so far…”
The rising price but shrinking size of a steak, a bar of chocolate, and an apartment not only cause pain at home, they also propel some nations to deploy their militaries to secure resources and protect their citizens from higher prices. The economist, global strategist and presidential adviser reveals how our daily lives are informed and affected by the on-going battle, created by central bankers, between inflation and deflation.
Explore Space with the daughter of the famous physicist with whom she co-wrote the book, as she shares George’s fifth fabulous adventure. This time he and his friend Annie have been selected to train as junior astronauts, but bad things are happening in space, with mysterious missions taking off unsupervised. How can they be sure they’ll be safe?
Working with a team of talented women, the multi-award-winning comedian wanted to create something different to add to the mix of women’s magazines that were failing to inspire her. The result was Standard Issue Magazine, an online publication for all women. And men, too, if they fancied it. After their first year, millions of page views and having been shortlisted for a Book/Publishing award by comedy website Chortle, how does the future look? Hannah Dunleavy is the Deputy Editor.
Light takes eight minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the Sun. But its journey within the Sun takes hundreds of thousands of years. What is going on in there? What are light and heat? How does the Sun produce them and how on earth did scientists discover this? Professor Lucie Green is a solar physicist at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory and regularly appears on the BBC’s Star Gazing Live with Brian Cox. She works with the world’s major Space agencies, including NASA. In 2009 she won the Royal Society’s Kohn Award for her work promoting public engagement with science.
Gibson explains how a study of pond slime could cause people to question the existence of the soul; observation of eggs could make a man doubt that God had created the world; how the discovery of the Venus fly-trap was linked to the French Revolution; and how interpretations of fossils could change our understanding of the Earth’s history. Chaired by Daisy Leitch.
North London in the C21st century: a place where a son will swiftly adopt an old lady and take her home from hospital to impersonate his dear departed mother, rather than lose the council flat. A time of golden job opportunities, though you might have to dress up as a coffee bean or work as an intern at an undertaker’s or put up with Champagne and posh French dinners while your boss hits on you. A place rich in language – whether it’s Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, Swahili or buxom housing officers talking managementese... The award-winning author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian discusses her new comedy of modern manners.