In the Islamic tradition, a garden with its central elements of water, the scent of fruit trees, and places for rest and reflection, celebrates Heaven on Earth. The gardener Monty Don and acclaimed photographer Derry Moore set off on a journey to find out more about the principles and immersive delights of paradise gardens and how a very different culture and climate has influenced garden design round the world. From the Real Alcazar and the Alhambra in Spain to a Mughal garden in Bradford, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Maidan in Isfahan, Iran, the birthplace of paradise gardens, they present a glorious celebration of the richness of Islamic culture through some of the most beautiful gardens on earth.
A collection of delightfully witty and acutely observed stories by the comedy writer, columnist and actress – star of The Thick of It, Lewis and Nighty Night. She reads and talks to Lisa Dwan.
In the spring of 1553 three ships sailed north-east from London into uncharted waters. The scale of their ambition was breathtaking. Drawing on the latest navigational science and the new spirit of enterprise and discovery sweeping the Tudor capital, they sought a northern passage to Asia and its riches. When their ships became separated in a storm, each ship had to fend for itself. Their fates were sharply divided. One returned to England, to recount extraordinary tales of the imperial court of Tsar Ivan The Terrible. The tragic, mysterious story of the other two ships has to be pieced together through the surviving captain’s log book, after he and his crew became lost and trapped by the advancing Arctic winter.
The Director of the British Library browses the infinite possibilities for Libraries and Creativity in an Age of Data. ‘These are times of historic disruption in the whole global system of information and publication, and it seems right that the great knowledge institutions – with their historic remit to think and act with a view far into the future – should play a full part in shaping the changes that lie ahead.’ Chaired by Gaby Wood, Head of Books at The Telegraph.
Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to interrogate the link between religion and bloodshed.
Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the centuries, from medieval crusaders to modern-day jihadists. Today we regard faith as a personal and private matter, but for most of history faith has informed people’s entire outlook on life, and has often been inseparable from politics. Fields of Blood is a celebration of the ancient religious ideas and movements that have promoted peace and reconciliation across millennia of civilization.
One of the world’s leading conductors presents his portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who seems so ordinary, so opaque – and occasionally so intemperate? Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.
A groundbreaking exploration of contemporary poetry in Wales through the potential of collaboration across our two languages. Six poets have worked with one another to create original poetic works. They’ve been touring these pieces in rolling pairs around Wales, drawing in poets in each location, and inviting them to create their own collaborations. Their tour culminates here in Hay with a showcase performance and Q&A.
Journeying alone through the greenest continent in what he feels will be his last African journey, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sun-baked heartland of the savannah, he crosses the ‘Red Line’ into a different Africa.
The lawyer who took giant US oil company Chevron to court and had them found guilty and fined billions of dollars, and who was himself successfully taken to court by Chevron under a civil racketeering suit, is joined by Patrick Alley, director of Global Witness, to discuss how tackling corporate power is a vital step to saving the environment and creating an economy that benefits everyone. Chaired by Anthea Lawson.
IWA Director Auriol Miller, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, equality activist Shazia Awan and politics professor Laura McAllister discuss with Clare Critchley the challenges, frustrations and joys of being a woman in Welsh public life. This event launches issue 60 of the welsh agenda, magazine of the Institute of Welsh Affairs.