The novelists discuss the way in which fiction illuminates the history, the geography and the spirit of place.
In association with Commonwealth Writers.
The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity’. It intersects with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganises our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes. Woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. The cancer physician’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the Pulitzer Prize. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
The iconoclastic writer and director of the classic Withnail & I returns to London in a decade-long examination of the most provocative murder investigation in British history. He finally solves the identity of the killer known as Jack the Ripper.
Forna’s The Hired Man is a powerful novel about the indelible effects of war and the memories which stir beneath the silence of a quiet Croatian town. Meek’s The Heart Broke In is a rich, ambitious family drama of love, death and money in the era of gene therapy and internet exposés.
This dazzling new novel is the kaleidoscopic story of an unusual woman’s life, a metaphysical thriller and a profound meditation on mortality and survival. And it’s brilliant. Mitchell’s previous books are Ghostwritten, number9dream, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
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A classicist and a neuroscientist explore the Ancient Greek words Liberty, Comedy, Charisma, Xenia, Wisdom and Peace and travel both forwards and backwards in time, investigating how these ideas have been moulded by history and have made an impact on history and the human experience. Hughes is the author of Helen of Troy – Goddess, Whore and The Hemlock Cup. Critchlow is named as a British Council's Top 100 UK Scientist for her work in communication.
In a world of instant record, global publication and media turmoil, what and who is the future of news? Google’s Barron is joined by the BBC World anchor and author of Skyfull Of Lies Gowing, China expert Yueh, and Brogan, The Telegraph’s Deputy Editor.
The co-author discusses her delightful memoir of a later-life friendship and what happens when two ladies of a certain age decide to test Graham Greene’s maxim: Leap and the net will appear! This is a book for thrill-seekers, the adventurous and armchair travellers alike, a celebration of friendship, laughter and all that’s good in the world.