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.
Can literature show us how to have a good sex life and a successful marriage? The SuperProf and the Digested Reads satirist romp through the bedrooms and letters where less is more. And where more is sometimes more too.
In this first of Hay Festival's 2014 sessions celebrating the 450th birthday of the playwright, the Renaissance scholar explores Shakespeare’s relationship with the Islamic world in the history plays and in his tragedies.
The uncompromising and passionate rationalist calls on us to insist that reason take centre stage and that gut feelings, even when they don’t represent the stirred, dark waters of xenophobia, misogyny, or other blind prejudice, should stay out of the voting booth. He investigates a number of issues, including the importance of empirical evidence, and decries bad science, religion in the schools, and climate-change deniers. Dawkins has equal ardour for ‘the sacred truth of nature’ and renders with typical virtuosity the glories and complexities of the natural world. When so many highly placed people still question the fact of evolution, Dawkins asks what Darwin would make of his own legacy - 'a mixture of exhilaration and exasperation'– and celebrates science as possessing many of religion’s virtues – 'explanation, consolation, and uplift' – without its detriments of superstition and prejudice. Chaired by LBC's Matt Stadlen.
In this lecture, sumptuously illustrated with images of William Morris’ work collected at the V&A, Parry provides new insight into the embroideries, printed and woven textiles, carpets and tapestries produced by Morris & Co.
WINNER OF THE 2015 BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE PRIZE FOR COMIC FICTION
A conversation with the prolific master storyteller whose latest books are the comic masterpiece Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, The Novel Habits of Happiness in his Isabel Dalhousie series, the 15th Ladies No.1 Detective Agency book The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café and the gorgeously romantic The Forever Girl.
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.
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.
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.
Humans don’t always behave as you expect them to. Sometimes their responses and actions are completely irrational – we don’t always make perfect decisions – but the model we base everything on is a rational one. Why? If we design our systems, our government, and all the products and services we use for perfect, rational people, is it any wonder they aren’t working? The Stanford academic and political advisor believes that change is possible and necessary: that we can create a more local, more accountable, more human way of living that will make us more productive, more fulfilled and ultimately happier.