Empathy is the power of understanding others, imaginatively entering into their feelings. It is a fundamental human attribute without which mutually co-operative societies cannot function. In a revolutionary development, we now know who has it, who lacks it and why. With the MRI scanner, we are mapping the human brain. This is a new frontier that reveals a host of beneficial ideas for childcare, teens challenged by the internet, the justice system, decent healthcare, tackling racism and resolving conflicts.
Nguyen’s The Refugees is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of 20 years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love and family. Temelkuran’s Women who Blow on Knots about three women on a road trip from Tunisia to Lebanon has become a controversial classic of Turkish literature.
Taneja's debut novel We That Are Young sets Shakespeare’s King Lear in contemporary India, where the clash of youth and age, the rise of the religious right wing, the repression of free speech and civil conflict in Kashmir are ongoing. She discusses the hidden history, politics and urgent contemporary relevance of Shakespeare’s plays in India. Chaired by Anil Dharker, Founder & Director of Tata Literature Live! the Mumbai LitFest
Illustrator Emma Shoard and singer and storyteller Geraldine Bradley bring to life Siobhan Dowd’s The Pavee and the Buffer Girl in picture, story and song. The story of the friendship between a traveller boy and a settled girl, this is a hymn to the power of love and friendship to bridge differences. Irish traveller songs, both traditional and modern, are woven into this reading of the story, as the characters and settings are illustrated on screen.
Lodgaard is one of the world’s most highly regarded authorities on weapons control. He was the Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research from 1992-1996. He examines the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with specific regard to North Korea and the USA. Chaired by Nik Gowing.
Head-Up Display (HUD) technology can help drivers with a safer and more comfortable and enjoyable driving experience. It can provide ‘immersive entertainment’ and protection for human wellbeing in the autonomous cars of the future. Professor Chu is Director of the Centre for Photonic Devices and Sensors at Cambridge. He presents his work with two colleagues from Jaguar Land Rover.
Wagner presents her riveting biography of one of the most important figures in American civil engineering history, Washington Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge. Introduced by Philip Davies, Director of the Eccles Centre.
Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
The US Senator’s brand of populism has galvanised new generations to engage with politics.
Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered. Prompted by his retirement from his full-time job in the NHS, and through his continuing work in Nepal and Ukraine, Henry has been forced to reflect more deeply about what 40 years spent handling the human brain has taught him.
The Turkish novelist reimagines the concept of honour, also the title of her 2015 novel. How has the word come to be understood in different communities? Can it be rescued from the grotesque association with the world “killing”? What might a truer application of honour mean for men and for women, for society and humanity? Chaired by A. C. Grayling.
The depiction of the Viking world in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas goes far beyond historical facts. What emerges from these tales is a mixture of realism and fantasy, quasi-historical adventures and exotic wonder-tales that rocket far beyond the horizon of reality. On the crackling brown pages of saga manuscripts, trolls, dragons and outlandish tribes jostle for position with explorers, traders and kings.
In our small corner of the universe we know how some matter behaves most of the time and what even less of it looks like, and we have some good guesses about where it all came from. But we really have no clue what's going on. In fact, we don’t know what approximately 95% of the universe is made of. So what happens when a cartoonist and a physicist walk into the tent?
For Adam Phillips - as for Freud and many of his followers - poetry and poets have always held an essential place, as both precursors and unofficial collaborators in the psychoanalytic project. But the same has never held true in reverse. What, Phillips wonders, at the start of this deeply engaging book, has psychoanalysis meant for writers? Phillips explores these questions through an exhilarating series of encounters with writers he has loved, from Byron and Barthes to Shakespeare and Sebald. And in the process he demonstrates how literature and psychoanalysis can speak to and of each other.
Over two full years, Dromgoole and the players of Shakespeare’s Globe toured all seven continents performing Hamlet in sweltering deserts, grand Baltic palaces and heaving marketplaces. We see what the Danish prince means to the students of Cambodia, the effect of Polonius on the citizens of the tiny African nation of Djibouti and how a 16th century play can touch the lives of Syrian refugees. Shakespeare’s timeless power to transcend borders, to touch the human heart and to bring the world closer together has rarely been demonstrated in such a bold and brilliant way.
At 21 the prodigious violinist found her instrument: a rare 1696 Stradivarius, perfectly suited to her build and temperament. Her career soared. Then, in a train station café, her violin was stolen from her side. In an instant her world collapsed. This is Min's extraordinary story - of a young woman staring into the void, wondering who she was, who she had been. It is a story of isolation and dependence, of love, loss and betrayal, and of the intense, almost human bond that a musician has with their instrument. Above all, it's a story of hope through a journey back to music.
Executive Orders and wiretapping, and let’s face it – lying - have called the separation of powers and basic constitutional principles into question in the United States as never before. Trump threatens rights of speech, privacy, religious freedom, voting and equality -- and we’re just getting started. Cole is the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has emerged as a leader in the fight to preserve civil liberties. He explains what’s going on to Philippe Sands.
A spellbinding hour with one of the all-time great live readers of poetry: ‘Lemn Sissay is a passionate and powerful voice whose performances are humbling and exhilarating’ – Kate Tempest.
The editor of The Amorist magazine chairs a conversation about love and sex in fiction and asks: is erotic passion the hardest form of literary endeavour? Get one line wrong and there’s laughter, or disgust. Gardner writes erotic fiction under the pen name Wray Delaney. Delaney’s first erotic novel, An Almond for a Parrot, is set amidst the brothels of 18thcentury London. Huston is the author of Say My Name, an account of a love affair between a married woman and a much younger man, while Jacobson’s most controversial novel was The Act of Love.
Cathedrals are custodians of culture and of the rituals of civic life. They offer welfare and relieve suffering. They uplift spirits with their beauty. In a real sense they are still what they were when first built a millennium ago, a glimpse of the sublime. Illustrated lecture.
Responding to today’s international challenges in a rapidly evolving geopolitical environment is placing new strain on the UK’s place in the world. The historian and constitutional expert assesses the challenges the UK faces in the coming years, discussing the impact of withdrawal from the EU and turning into a ‘Global Britain’ may have on the our foreign policy, security and territorial integrity.
Death affects us all. Yet it is still the last taboo in our society and grief is still profoundly misunderstood. Two writers, whose outstanding books offer compassion and solace, discuss ways to live on. Samuel is a grief psychotherapist and author of Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving. Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love and now A Manual for Heartache.
Ridley views the Peter Pan stories through the eyes of a neuroscientist and explores J M Barrie's interest in cognition, theory of mind and the nature of consciousness. Barrie's stories are rich in post-Darwinian questions about the origins of human nature and the mental abilities of animals, children and adults. Ridley was Head of the Medical Research Council Comparative Cognition Research Team in the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University.