Why is there an ‘h’ in ghost? William Caxton, inventor of the printing press, and his Flemish employees are to blame. Without a dictionary or style guide to hand in C15th Bruges, the typesetters simply spelled it the way it sounded to their foreign ears, and it stuck. The linguistics prof unearths the stories behind the rogue words that confound us, in an epic journey taking in C6th monks, French and Latin upstarts, the Industrial Revolution and the internet.
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 brings back her hero of Restoration: Robert Merivel, physician and courtier to Charles II, loved for his gift to turn sorrow into laughter, now faces the agitations and anxieties of middle age.
On the 20th anniversary of publication of his iconic tale of disaster and endurance in the first Iraq War, the Special Forces veteran revisits the story with new material.
Sands’s inquiry into the origins of 'genocide' and 'crimes against humanity' is also a personal quest for his family in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. It won this year’s Baillie Gifford Prize. Hay Festival-goers will have heard Sands explore many of the themes of the story here over the past decade. We revisit East West Street this year to honour one of the greatest works of literature of the festival’s lifetime; a book that might be read around Europe and around the world to inform the way contemporary history is developing.
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.
Bad waiters, bum tables, little rip-offs, big cons, old fish, cheap meat, yesterday’s soup and tomorrow’s gastroenteritis… The splenetic humorist tells us how to avoid the lot, and even come out of it with free champagne and a dish named after you by way of apology.
We are proud to launch Barbara Winton’s book about her father, the 105-year-old British humanitarian who organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War, in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport. Chaired by Alan Yentob.
The oracle and sanctuary of the Greek god Apollo at Delphi were known as the omphalos – the centre or navel – of the ancient world for more than a thousand years. Individuals, city leaders and kings came from all over the Mediterranean and beyond to consult Delphi’s oracular priestess; to set up monuments to the gods in gold, ivory, bronze, marble and stone; and to take part in athletic and musical competitions.
How and why do we survive, and what makes us unique? A conversation between a novelist and a scientist exploring the worlds they inhabit in Doctorow’s superb new speculative fiction Walkaway and Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes.