The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict that killed millions of its men, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe’s dominance of the world. It was a war that could have been avoided up to the last moment – so why did it happen? Macmillan is a previous winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the International Affairs Book of the Year at the Political Book Awards 2014 for this book. Chaired by Nik Gowing.
The Professor of Global Ethics explores the idea of perfection as exhibited in contemporary ideals of beauty. She questions the ways the aspiration can be read: as an individual’s aspiration to perfect themselves (‘I want to be perfect’), as assertion of what being perfect is (‘this is what I would be if I were perfect’), and as a command which a woman feels she should obey (‘you should be perfect’).
The Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE is one of world history’s unjustly neglected events. It decisively ended the threat of a Persian conquest of Greece. For the Spartans, the driving force behind the Greek victory, the battle was sweet vengeance for their defeat at Thermopylae the year before. Cartledge masterfully exposes the Athenian/Spartan rivalry that ‘rewrote the history books’.
The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk about Kevin centres on three generations of the Mandible family as an extreme fiscal crisis hits a near-future America. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon.
A conversation with staff members of the Jordanian, Egyptian, and Lebanese PEN Centres around the importance of Arab PEN Centres in the region. What are the aims, the values and the multilingual literary spaces that PEN creates, and what challenges do PEN Centres encounter in their individual countries?
Event in Arabic and French
It began with an unsigned email: ‘I am a senior member of the intelligence community’. The award-winning investigative journalist takes up the story of the NSA whistleblower. Chaired by James Naughtie.
Practical advice and builders’ tales from the rural affairs expert and star of Escape To The Country, Britain’s Empty Homes and Britain’s Heritage Heroes.
Echo Boy is the first novel for young adults from acclaimed author Matt Haig and is a poignant and beautifully-written story about love, loss and what makes us truly human, set in a future world where humans are served by ‘echoes’ – sophisticated, emotionless machines. He is joined by Alyssa Brugman whose groundbreaking novel Alex As Well is a confronting and heartfelt story of adolescent experience – of questioning identity, discovering sexuality, navigating friendships and finding a place to belong.
12+ years (YA)
What does it take to start a small rural business? Discover how to turn talent into turnover with advice from three successful entrepreneurs: Business Manager at Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE) Fiona Davies, home textile designer Jan Constantine and Hay’s own Athene English of The Great English Outdoors.
The online Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day-to-day basis. It shares stories from women around the world. The founder reports on the last year’s work.