Low-level dishonesty is rife everywhere, in the form of exaggeration, selective use of facts, economy with the truth, careful drafting - from Trump and the Brexit debate to companies that tell us, ‘your call is important to us’. How did we get to a place where bullshit is not just rife but apparently so effective that it's become the communications strategy of our times?
Walter Scott praised Austen for her ordinariness. But according to the OED she was a linguistic innovator, the earliest printed source for nearly 300 words and senses, including ‘of the moment’ and ‘nice-looking’. What does this tell us about Austen – and the OED?
An unmissable line-up of YA talent for your delectation. Four fabulous writers range over many topics that concern their readers, including love. Love Hurts is a new collection of writing, edited by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, to which James and Non have both contributed. They are joined by the winner of the inaugural YA Book Prize, Louise O’Neill in what promises to be a lively conversation chaired by Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust.
There are a handful of cock-ups that we remember all too well, from the Poll Tax to the Millennium Dome. However, the list is longer than most of us realize and it is growing. King explains why the British political system is quite so prone to appalling mistakes. Chaired by Martin Chilton.
Webb has been a male for his whole life. As such, he has been a boy in a world of fighting, pointless posturing, and the insistence that he stop crying. As an adult man, he has enjoyed better luck, both in his work as the Webb half of Mitchell & Webb as an acclaimed actor and comedian, and as author of this part memoir, part call to arms.
The novelist discusses his essay collection Dæmon Voices and his novel La Belle Sauvage with Daniel Hahn.
Questions of masculinity have been at the heart of Sheers’ writing for 20 years, in his plays Mametz and The Two Worlds of Charlie F, in his fiction Resistance and I Saw A Man, and in his poetry – most clearly in Pink Mist. In 2012 he was also artist in residence with the Welsh Rugby Union. Here he interrogates ideas of masculinity in essay form, and reimagines a man’s world.