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.
How does narrative shape the sciences and the arts? Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri, author of The Famished Road, Astonishing the Gods and The Age of Magic, is joined by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, in conversation with novelist and academic Elleke Boehmer.
Recent developments in Artificial Intelligence and robotics demonstrate that we are aiming towards creating something that is ‘human-like’ in various ways. What sort of experiences should these beings have? And what does the answer to that question tell us about ourselves? Anthropologist Dr Beth Singler is Research Associate on the Human Identity in an age of Nearly-Human Machines project at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. Chaired by Daniel Davis.
Valentine is the 2017 Hay Festival International Fellow, and a multi award-winning writer of YA fiction. She explores ways in which teenagers might be better understood and empowered. Her novels include Finding Violet Park and Fire Colour One. She is joined onstage by young readers to discuss her reformation of adolescence.
All over the world, Shakespeare’s plays find an audience, but often hidden within productions are thought-provoking, often controversial themes, about corruption, overthrowing power or teenage love. These areas of debate might rarely get staged, were it not for the cloak of Shakespeare’s ‘respectability’. This session discusses how Shakespeare slips by the censors, both historically and today. Simon Callow is an actor and writer. David Aaronovitch is a journalist who writers for The Times. Rachel Jolley is the editor of Index on Censorship. Alexa Huang teaches at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C
Frank McGuinness, the playwright and poet, author of The Factory Girls and the screenplay of Dancing At Lughnasa, and Nerys Williams, a native Welsh speaker and recipient of a Fulbright Scholar’s Award at UC Berkeley, whose latest book is entitled Sound Archive, read from their collections of poetry.
From the rise and fall of empires in China, Persia, and Rome to the spread of the great religions and the wars of the C20th, this epic work illuminates how the Silk Roads shaped global history, the axis of East and West. Frankopan is the Director of the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University.
The chief economics commentator of the Financial Times explains that further shocks could be ahead for the economy because governments have failed to deal with fundamental problems in the world’s financial systems. Wolf traces the causes of the great recession to the complex interaction between globalisation, destabilising global imbalances and fragile financial systems. He argues that management of the Eurozone in particular guarantees a future political crisis and he offers far more ambitious and comprehensive plans for reform than are presently being considered. Chaired by Susie Symes.
What happens in this great World Heritage Site biologically? How did it become a protected area? What are the historical events that have shaped its present dynamics? What will happen to it in future?