100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
In Sapiens, Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
This event was recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books.
The prolific and inspiring creator of game-changing books, comics, films and songs talks about his work. His latest book is Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances.
‘I went into the newsagent’s for a packet of fags and I saw the exercise book, and I thought, yes, that’s got your name on it. Or it soon will. Buy it and fill it with your thoughts, which are many and beautiful and frequently in service to the Lord. Make a diary of your time at St Saviour’s. Maybe, in two hundred years’ time, you’ll be celebrated as the Samuel Pepys of the Church of England. Or a sort of Reverend Bridget Jones. Is that too much to hope for, Lord?’ The creators of the glorious television comedy present the thoughts of Rev. Adam Smallbone.
The LBC talkshow host has become one of the most exacting and powerful voices calling out political lies and speaking truths to both power and prejudice. He discusses the weaponising of fake news and ignorance, the power of dialogue and the urgent need for journalistic vigilance and authority. O'Brien is writing a book on these issues entitled How to be Right, to be published by Penguin Random House in November 2018.
This is a statement from the superstar author of How To Be A Woman about the world and the causes she cares about. It’s a compelling and hilarious rallying call for our times, tackling topics as pressing and diverse as reclaiming the word feminism, gaying up the Olympics, affordable housing, 1980s swearing, boarding schools and the reasons the internet is like a drunken toddler. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.
In 2013 the collections of the Women’s Library move to join those at the Library of the London School of Economics to create a powerful resource for discovering the history of campaigning women. The Library Director explores some of the stories revealed in the collections. Chaired by Gaby Wood.
The Australian writer and thinker is often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher. He is known especially for his work on the ethics of our treatment of animals, for his controversial critique of the sanctity of life ethics in bioethics, and for his writing on the obligations of the affluent to aid those living in extreme poverty. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Most Good You Can Do, The Life You Can Save, Famine, Affluence and Morality, and most recently Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. He talks to the Festival president.
This year’s library lecture is given by the illustrator and writer, whose long collaboration with Roald Dahl and his own work, which includes Clown, Zagazoo, Mrs Armitage, Mister Magnolia and his recent study Beyond The Page, have confirmed him as one of Britain’s greatest artists.
In light of the First Minister for Wales’s call for UK-wide constitutional conventions, how does the Scottish independence vote, whether yes or no, affect the people of Wales?
We have a lifetime’s association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. The doctor takes us on a journey through health and illness, offering insights on everything from the ribbed surface of the brain to the secret workings of the heart and the womb; from the pulse of life at the wrist to the unique engineering of the foot. If the body is a foreign country, then to practise medicine is to explore new territory: the explorer and author of Empire Antarctica leads the reader on an adventure through what it means to be human.
In an exclusive preview event, the celebrated writer and director of the new film talk to Francine Stock about their collaboration and introduce clips from the movie. Maggie Smith stars in the true story of the relationship between Alan Bennett and the singular Miss Shepherd, a woman of uncertain origins who ‘temporarily’ parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years.
The Lady in the Van is in cinemas from 13 November.
Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place. It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to describe land, nature and weather. The author of The Old Ways, Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places shows that language, well used, is a keen way of knowing landscape, and a vital means of coming to love it.