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.
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.
Re-examining the differing impacts of WWI on Britain, Ireland and the United States, The Long Shadow throws light on the whole of the last century and demonstrates that the First World War is a conflict from which Britain, more than any other nation, is still recovering.
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.
“Centuries of writing and thinking about rape – as inflicted by men on women – have got us nowhere. There are those who, like Quentin Tarantino, think it is one of the most violent crimes in the world, and others for whom it is simply what happens when a woman endures sex she doesn’t want. Bestial or banal, a proven rape may carry a prison sentence of many years, even life, but very few rapes ever find their way into a court of law. The prosecution of a selected minority of cases seldom results in a conviction. The crucial issue is that of consent, which is thought by some to be easy to establish and by others as impossible. Rape statistics remain intractable. Again and again crime surveys tell us that one woman in five will experience sexual violence. Despite all efforts to root sexual assault out of workplaces and colleges, predatory individuals still inflict lasting damage with apparent impunity. The only result of desperate attempts to apportion blame and enact chastisement has been an erosion of the civil rights of the accused. Sexual assault does not diminish; relations between the sexes do not improve; litigation balloons. There has to be a better way.” Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keil’s novel Flirting At The Funeral is set against a background of global crisis and is haunted by memories of revolution and terror. Preece’s study Baader Meinhof And The Novel explores forty years of myths and conspiracy theories about the German Autumn. They talk to Gwen Davies.
The unanimous Supreme Court ruling today to lift the injunction on this extraordinary memoir means we are delighted and thrilled to launch the book at Hay on Saturday evening.
'Over the last five years James Rhodes has become my latest addiction...his wit on stage and concentration on the keyboard have earned him a new audience for whom classical music had always appeared stuffy and elitist. As for his life and personality – they transcend the imagination of the most vivid novelist. His story is one filled with unimaginable terrors and unconquerable triumphs. The unforgettable story of an unforgettable and remarkable man.' – Stephen Fry.
James Rhodes' passion for music has been his absolute lifeline. It has been the thread that has held him together through a life that has encompassed pain, conflict and turmoil. Listening to Rachmaninov on a loop as a traumatised teenager or discovering an Adagio by Bach while in a hospital ward – such exquisite miracles of musical genius have helped him survive his demons, and, along with a chance encounter with a stranger, inspired him to become the renowned concert pianist he is today.
This is a memoir like no other: unapologetically candid, boldly outspoken and surprisingly funny – James' prose is shot through with an unexpectedly mordant wit, even at the darkest of moments. An impassioned tribute to the therapeutic powers of music, Instrumental also weaves in fascinating facts about how classical music actually works and about the extraordinary lives of some of the great composers. It explains why and how music has the potential to transform all of our lives.