The astronomer will share his excitement about recent cosmic ideas and discoveries. Since last festival there have been new searches for life (even intelligent life) in space. One of Einstein’s greatest predictions has been confirmed with the detection of gravitational waves from colliding back holes. Images of Pluto have surprised us, and astronomers have discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars, some resembling Earth. And there is speculation that physical reality encompasses more than the aftermath of our big bang: we may inhabit a multiverse.
Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? In this gloriously entertaining romp through human history Greg Jenner, historical consultant to Horrible Histories, explores the gradual and often unexpected evolution of our daily routines.
Clever, optimistic, beautifully written and very amusing, these three writers’ books explore the relationships within families and between close friends with great insight and humour. The multiple-award-winning Hilary McKay whose new book is Binny For Short, is joined by Natasha Farrant, author of The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series, and newcomer Jane Elson, author of A Room Full of Chocolate, for a lively session about the highs and lows of family life and how it inspires their fiction.
The maverick and veteran MP, Father of the House, scourge of the Front Benches and opponent of wars considers his parliamentary career, spanning 43 years and 8 administrations.
The daughter of the celebrated and glass-Bar-breaking QC and judge discusses her mother’s career and legacy, detailed in her biography Rose Heilbron, Legal Pioneer of the 20th Century – Inspiring Advocate who became England’s First Woman Judge.
The author discusses her first novel for seven years, the story of a motherhood and neighbourhood and society in North London over several decades. The book is rich with the combination of acute observation and insight and the beautiful economy of prose familiar to her readers.
Webb has been a male for his whole life. As such, he has been a boy in a world of fighting, pointless posturing, and the insistence that he stop crying. As an adult man, he has enjoyed better luck, both in his work as the Webb half of Mitchell & Webb as an acclaimed actor and comedian, and as author of this part memoir, part call to arms.
The intimate story of tsars and tsarinas; some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. The historian’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy, from Queen Victoria to Lenin. Sebag Montefiore is the author of Catherine the Great & Potemkin and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar.