A darkly glinting novel set on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, The Green Road is a story of fracture and family, selfishness and compassion – a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we learn to fill them. The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave the west of Ireland for lives they never could have imagined in Dublin, New York and various third-world towns. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she’s decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold.
The Man Booker-winning novelist (The Gathering) is addicted to the truth of things. Sentence by sentence, there are few writers alive who can invest the language with such torque and gleam, such wit and longing – who can write dialogue that speaks itself aloud, who can show us the million splinters of her characters’ lives then pull them back up together again, into a perfect glass.
This event will be recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books.
Photo: Hugh Chaloner
The 1918 global flu pandemic wiped out around 50 million people. In the last 300 years there have been around three flu pandemics every century. We must constantly be on alert for the next one. Global efforts, including those of Professor Derek Smith, to understand how pandemics are caused, will help us mitigate and even prevent future pandemics. However this work has the perverse downside of also generating new, potentially deadly, viruses in the laboratory. Professor Derek Smith will talk about the ethical issues this raises. Chaired by Dan Davis.
New challenges need new skills. How do we ensure that we provide young people with the skills they’ll need to deal with the rapid developments in engineering? How can we help them adapt to unforeseen innovations? John Perkins is the Government's Chief Scientific Advisor for Business, Innovation and Skills, Martin Driscoll is HR Director for Tata Steel and Daphne O’Doherty is Director of Learning and Teaching at the School of Engineering, Cardiff University. Chaired by Secretary Hilary Clinton's senior advisor on innovation.
Angie Sage, author of the internationally bestselling Septimus Heap series takes up the story of TodHunter Moon seven years on and so begins a magykal new adventure in Pathfinder. She is joined by the highly acclaimed Catherine Fisher, a Welsh writer and broadcaster whose latest book The Door in the Moon continues her Chronoptika Quartet, weaving science, myth and time travel. They are two of our best fantasy writers. Join them for a conversation about creating fantastical worlds, mixing good and bad magic and bringing superlative storytelling to lucky readers.
In Tune is BBC Radio 3’s award-winning daily drive-time show. Presented by Sean Rafferty, this live broadcast show will feature interviews with some of the featured writers at the festival: novelists Anne Enright and Alexander McCall Smith, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, Children's Laureate writer Malorie Blackman, and retail consultant Mary Portas.
Plus live music from harpist Catrin Finch, violinist Rachel Podger and the Lux Wind Quartet.
After the recording, there will be an opportunity for a Q&A with presenter Sean Rafferty.
Broadcast weekdays at 4.30pm–6.30pm on BBC Radio 3.
WINNER OF THE 2015 BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE PRIZE FOR COMIC FICTION
A conversation with the prolific master storyteller whose latest books are the comic masterpiece Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, The Novel Habits of Happiness in his Isabel Dalhousie series, the 15th Ladies No.1 Detective Agency book The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café and the gorgeously romantic The Forever Girl.
In 2000, the member countries of the United Nations set themselves a challenge: achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals by the end of 2015, to improve the lives of the world’s citizens. What’s next for our global ambitions, our post-2015 goals? How can we describe the world we want, to achieve sustainable development, track our progress and hold governments everywhere to account? The former head of statistics at UNESCO, an adviser to the United Nations, and the CEO of Oxfam talk to Hetan Shah, the chief executive of the Royal Statistical Society.
The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe, from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars, constitute only five percent of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest is known as dark matter and dark energy, because their precise identities are unknown. The Cosmic Cocktail is the inside story of the epic quest to solve one of the most compelling enigmas of modern science: what is the universe made of? Freese is Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan and one of today’s foremost pioneers in the study of dark matter.
George III wanted to be a new kind of king, one whose power was rooted in the affection and approval of his people. And he was determined to revolutionise his private life. He was sure that as a faithful husband and a loving father, he would be not just a happier man but a better ruler as well. As the children grew older, and their wishes and desires developed away from those of their father, it became harder to maintain the illusion of domestic harmony. The king’s episodes of madness undermined the bedrock of their marriage; his disapproving distance from the bored and purposeless princes, especially the dissolute Prince of Wales, alienated them; and his determination to keep the princesses at home, protected from the potential horrors of the European marriage market, left them lonely, bitter and resentful.
A conversation with two giants of European Literature, both of whom have won both the IMPAC Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Petterson follows Out Stealing Horses with his new novel I Refuse. Tommy’s mother has gone. She walked out into the snow one night, leaving him and his sisters with their violent father. Without his best friend Jim, Tommy would be in trouble. But Jim has challenges of his own which will disrupt their precious friendship. Bakker follows The Detour with June. On a hot summer’s day in June 1969 everyone is gathered to welcome Queen Juliana. The young boys and girls wave their flags enthusiastically. But just as the monarch is getting into her car to leave, little Hanne Kaan and her mother arrive late – the Queen strokes the little girl’s cheek and regally offers Anna Kaan her hand. It would have been an unforgettable day of celebration if only the baker hadn’t been running late with his deliveries and knocked down Hanne, playing on the roadside, with his brand-new VW van…
Retail and brand communication guru Mary Portas discusses her recently released memoir, Shop Girl, and shares her memories of growing up in Watford in the 70s and her first steps into the world of retail at Harvey Nichols and Harrods in the early 80s.
Born into a large Irish family, Mary’s childhood is full of love, laughter, fun and mischief. However when Mary is 16 tragedy strikes and her world is blown apart. New responsibilities at home mean her ambitions to act are pushed to one side. But things play out unexpectedly: after vowing she doesn’t want to work in a shop for the rest of her life Mary takes to the camp and glamour of dressing displays in Harvey Nichols and Harrods like a duck to water, and Mary, Queen of Shops is born.
She talks to Gaby Wood, the Telegraph’s Head of Books.
Born and raised in Essex, Maajid Nawaz was recruited into politicised Islam as a teenager. Abandoning his love of hip hop music, graffiti and girls, he was recruited into Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Liberation Party) where he played a leading and international role in the shaping and dissemination of an aggressive anti-West narrative. Arriving in Egypt the day before 9/11, his views soon led to his arrest, imprisonment and mental torture, before being thrown into solitary confinement in a Cairo jail reserved for political prisoners. There, while mixing with everyone from the assassins of Egypt’s president to Liberal reformists, he underwent an intellectual transformation and, on his release after four years, he publicly renounced the Islamist ideology that had defined his life. This move would cost him his marriage, his family and his friends as well as his personal security.
Nawaz now works all over the world to counter Islamism and to promote democratic ideals through his organisation, the Quilliam Foundation, and is standing for Parliament.
To mark the release of his new book, join art crime expert and investigative journalist Noah Charney as he tells explores the stories, dramas and human intrigues surrounding the world’s most famous forgeries – investigating the motivations of the artists and criminals who have faked great works of art, and in doing so conned the public and the art establishment alike. Chaired by Francine Stock.
Photo: Urska Charney
The US Ambassador to the UK discusses entrepreneurship and enterprise with Secretary Clinton’s senior advisor on innovation.
This year’s lecture is given by the editor of the best-selling and fabulous anthology Poems That Make Grown Men Cry. 100 men – distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theatre and human rights – confess to being moved to tears by poems that haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.