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 Middle East correspondent analyses the state of the region, the response of the international powers and the feelings of the people on the ground. Chaired by the British Ambassador to Lebanon.
A conversation about religion and imagery with the former Archbishop and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and the Director of the British Museum, author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Shakespeare’s Restless World.
How do we take care of a future world we decisively shape but may not live to see? A panel discussion on futures in the context of energy, new technologies and law. Adam and Groves from the Social Sciences Dept discuss with psychologist Butler and property lawyer Stokes.
One of the country’s leading neurosurgeons reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets and the moments of black humour that characterise a brain surgeon’s life.
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.
The adventurer launches his thriller, in which his hero is sent deep into the Amazon jungle on the hunt for a WW2 secret. Grylls’ recent non-fiction includes True Grit, Extreme Food and Your Life – Train For It. He talks to Clemency Burton-Hill.
The novelist and essayist celebrates the work and gift of the playwright. Her latest novel The Gap of Time is a retelling of The Winter’s Tale. “A book of considerable beauty…a fine invitation into this deeply Shakespearean vision of imagination as the best kind of truth-telling” – Rowan Williams, New Statesman.
Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett and Maggie Simmons from WAGGGS discuss the impact of climate change on human rights around the world and how this in turn impacts on both the reality and our idea of home, with Rebecca Attwood of the Environmental Justice Foundation.
Why, when so many women are involved in reading, writing and publishing books, are female writers so consistently under-represented in prizes and reviews? What can be done about the problem? Join Kamila Shamsie, author of six novels including the 2015 Bailey's Prize shortlisted A God in Every Stone and Orange Prize shortlisted Burnt Shadows and Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller to discuss the gender bias in literature as well as some radical solutions as to how to fix it. A National Conversation debate chaired by Chris Gribble (Writers’ Centre Norwich).
Follow the pre-event warm-up and discussion on writerscentrenorwich.org.uk/thenationalconversation.aspx and on Twitter using #NatConv.
Prisonomics provides a compelling analysis of the cost to the economy, as well as the human cost, of keeping women in prison. Convicted for taking her former husband Chris Huhne’s speeding points, Pryce uses her personal experiences and professional understanding to look at how prison works, and should work, from an economist’s perspective. She talks to journalist Erwin James, author of A Life Inside and The Home Stretch.