Almost seventy-five years have passed since D-Day, the day of the greatest seaborne invasion in history. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance on that chill June morning. If Allied forces succeeded in gaining a foothold in northern France, the road to victory would be open. But if the Allies could be driven back into the sea, the invasion would be stalled for years, perhaps forever. An epic battle involved 156,000 men, 7,000 ships and 20,000 armoured vehicles. The desperate struggle that unfolded on 6 June 1944 was, above all, a story of individual heroics – of men who were driven to keep fighting until the German defences were smashed and the precarious beachheads secured. Their authentic human story – Allied, German, French – has never fully been told until now.
Johannes Vermeer’s luminous paintings are loved and admired around the world. We see sunlit spaces, the glimmer of satin, silver and linen; we see the softness of a hand on a lute string or letter. We recognise the distilled impression of a moment of time and we feel it to be real, yet we do not understand how the paintings were made. The few traces Vermeer has left behind tell us little: there are no letters or diaries, and no reports of him at work. Jelley has taken a new path in this detective story. A painter herself, she has worked with the materials of his time: the cochineal insect and lapis lazuli; the sheep bones, soot, earth and rust. She investigates old secrets and hears travellers’ tales. Her research allows us to unlock the studio door, and catch a glimpse of Vermeer inside, painting light.
A conversation with the dynamic poet, broadcaster and teacher, whose latest books include Worker’s Tales, Reading and Rebellion, and his memoir So They Call You Pisher! Chaired by Peter Florence.
The author of What I Loved introduces her new novel. Fresh from Minnesota and hungry for all New York has to offer, twenty-three-year-old S.H. embarks on a year that proves both exhilarating and frightening – from bruising encounters with men to the increasingly ominous monologues of the woman next door. Forty years on, those pivotal months come back to vibrant life when S.H. discovers the notebook in which she recorded her adventures alongside drafts of a novel. Measuring what she remembers against what she wrote, she regards her younger self with curiosity and often amusement. Anger too, for how much has really changed in a world where the female presidential candidate is called an abomination?
What is the role of black holes in the universe? Reynolds is Plumian Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University and an expert in the astrophysics of black holes. He will outline what light the latest research throws on one of the biggest questions in our quest to understand our universe.
Translated into more than a dozen languages and considered one of the 20 best young writers of 2013 by Granta, Sarah Hall (The Wolf Border, Madame Zero, The Beautiful indifference, The Electric Michelangelo) is a multi-award-winning novelist. Julianne Pachico (The Lucky Ones, The Tourists) is one of the great promises of British literature. Her first novel was finalist for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award. Both share love and talent for short novels.
La ganadora del Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana Miguel de Cervantes 2013, fue además la primera mujer en México en recibir el Premio Nacional de Periodismo. Novelista, periodista y poeta, Elena Poniatowska es probablemente la autora más conocida del país, autora de libros como La noche de Tlatelolco, Leonora o Dos veces única, entre muchos otros. Conversará con el escritor y periodista Xavi Ayén sobre su carrera y sus últimos trabajos.
Two authors from different countries and regions that are not part of the hegemonic centres of literary production will talk to Ingrid Bejerman about their latest books and about how their locations on the periphery define their writing. With Roland Brival (France), author of Sato San, le maître des corsets, and Carlos Velázquez (Mexico), author of the recently published book of short stories La efeba salvaje.
Following his hugely celebrated debut novel, The Yellow Birds, Powers returns to the battlefield and its aftermath, this time in his native Virginia, just before and during the Civil War and then 90 years later. The novel pinpoints with unerring emotional depth the nature of random violence, the necessity of love and compassion, and the fragility and preciousness of life.
The historian shows how liberal democracy, and Western history with it, was profoundly reimagined when the post-war Golden Age ended. As the institutions of liberal rule were reinvented, a new generation of politicians emerged: Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, Kohl. The late 20th-century heyday they oversaw carried the Western democracies triumphantly to victory in the Cold War and into the economic boom of the 1990s. But equally it led them into the fiasco of Iraq, to the high drama of the financial crisis in 2007/8, and ultimately to the anti-liberal surge of our own times. The present crisis of liberalism enjoins us to revisit these times with close attention. The era we have all been living through is closing out; democracy is turning on its axis once again. Chaired by Peter Florence.
The writer of poetry, fiction and prose, poetry educator, founder and artistic director of Out-Spoken will read new work that explores identity, race, history and gender.
Our poor Earth is drowning in plastic. But it’s not too late to save it. Join conservationist, author and vet Jessica French to learn all about waste and how we can revolutionise our relationship with it to help make our planet a nicer place for everyone. Find out what is being done to fix the problem and how the smallest, simplest change can make a world of difference.