An interview with the treasured actor, writer, traveller and diarist.
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.
18 July 1898 and the world-renowned novelist Emile Zola is on the run. His crime? Intervening in the Dreyfus case and taking on the highest powers in France with his open letter J’accuse. Forced to leave Paris with nothing but the clothes he is standing in and a nightshirt wrapped in newspaper, Zola flees to England with no idea when he will return. This is the little-known story of his time in exile. Rosen offers an intriguing insight into the mind, the loves, the politics and the work of the great writer.
From historical gardens like Versailles and Vaux le Vicomte to the kitchen gardens of the Michelin chef Alain Passard. There are grand potagers, like Villandry and La Prieure D’Orsan, and allotments and back gardens spotted on the way.
The historian follows the trail of Welsh drovers down through the centuries as they moved cattle and sheep to the ever-expanding markets of England. And he offers a detailed walks guide for those keen to discern their own drove roads.
The new book from the author of The Old Ways. In 2005 Macfarlane and Roger Deakin travelled to explore the holloways of South Dorset’s sandstone. They found their way into a landscape of shadows, spectres and great strangeness. Six years later, after Deakin’s early death, Macfarlane returned to the holloway with the artist Stanley Donwood and writer Dan Richards.
Far removed from the picture of Tehran that we glimpse in news stories, there is another hidden city where survival depends on an intricate network of lies and falsehoods. It is a place where Mullahs visit prostitutes, cosmetic surgeons restore girls’ virginity and homemade porn is bought and sold in the bazaars. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
This special event marks the UK launch of Kent Nerburn’s award-winning work of creative non-fiction depicting the epic and intensely moving journey he made over 20 years ago with a Native American elder named Dan. Musician Robert Plant picked up a copy of Neither Wolf Nor Dog whilst touring the States in 2014 and his passion for this masterpiece has led to its publication here in Britain.
Journeying alone through the greenest continent in what he feels will be his last African journey, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sun-baked heartland of the savannah, he crosses the ‘Red Line’ into a different Africa.
In the spring of 1553 three ships sailed north-east from London into uncharted waters. The scale of their ambition was breathtaking. Drawing on the latest navigational science and the new spirit of enterprise and discovery sweeping the Tudor capital, they sought a northern passage to Asia and its riches. When their ships became separated in a storm, each ship had to fend for itself. Their fates were sharply divided. One returned to England, to recount extraordinary tales of the imperial court of Tsar Ivan The Terrible. The tragic, mysterious story of the other two ships has to be pieced together through the surviving captain’s log book, after he and his crew became lost and trapped by the advancing Arctic winter.
One man, fourteen months, the world’s loneliest continent, minus 50°C, and the magnificent Emperor Penguins for company through a summer of perpetual sunshine into winter months of darkness.
Running through the heart of Colombia is a river emblematic of the fascination and tragedy of South America, the Magdalena, considered by some the most dangerous place in the world. Jacobs is captured by the FARC, has a chance encounter with Gabriel García Márquez and is brought to reflect on memory and identity, and the nature of mystery.
Meeting the captain, the F-18 pilots and the dentists, experiencing everything from a man-overboard alert to the Steel Beach Party, Dyer guides us through the most AIE (acronym intensive environment) imaginable. Underlying Dyer’s efforts to overcome the disadvantages of being the oldest, tallest (actually, second tallest), and most self-conscious person on the boat is an intense fascination with the military world.
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The newly-conserved Roskilde 6 ship from Denmark measures over 37 metres. It is the longest Viking ship ever discovered and forms the core of the British Museum exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend. The Vikings used their shipbuilding skills to command the sea; their famous ships permitted the exploration, the colonisation and the raids with which they built their wealth. The curator explores the evolution of their sea-going vessels and celebrates this outstanding feature of the Viking Age.
In 1519 an arrogant and unscrupulous man sailed from the Caribbean with orders to find a missing Spanish expedition. He immediately set about carving himself an empire in modern Mexico, while the governor of Cuba sent a force out to kill him. Hernán Cortés explored the coast to Veracruz then struck inland, seduced by tales of a great empire rich in gold. He found the largest and best-run city on earth and reduced it to rubble.
Award-winning travel writer and historian John Harrison followed in his footsteps for four months, finding the jungle ruins and sophisticated hilltop cities which put the lie to the popular image of the Aztecs and their neighbours as bloodthirsty savages. Popular accounts always suggest Cortés was mistaken for a returning god; the truth is very different and far more interesting. Both the Spanish and the Aztecs thought that the world was coming to a close soon, and that they were pleasing their gods in performing vital last deeds.
Narendra Modi’s pilgrimage to Tibet heralds a new warmth in Sino-Indian relations, but the emerging superpowers have a long and complex history of contested priorities in the Himalayas. Keay is author of Midnight’s Descendants, a sweeping history of South Asia; Duff’s Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom tells the remarkable true story of India’s annexation of Sikkim in 1975. It’s a tale of love, intrigue and the Cold War in Asia.
Seventy years ago Tom Rolt published the book Narrowboat and sparked one of Britain’s greatest conservation movements and rescued the nation’s canals from destruction. The Daily Telegraph’sMark Skipworth discusses with journalist Libby Purves, poet Jo Bell and industrial archaeologist Geraint Coles.
One summer, the author was bequeathed a hundred pounds of ripening apricots, which lay on her bedroom floor – a windfall, a riddle, an emergency to be dealt with. The fruit came from a neglected tree that her mother, gradually succumbing to memory loss, could no longer tend to. From this unexpected inheritance came stories, invitations and adventures; in a library of water in Iceland, in the basin of the Grand Canyon, in the imagined emptiness of the Arctic. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
The adventurer’s journey is 4,250 miles long. He is walking every step of the way, camping in the wild, foraging for food, fending for himself against multiple dangers. He is passing through rainforest, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He traverses seven, very different, countries and comes face to face with the story of Africa. No one has ever made this journey on foot.
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A compelling history of the southern-most continent from the C18th voyages of discovery to the fierce rivalries of today, as governments, scientists, environmentalists and oil companies compete for control. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
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 political commentator and sometime dancer explores the people and places that have forged this national treasure, from the birth of the Industrial Revolution to the leisure explosion on our waterways today. He talks to Mark Skipworth.
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An evening to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Welsh passage to Argentina aboard the Mimosa. Gower sets the scene with his Gwalia Patagonia – a tale of legendary giants and Andean condors, devil spirits and chapel-worshippers. He is joined by Argentinian writer Jorge Fondebrider, author of The Spaces Between. The evening is completed with the fascinating anecdotal and geographical ramblings of one of Wales’ best-loved guitarists, singers and actors, René Griffiths. Full of emotion and passion, Ramblings of a Patagonian is the revelation of one-man’s unrelenting love for his own Andean desert. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
The poet swaps the moorland uplands of the north (Walking Home) for the coastal fringes of Britain’s south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, taking poetry into distant communities and tourist hot-spots, busking his way from start to finish.
From the surreal pleasure-dome of Minehead Butlins to a smoke-filled roundhouse on the Penwith Peninsula, then out to the Isles of Scilly and beyond, Armitage tackles this personal Odyssey with all the poetic reflection and personal wit we’ve come to expect of one of Britain’s best loved and most popular writers.
A vivid history of the macabre as the author goes in search of the ancient customs, local characters and compelling tales that illuminate how people over the years have come to terms with our ultimate fate. He discovers what a small Norfolk church has to tell us about the apocalypse; why the greatest minds of the C17th were embroiled in debate over the phantom Drummer of Tedworth; and how a nineteenth-century Welsh druid completely changed the national view of cremation.