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The full programme is available for this year’s festival, 25 May to 4 June - you can download a PDF of the programme here. We very much look forward to seeing you in May.
Click here to see a list of sold out events
A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess
Event 58 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The best-selling author describes the age-old cycle of a farming year and the constant challenges of life at Ravenseat, the remote Yorkshire hill farm she shares with husband Clive, nine children and 1,000 sheep. Chaired by Oliver Balch, author of Under the Tump.
Life: A Dialogue
Event 62 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
How and why do we survive, and what makes us unique? A conversation between a novelist and a scientist exploring the worlds they inhabit in Doctorow’s superb new speculative fiction Walkaway and Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes.
A Life in Questions
Event 65 • • Venue: Tata Tent
“Why is this lying bastard lying to me?” was at the front of his mind as the grand inquisitor conducted every interview on Newsnight. He has been known to be less hard on the students of University Challenge. He is lightly grilled with a touch of spice by the satirist and Now Show star.
Event 68 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
You start with a vision, and you deliver a compromise. You want a play to be challenging, ambitious, nuanced and complicated. You also want it to sell tickets. You want to make art, and you know you’re in show-business. The inside story of 12 years at the helm of The National Theatre is a story of lunatic failures and spectacular successes. Its cast includes the likes of Alan Bennett, Maggie Smith, Mike Leigh, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren and, of course, William Shakespeare.
Things That Matter
Event 72 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The Australian writer and thinker is often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher. He is known especially for his work on the ethics of our treatment of animals, for his controversial critique of the sanctity of life ethics in bioethics, and for his writing on the obligations of the affluent to aid those living in extreme poverty. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Most Good You Can Do, The Life You Can Save, Famine, Affluence and Morality, and most recently Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. He talks to the Festival president.
Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight: A young man’s voice from the silence of autism
Event 73 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The novelist launches his translation of the new book by Naoki Higashida. It’s part memoir, part critique of a world that sees disabilities ahead of disabled people, it opens a window into the mind and world of an autistic, non-verbal young adult, providing remarkable insights into autism in general. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.
Event 77 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The highs and lows of life in and out of politics – from the despatch box to Strictly stage with one of Britain’s most influential and charming political figures. He’s funny, and acute about the madhouse of Parliament. Ed Balls is not currently an MP.
Who I Am
Event 80 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
The actor reminisces in an intimate self-portrait, with stories and photographs from her long career – from classic movies Georgy Girl and The Night Porter to Broadchurch and The Sense of an Ending.
Tom’s Daily Plan
Event 84 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The Olympian diving star shares what he’s learned about how to stay fit, healthy and positive. His secrets include delicious food, workouts anyone can do (he promises!) and invaluable motivational and lifestyle tips. He talks to the award-winning sports writer Carolyn Hitt.
Event 89 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Drawing on his work over the past 40 years, the historian considers the context of contemporary Europe’s political upheavals, its challenges and its opportunities. Schama’s books include Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, A History of Britain, The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, Landscape and Memory and The Story of the Jews.
BBC Talking Books 3: The Boy Behind the Curtain
Event 112 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The great novelist, author of Dirt Music and Cloudstreet, is publishing two non-fiction books. Charged with love for the huge, besieging force of Australia’s wild spaces, Island Home: A Landscape Memoir is a passionate call for their conservation. His deeply personal The Boy Behind the Curtain: Notes from an Australian Life shows how moments from his childhood and life growing up have shaped his views on class, faith, fundamentalism, the environment, and literature.
No Cunning Plan
Event 145 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
The actor and hugely successful children’s writer yarns his working life from child stardom in the first production of Oliver! and the joy of Baldrick, to the documenting of Time Team archaeology and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson was knighted in 2013 for public and political service. Chaired by Lucy Cotter.
A Quaker Life
Event 147 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
A conversation about how their Quaker faith has informed the life and work of three writers: the actor Sheila Hancock’s books include the memoir Just Me and the novel Miss Carter’s War; award-winning poet Philip Gross’s collections include The Water Table, Deep Field and the forthcoming A Bright Acoustic; Tracy Chevalier’s novels include Girl With a Pearl Earring, At the Edge of the Orchard and now New Boy.
Oh My Country!
Event 157 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The new show from the star of Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and Q.I. From Morris Dancing to Morrissey, Shappi is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of her arrival in Britain. She’s reclaiming patriotism and sending a love letter to her adopted land. The daughter of an exiled writer and comic from Iran, Shappi’s upbringing has been in no way conventional. From mental illness to opium dens, it’s all gone on in the Khorsandi household and now she recounts it all the only way she knows how, with wit, warmth and hilarity.
Sponsored by GL Events UK
Event 175 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Keggie Carew grew up under the spell of an unorthodox, enigmatic father. An undercover guerrilla agent during the Second World War, in peacetime he lived on his wits and dazzling charm. But these were not always enough to sustain a family. As his memory began to fail, Keggie embarked on a quest to unravel his story once and for all. Dadland won the Costa biography award. It is funny and tender and utterly captivating.
Hidden Nature: A Voyage of Discovery
Event 184 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Leaving her garden to the mercy of the slugs, award-winning writer Alys Fowler set out in an inflatable kayak to explore Birmingham’s canal network, full of little-used waterways where huge pike skulk and kingfishers dart. Her memoir is about noticing the wild everywhere and what it means to see beauty where you least expect it. What happens when someone who has learned to observe her external world in such detail decides to examine her internal world with the same care? Chaired by Lucy Cotter.
True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy
Event 192 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The harrowing story of an American traitor who sold out his country to the Russian president. Noel Field, once a well-meaning and privileged American working in the State Department, spied for the Soviets during the 1930s and -40s. Later, a pawn in Stalin’s sinister master strategy, Field was kidnapped and tortured by the KGB, and forced to testify against his own Communist comrades. Marton is an award-winning journalist, a human rights campaigner, and the author of Enemies of the People and The Great Escape.
Parsnips, Buttered: bamboozle and boycott modern life, one email at a time
Event 199 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
This is the comedian’s first book. His first book that he’s written. He’s read loads of books. “Using letters, emails, tweets and telegrams I will show you how the things in your life that make you sad, low or anxious can soon appear trivial, insignificant and like a fish. In short, I will butter your parsnips.” So..
Event 220 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
Stroud tells the true stories of the SOE heroines who fought with the Resistance to free Nazi-occupied France. He is joined by Tania Szabó, who has also written a book about one of those agents, her mother: Young, Brave and Beautiful: The Missions of Special Operations Executive Agent Lieutenant Violette Szabó, George Cross, Croix de Guerre avec Étoile de Bronze.
Lines of Duty
Event 237 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Private investigator Daniel Morgan was murdered with an axe to the head in the car park of the Golden Lion pub, Sydenham on 10 March 1987. Thirty years on, after five failed police investigations and an ongoing Home Office inquiry, Daniel’s murder remains unsolved. Jukes co-wrote Untold with Daniel’s brother, Alastair. Sutherland is one of the Met’s most distinguished police officers. His book Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces is an account of the uplifting highs and crushing lows of a career in policing, and the story of slow recovery from serious illness. They talk to LBC’s Matt Stadlen.
Stiff Upper Lip: Secrets, Crimes and the Schooling of a Ruling Class
Event 249 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Confronting the truth of his own schooldays and the crimes he witnessed, Renton reveals a profound malaise in the British elite, shown up by tolerance of the abuse of its own children that amounts to collusion. This culture and its traditions, and the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that underpin them, are key to any explanation of the scandals over sexual abuse, violence and cover-up in child care institutions that are now shocking the nation.
The 50 Things: Lessons for When You Feel Lost, Love Dad
Event 334 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
As his 50th birthday dawned, Peter Dunne set out to leave a trail of metaphorical breadcrumbs for his three children, so that if they ever needed to know what their father might have had to say they would have him to hand: from compromise to compassion, and democracy to sacrifice, Dunne explores the social mores and morality of our time and tries to answer the eternal questions that line the path to peace of mind. He talks to Sarah Crown.
Scenes and Apparitions: The Roy Strong Diaries 1988-2003
Event 353 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The super-articulate, erudite and wickedly amusing reflections of the grand curator and historian, former Director of the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A, as he moves out of the art world and London society. His vivid and intimate diaries are a treasurable record of Britain at the turn of the millennium. He talks to Corisande Albert.
The Long and Winding Road
Event 365 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
The third volume of Alan Johnson's bestselling and award-winning memoirs takes us to the corridors of Westminster and lifts the lid on the life of a hard-working constituency MP in the first Blair administration.