The Last King Of Scotland author’s latest novel Freight Dogs explores the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and the individual consequences of Africa’s ‘Great War’, distilling a world-shaking conflict into the spellbinding story of one man’s life. In a 1996 Ugandan dive bar, an anarchic group of mercenary pilots from Texas, Russia, Kenya and Belgium find a new recruit – a 19-year-old cowherd fleeing Congo’s bloody war. Taken in by this band of unlikely brothers, Manu’s soon seeing his vast country from above and falling in love with flying. But no matter how fast he flies, trouble follows closely behind. And when the past erupts back into this new life, he is forced to leave behind African skies for the chilly embrace of northern Europe. With Rwanda in the news, Giles Foden discusses why he wrote the book, the genocide, its legacy, and why the story of those like Manu is so important.
Despite remarkable recent advances, Artificial Intelligence systems are still heavily task-focused, still obsessively following a (usually) single goal. Even Deep Learning has to be trained on very specific data for a given problem. But AI systems should be more perceptive, animated, and responsive – more like humans and less like computers, more social than machine-like, and more playful and less programmed.
A new developmental paradigm offers a way forward in which models of infant learning show how computers and robots can learn from their own experience, develop a sense of ‘self’ and eventually become great social conversationalists.
Imagining a new path towards human-centred technology, Mark Lee shows how this truly significant step-change in human-computer interactions will influence and shape all future digital technology. Lee is an Emeritus Professor of Computer Science who has researched AI and robotics for 40 years and is author of How to Grow a Robot: Developing Human-Friendly, Social AI.
A special edition of the BBC Radio Wales Arts Show from the Hay Festival. Carolyn Hitt is joined by novelists Julie Owen Moylan and Caryl Lloyd, George Hinchliffe from the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, Craig Graham and Mike Stirling from The Beano.
Join Onjali Q Raúf as she talks about the inspirations behind her bestselling books, what she loved to read as a child, her work with refugees – and all the wonderful people everywhere who help others, whenever they can, wherever they are. Learn how you, too, can use empathy to help make the world a better place.
No school. No THANKS. No. NO. NO! This punk rocker poodle is full of attitude. All she wants to do is stomp and stamp and pout, romping through the house and round and round at playgroup. That is, until naptime, when all she really wants is a… CUDDLE! Join Laura Dockrill for a funky, musical event full of anarchy, fun and a whole lot of attitude.
The 2021 World Happiness Report ranked Finland, for the fourth year running, the world’s happiest country. The ‘Nordic Model’ has long been touted as the aspiration for social and public policy in Europe and North America, but what is it about Finland that makes the country so successful and seemingly such a great place to live? Is it simply the level of government spending on health, education and welfare? Is it that Finland has one of the lowest rates of social inequality and childhood poverty, and highest levels of literacy and education?
Finland clearly has problems of its own – for example, a high level of gun ownership and high rates of suicide – which can make Finns sceptical of their ranking, but its consistently high performance across a range of wellbeing indicators raises fascinating questions. In the quest for the best of all possible societies, Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford and co-author of Finntopia, explores what we might learn from Finnish success and Nordic wellbeing with Katja Pantzar, journalist and author of Finding Sisu and the recently published Everyday Sisu: Tapping Into Finnish Fortitude for a Happier, More Resilient Life, and Finnish Ambassador Jukka Siukosaari. In conversation with Andy Fryers.
A diary by its very nature is an intensely personal thing. In early March 2020, the CoronaDiaries project was launched to record people’s everyday experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on these personal accounts – the everyday voices of the coronavirus pandemic – Michael Ward shows that this pandemic has been experienced in very different ways across society.
Lively discussion with Jude Rogers and a selection of the best fiction and non-fiction writers at Hay. Today she’s joined by the nation’s favourite doctor, the TV presenter and writer, Dr Ranj, the author and broadcaster, Natalie Haynes, and the investigative journalist and writer, Oliver Bullough.
The first of four recitals broadcast from Hay this week, presented by BBC Radio 3 presenter Sarah Walker. Aleksey Semenenko (violin) and Sam Haywood (piano) perform a programme featuring Dvořák's Sonatina for violin and piano in G, Op 100, Maria Theresia von Paradis' Sicilenne, Amanda Maier's Violin Sonata in B minor and Sarasate's Introduction and Tarantella.
Bad Wolf’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy for HBO/BBC One has become a global sensation. Ahead of the highly-anticipated launch of Series Three this autumn, join cast members including Amir Wilson (Will Parry) and Simone Kirby (Mary Malone), along with film producer and co-founder of Bad Wolf Jane Tranter, for a discussion about the joys and challenges of bringing the series to life. The event will be interspersed with readings from Philip Pullman’s recent companion novel The Imagination Chamber. The cast will also be joined by the puppets and puppetry team who brought Pullman’s daemons and armoured Panserbjørn bears to life. This event is chaired by Sameer Rahim.
Come and join the fun in this interactive session with Editorial Director Craig Graham and Creative Director Mike Stirling from the Beano Studios. Together they are in charge of making sure that everything in the Beano is as funny and naughty as it can possibly be. They will also tell some favourite jokes from IP Daley’s latest boomic, Attack of the Evil Veg!
Join the award-winning author, environmentalist and zoologist to explore her new novel in which dark forces are destroying nature. Those with the ability to listen to animal thoughts stand in their way. Who will triumph in this epic conflict? Who will learn The Song That Sings Us and what it means, in the world of the story and on our own planet?
An opportunity to get crafting! Activities differ every day, including everything from print-making to junk modelling with recycled materials. Get messy and creative: your imagination is the limit.
Book for the session and you can drop in at any point during the 2.5 hour duration. An accompanying adult must attend at all times but does not require a ticket.
Leading authority on the Cold War and nuclear history Serhii Plokhy, journalist and author of Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals Oliver Bullough, and author of Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West Catherine Belton come together to analyse the tragic events taking place in Ukraine and how they are causing a whole-world shift. They speak to lawyer and writer Philippe Sands.
When slavery was abolished across most of the British Empire in 1833, it was not the newly liberated who received compensation, but the tens of thousands of enslavers who were paid millions of pounds in government money. The descendants of some of those slave owners are among the wealthiest and most powerful people in Britain today.
In Blood Legacy: Reckoning with a Family’s Story of Slavery, through the story of his own family’s history as slave and plantation owners, Alex Renton explores what inheritance – political, economic, moral and spiritual – has been passed to both the descendants of the slave owners and the descendants of the enslaved. He also asks how the former – himself among them – can begin to make reparations for the past.
Mother’s Boy is the interwar story of a child genius’ path through life and the secret desires he must keep hidden. A man who is among, yet apart from, his fellows; in thrall to, yet at a distance from, his own mother; a long, remarkable and revered life spent hiding in plain sight. Patrick Gale’s novels include A Place Called Winter and Rough Music. He talks to Stephanie Merritt.
Gabriel Gatehouse, International Editor, BBC Newsnight, speaks to broadcaster and author Horatio Clare about his acclaimed podcast series, The Coming Storm - which explores the deep roots of the January 6 assault on the US Capitol - and the power of storytelling in factual journalism.
An environmental fairytale for all ages, newly made for our times by the Booker Prize-winning author of The Famished Road. In the forest near Mangoshi’s village in Africa there grows a very special flower. Mangoshi knows that only this flower can save her mother’s life. It can save her village, too. All she has to do is find it. Ben Okri and illustrator Diana Ejaita have created a magical forest of beauty and colour from which the great baobab, the chief tree of the forest, invites readers into his branches to travel the world and see for themselves the perils of not listening to nature.
Join Jenny Valentine for a creative writing workshop based on her joyful new series of stories. Jenny teaches children the tools of the trade to create believable characters in a real world setting and to focus on building a story around themes that they are passionate about.
A memoir with a twist: each chapter is a recipe that tells a story. Ed Balls was just three weeks old when he tried his first meal in 1967: puréed roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. From that moment on he was hooked on food. Taught to cook by his mother, Ed’s now passing her wisdom on to his own kids as they start to fly the nest.
Reflecting on his life in recipes, Ed takes us from his grandma’s shepherd’s pie to his first trip to a restaurant in the 1970s; from the inner workings of Westminster to the pressures of parenting.
He talks Natalie Haynes through a collection of the meals he loves most, and the memories they bring back.