A celebration of reading and books from the comedian, broadcaster and writer whose books include the novels Hitler’s Canary, Flying Under Bridges and Valentine Grey, children’s stories The Littlest Viking and The Troublesome Tooth Fairy, non-fiction best-sellers Peas & Queues and Girls Are Best and the play Bully Boy. Introduced by Sue Wilkinson.
Martin Sixsmith’s book Philomena has been made into a multi-award-winning film by screenwriter and actor Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge, The Trip, Despicable Me) and the director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dirty Pretty Things). They talk to Alan Yentob.
To celebrate the centenary of the great poet’s birth, the editor talks about the work involved in bringing together a selection of his uncollected work – often elusively published in obscure magazines, journals, newspapers and limited editions. This substantial volume spans the whole of RS Thomas’s career, from an early sonnet to his first wife and several Iago Prytherch poems to the powerful metaphysical meditations of his later years.
Britain needs more scientists and engineers, but can our universities deliver? Current proposals for a new university in Hereford focus on employability and economic growth via a highly innovative ‘Liberal Sciences’ approach. If you’re a parent, a teacher, an employer or just interested in the future of education, jump start your day with this lively discussion. Usher is leading the campaign for the New University, Thomas is Vice Chancellor of Bristol University, Landsman is Executive Director of Tata and Willetts is Minister for Universities.
Chaired by Hereford MP Jesse Norman.
Four of our leading commentators analyse the election results and their aftermath. They look at the leadership issues and futures for each of the parties.
The Cuban dancer introduces his novel: as Oscar sets out to find his ancestral village of Pata de Puerco and the meaning of the magical pig’s-foot amulet he has inherited, the search for his country’s hidden history becomes entangled with his search for the truth about himself.
How are social media, blogging and Twitter changing the way 'consumer voters' connect with politicians? The Mumsnet founder is joined by right-wing Westminster blogger Guido Fawkes, the Labour digital campaigner and the Parliamentarian of the Year to discuss the new political powers.
Author Michael Morpurgo is joined by actress Alison Reid, violinist Daniel Pioro and The Storyteller’s Ensemble (a quartet of strings). Together they interweave words and music, to tell his haunting tale of survival against the odds, set against the background of the Holocaust. Adapted and directed by Simon Reade.
‘It is difficult for us to imagine how dreadful was the suffering that went on in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. The enormity of the crime that the Nazis committed is just too overwhelming for us to comprehend. In their attempt to wipe out an entire race they caused the death of six million people, most of them Jews. It is when you hear the stories of the individuals who lived through it – Anne Frank, Primo Levi – that you can begin to understand the horror just a little better, and to understand the evil that caused it.
‘For me, the most haunting image does not come from literature or film, but from music. I learned some time ago that in many of the camps the Nazis selected Jewish prisoners and forced them to play in orchestras; for the musicians it was simply a way to survive. In order to calm the new arrivals at the camps, they were made to serenade them as they were lined up and marched off, many to the gas chambers. Often they played Mozart.
‘I wondered how it must have been for a musician who played in such hellish circumstances, who adored Mozart as I do – what thoughts came when playing Mozart later in life? This was the genesis of my story, this and the sight of a small boy in a square by the Accademia Bridge in Venice, sitting one night, in his pyjamas on his tricycle, listening to a busker. He sat totally enthralled by the music that seemed to him, and to me, to be heavenly.’ Michael Morpurgo.