How many plays did Shakespeare write? Which feature ghosts? Which are non-fiction and which are made up? The WhatOnEarth Wallbook author explores the world of human emotion using a giant timeline, a coat of many pockets and a series of everyday objects as props. Audience participation required, suitable for ages 6-106.
Shiver me timbers! Once upon a time, a mysterious message in a bottle said someone needed help; help from a certain bold, brave knight. So the brilliant Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, his cat Envelope and his good grey mare find a ship to rescue the messenger. Join the author for a musical, storytelling journey complete with pirates, a sea monster, and a delicious surprise.
Based on a mass of newly declassified Russian secret intelligence documentation, Haslam reveals the true story of Soviet intelligence from its very beginnings in 1917 right through to the end of the Cold War. Covering both branches of Soviet espionage, civilian and military, he charts the full range of the Soviet intelligence effort and the story of its development: in cryptography, disinformation, special forces, and counter-intelligence. He shows how their greatest weapon and ironically their greatest weakness was the human factor: their ability to recruit secret agents. Haslam is the George F Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there’s a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. He explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar’s revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo owned all of his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, “the greatest man since the Deluge”. Wulf’s biography won the Costa Prize. Chaired by Professor Philip Davies.
Theatre director Zoë Svendsen and journalist and economist Paul Mason explore the theatricality of capitalism by examining what an economic analysis of Shakespeare’s plays might tell us about character and how the human is represented. Part of a new research and development project at the Young Vic, London.
In July 1961, just before David Aaronovitch’s seventh birthday, Yuri Gagarin came to London. The Russian cosmonaut was everything the Aaronovitch family wished for - a popular and handsome embodiment of modern communism. But who were they, these ever hopeful, defiant and (had they but known it) historically doomed people? Like a non-magical version of the wizards of J K Rowling’s world, they lived secretly with and parallel to the non-communist majority, sometimes persecuted, sometimes ignored, but carrying on their own ways and traditions. Aaronovitch revisited his own memories of belief and action. He found himself studying the old secret service files, uncovering the unspoken shame and fears that provided the unconscious background to his own existence as a party animal.
Emerald Fennell, author and Call the Midwife star talks about her new book: A blackly comic tale about two children you would never want to meet. Set in the Cornish town of Fowey, all is not as idyllic as the beautiful seaside town might seem. The body of a young woman is discovered in the nets of a fishing boat. It is established that the woman was murdered. Most are shocked and horrified. But there is somebody who is not - a twelve-year-old girl. She is delighted; she loves murders. Soon she is questioning the inhabitants of the town in her own personal investigation. But it is a bit boring on her own. Then Miles Giffard, a similarly odd twelve-year-old boy, arrives in Fowey with his mother, and they start investigating together. Oh, and also playing games that re-enact the murders. Just for fun, you understand...
The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity’. It intersects with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganises our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes. Woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. The cancer physician’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the Pulitzer Prize. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
What does it mean to live happily ever after? At dinner parties and over coffee, Rabih and Kirsten’s friends always ask them the same question: how did you meet? The answer comes easily – it’s a happy story, one they both love to tell. But there is a second part to this story, the answer to a question their friends never ask: what happened next? From the first thrill of lust, to the joys and fears of real commitment, and to the deep problems that surface slowly over two shared lifetimes, this is the story of a marriage. It is about modern relationships and how to survive them. Playful, wise and profoundly moving, the essayist and philosopher introduces his first novel in 20 years.
The curators of the two landmark exhibitions of the 400th anniversary celebrations share their treasures at Hay – from First Folios and the now famous handwritten plea for refugees, to Vivien Leigh’s Titania costume and some of the richest theatrical memorabilia of the last 400 years.
Over the past two centuries or so, capitalism has undergone economic cycles that veer from boom to bust. The campaigning economist and broadcaster argues that we are on the brink of a change so big and profound that this time capitalism itself will mutate into something wholly new. Chaired by Jane Davidson.
A new, historical novel from the great tale-teller. Consider Vivien in November 1922. She is 24 and a spinster. She wears fashionably droopy clothes, but she is plain and - almost worse in those times - intelligent. At nearly six foot tall, she is known unkindly by her family as ‘the giantess’. Fortunately, Vivien is rich, so she can travel to London and bribe a charismatic gentleman publisher to marry her… This is a city fizzing with change, full of flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked soldiers and aristocrats clinging onto the past.
The evolutionary biologist shows why our ancestors became two-legged, why we have opposable thumbs, why the backbone appeared, how fish fins became limbs, how even trees are locomotion-obsessed, and how movement has shaped our minds as well as our bodies. He explains why there are no flying monkeys or biological wheels, how dinosaurs took to the air, how Mexican waves began in the animal kingdom, and why moving can make us feel good. Wilkinson opens up an astonishing new perspective – that nothing in life makes sense except in the light of movement.
The untold story of how some of Germany’s top aristocrats contributed to Hitler’s secret diplomacy during the Third Reich, providing a direct line to their influential contacts and relations across Europe - especially in Britain, where they included press baron and Daily Mail owner Lord Rothermere and the future King Edward VIII.
The journalist and war historian links tales of high courage ashore, at sea and in the air to the work of the brilliant boffins at home, battling the enemy’s technology. Most of the strivings, adventures and sacrifices of spies, Resistance, Special Forces and even of the code-breakers were wasted, Hastings says, but a fraction was so priceless that no nation begrudged lives and treasure spent in the pursuit of jewels of knowledge. The book tells stories of high policy and human drama, illuminating the fantastic machinations of secret war.
The Professor of Gerontology and Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing looks at population trends to highlight the key issues facing us in the coming decades, including the demographic inertia in Europe, demographic dividend in Asia, high fertility and mortality in Africa, the youth bulge in the Middle East, and the balancing act of migration in the Americas. Harper analyses the global challenges we must plan for, such as the impact of climate change and urbanisation, and the difficulty of feeding 10 billion people. She considers ways in which we can prepare for and mitigate against these challenges.
We know we need money. We tend to want more of it. But why do we behave the way we do with it? And why does it have such a hold on us? Award-winning BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond delves into the surprising psychology of money to show us that our relationship with the stuff is more complex than we might think. Exploring the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, biology and behavioural economics, she also reveals some simple and effective tricks that will help you think about, use and save money better: from how being grumpy helps if you don’t want to be ripped off to why you should opt for the more expensive pain relief; from how to shop for a new laptop to why you should never offer to pay your friends for favours.
Rightly celebrated for iconic works such as ‘Adiemus' and 'The Armed Man', Sir Karl Jenkins is now the most-performed living composer in the world, with 17 gold and platinum disc awards. In 2015 he became the first Welsh-born composer to receive a knighthood for services to composing and crossing musical genres. His is one of the most versatile careers in modern music, from a modest upbringing in Penclawdd to the 1960s London jazz scene, the prog-rock band Soft Machine and his huge success in the world of 1980s advertising, composing for brands such as Levi’s, BA and Renault. In 1995 his composition ‘Adiemus’, combini
The story of Rowland Vaughan and his waterworks provides an insight both into an eager and imaginative but rather litigious family man and into his understanding of the benefits of irrigating farmland and managing floodwater. Such thinking was very new at the end of the Elizabethan era. The extensive field work carried out by the Golden Valley Study Group shows in great detail the traces of Vaughan’s meticulous design for his water management system in the Golden Valley in Herefordshire, still clearly discernible in the landscape today – the very gradual gradients, the gentle curves of the spreader channels, the capacity to set water flowing either up or down the main channel (the Trench Royal) as required, and the groundworks in the meadows themselves.