A conversation. The Testament Of Mary is the Virgin’s version of the life of Christ, the new novel by the author of Brooklyn and The Blackwater Lightship. The Blind Man’s Garden is a novel set in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the months following 9/11 by the author of Maps For Lost Lovers.
The historian analyses the Great War and asks: was the sacrifice worth it? Was it all really an inevitable cataclysm and were the Germans a genuine threat? Was the war, as is often asserted, greeted with popular enthusiasm? Why did men keep on fighting when conditions were so wretched? Was there in fact a death wish, driving soldiers to their own destruction? In the Great War’s centenary year, the historian offers a provocative analysis: that going to war in 1914 was the biggest mistake in British history.
Three fabulous queens of teen, Sarah Webb, Sophia Bennett and Luisa Plaja, talk about why they love to write for girls and how they develop their stories.
The Welsh Government Minister for Natural Resources and Food is proposing to increase the focus on green growth as an alternative economic model for Wales. What does this mean in reality? And what will Wales look like in 20 years if this vision is realised, and how does this fit with the wider global economy? In conversation with the Festival’s Sustainability Director Andy Fryers.
The internet, and in particular social networks, have become an essential means for promoting new works for writers. Writers Javier Sierra and Agustín Paz, author of Me Gusta Leer (Random House Mondadori), discuss how the Spanish publishing industry is facing this phenomenon. Chaired by Pedrode Andrés, President of CEDRO.
Co-organised with Centro Español de Derechos Reprográficos (CEDRO).
We have the most relentlessly tested school students in Europe. We have constantly revised SATs and GCSE structures. Is any of this encouraging or cultivating learning? How could we develop better ways of valuing both students and teachers? Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford. Chaired by Peter Florence.
To celebrate the centenary of the Armistice of 1918, we have commissioned poets from the main protagonist nations to respond to a Great War poem from their own culture. We have poems in French, Russian, German, Welsh and several forms of English. The new poems will be read today for the first time, in the original language and in English translation alongside the works that inspired them, and other poems of the time. The full cast list will be announced on 20 May.
Photo: Illustrations from the first trial of the book, by Laura Carling
The author of When God was a Rabbit – selected for World Book Night 2015 – introduces her second novel. Marvellous Ways is 89 years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life. Lately she’s taken to spending her days sitting on a mooring stone by the river with a telescope. She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it.
Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War. When his promise to fulfil a dying man’s last wish sees him wash up in Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid. As an unlikely friendship grows between the two, can Drake give Marvellous what she needs to say goodbye to the world, and can she give him what he needs to go on?
The costs of preventable physical and mental health challenges in Wales are already unmanageable and getting worse. The gross cost to the NHS of treating mental health is £7.2bn a year. There are multiple, proven links between the benefits of active time outdoors, increased wellbeing and reductions in the social cost of health solutions. Wales’ outdoor industry is poised to become a Natural Health Service that improves health with active time in nature. Evans is the CEO of The Outdoor Partnership, Fauvel is co-founder of Nudjed, which works with public health bodies aiming to effect change. Chaired by entrepreneur and adventurer Andy Middleton.