Lyrical, haunting and exquisitely rendered, Samson’s second novel The Kindness explores a deception that comes wrapped as a gift, a betrayal clothed in kindness, and asks if we can ever truly trust another. She’s written an unforgettable story of love, grief, betrayal and reconciliation, masterfully plotted and beautifully told. In Norris’ debut Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, the peace of a quiet evening in Salisbury is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower – drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small-town life.
McEwan’s new novel Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses the fundamental question: what makes us human? Du Sautoy’s new book is The Creativity Code: How AI is learning to write, paint and think.
The pre-eminent design critic explores the history of design’s influence on our lives – from the macabre symbol invented by C18th pirates and one woman’s quest for the best possible prosthetic legs to the evolution of the World Cup ball. Chaired by Suzy Klein.
Narendra Modi’s pilgrimage to Tibet heralds a new warmth in Sino-Indian relations, but the emerging superpowers have a long and complex history of contested priorities in the Himalayas. Keay is author of Midnight’s Descendants, a sweeping history of South Asia; Duff’s Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom tells the remarkable true story of India’s annexation of Sikkim in 1975. It’s a tale of love, intrigue and the Cold War in Asia.
To celebrate Dylan's centenary, Owen Sheers explores the evolution of Thomas's poetic voice, from its early manifestation in his teenage notebooks, to his great mature poems of mortality and nostalgia. What is it about Thomas' poems that so caught, and continues to catch, the world's imagination? Why do so many cite classics like ‘Fern Hill’ and ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ as their favourite poems? And how did Dylan Thomas, alone at the page, go about composing these hymns of humanity which still, 100 years later, are so imbued with a timeless and universal resonance?
Just as water is wet in a way that individual water molecules aren’t, big data can reveal information in a way that individual bits of data can’t. The tech and business gurus show us the surprising ways that enormous, complex and messy collections of data can be used to predict everything from shopping patterns to flu outbreaks. Chaired by Stephanie Flanders.
The passionate and powerful poet re-imagines the way in which the State might raise children placed in its care. Sissay is Chancellor of the University of Manchester. His foster parents placed him into care at the age of 12. He lived in care homes until he was 18. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
Blue Shield is the organization that has watched over the safeguarding of important cultural heritage sites in Libya, Afghanistan and other places devastated by war. The Archduke Kart von Habsburg is President of this International Committee. He speaks with Ramón Pérez-Maura, the ABC Deputy Editor.
Event in Spanish.
Co-organized with ABC and in collaboration with IE University
The author of This Orient Isle asks how we understand Shakespeare in a global world when his language seems more remote than ever. Drawing on his recent involvement in international productions of Macbeth and Othello he explains how Shakespearean character and language is created through rehearsal and stage action. He concludes by arguing that schools should stop studying the plays as words on the page but instead rehearse and perform them however they can.
A conversation about new writing in the Arab world with the PEN Award-winning and Beirut 39 writer Samar Yazbek, author of A Woman In The Crossfire: Diaries Of The Syrian Revolution.
The National Poet of Wales gives this year’s lecture addressing AE Housman’s own original subject of The Name And Nature Of Poetry. Chaired by Guto Harri.