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The earliest surviving Welsh poetry was forged on the battlefields of post-Roman Wales and the ‘Old North’ of Britain, and the Welsh-language poets of today still write within the same poetic tradition. In the early 20th century, Welsh writers in English outnumbered writers in Welsh for the first time, generating new modes of writing and a crisis of national identity. The editors of the new Cambridge history are joined by the great poet Gillian Clarke and novelist and historian Jon Gower to celebrate one of the oldest continuous literary traditions in Europe.
BBC Radio 3’s art and ideas programme explores Rachel Carson’s passionate book Silent Spring, first published in 1962 and argued to be the work which launched the environmental movement. But how does it speak to us now? For a recording of Free Thinking’s Cultural Landmark series presenter Rana Mitter is joined by guests Tony Juniper, Emily Shuckburgh, Dieter Helm and Kapka Kassabova.
Free Thinking is broadcast on Radio 3 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10pm. This recording will be broadcast on Wednesday 29 May and available as a BBC Arts & Ideas podcast.
A conversation with the dynamic poet, broadcaster and teacher, whose latest books include Worker’s Tales, Reading and Rebellion, and his memoir So They Call You Pisher! Chaired by Peter Florence.
News about Britain’s wildlife and ecosystems tends to be grim. The Oxford economist and Natural Capital Committee chair Dieter Helm shares his radical but tangible plan for positive change. This pragmatic approach to environmentalism includes a summary of Britain’s green assets, a look towards possible futures and an achievable 25-year plan for a green and prosperous country.
What do the attacks on London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster have in common with those at the Charlie Hebdo offices, the Finsbury Park Mosque, and multiple US shootings? They were all carried out by men with histories of domestic violence. From angry white men to the Bethnal Green girls and London gang members who joined ISIS, Joan Smith shows that, time and time again, misogyny, trauma and abuse lurk beneath the rationalisations of religion or politics. Until Smith pointed it out in 2017, criminal authorities missed this connection because violence against women is dangerously normalised. Yet, since domestic abuse often comes before a public attack, it’s here a solution to the scourge of our age might be found. Afzal is a lawyer who oversaw prosecutions in the Rotherham grooming case.
In honour of Goethe and the 200th anniversary of the first publication of his outstanding poem sequence, West–Eastern Divan (1819), A New Divan contains outstanding original poems by twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the East and twelve from the West. It presents a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of ‘the Other’ and Goethe’s late, great work. Swainson, the editor of the project, is joined by Iraqi and British poets to celebrate publication.
Once upon a (very, very) long time ago Jo Brand was what you might describe as ‘a nice little girl’. Of course, that was before the values of cynicism, misogyny and the societal expectation that Jo would be thin, feminine and demure sent her off down Arsey Avenue. Now she’s considerably further along life’s inevitable bloody ‘journey’ – and she’s fucked up enough times to feel confident she has no wisdom to offer anyone. But who cares? She’s going to do it anyway...
After her father’s death from dementia, writer and campaigner Nicci Gerrard set out to explore the illness that now touches millions of us, yet which we still struggle to speak about. What does dementia mean for those who live with it, and those who care for them? The first section of Lavinia Greenlaw’s new poetry collection The Built Moment is a sequence of poems called The Sea is an Edge and an Ending, about her father’s dementia and his disappearance into the present tense. It is not a narrative of illness so much as a meditation on the metaphysics of memory and loss. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro produced a document called Agenda 21, a blueprint for saving Planet Earth. For the next two years, thousands of children and young people from almost 100 countries worked together in an extraordinary effort to design, write and illustrate a youth version of Agenda 21, called Rescue Mission Planet Earth. Twenty-five years later, we discuss the impacts, legacy and future of the actions undertaken and the key people involved. Rescue Mission editor Danijela Zunec Brandt, Global Optimism’s Marina Mansilla, local school strike organiser, Rosa Lynas and Peace Child International’s David Woollcombe talk to Andy Fryers.
Maarouf is an award-winning Palestinian-Icelandic writer and journalist whose short story collections are Jokes for the Gunmen and The Rats that Lick a Karate Champion’s Ears. Aged eight, Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee-camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. Now Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement, in her book The Ungrateful Refugee.
Covering everything from the pros and cons of labels to coming out and the joys of sexual fluidity, the award-winning comedian ponders all the stuff we get hung up about – and then a bit more. Mae’s mission is to ensure that in a world full of things to worry about, who we choose to kiss should not be one of them.
Fuller was born to Windrush-generation Jamaican immigrants in 1959 and experienced a meteoric career in policing, from the beat to the Brixton inferno, through cutting-edge detective work and the frontline of drug-related crime and violence on London’s most volatile estates. He took a pivotal role in the formation of Operation Trident, which tackled gun crime and gang warfare in the London community, and was later appointed Chief Constable of Kent. His memoir Kill the Black One First is a raw and unflinching account of a life in policing during a tumultuous period of race relations throughout the UK, from Britain’s first black Chief Constable.
What happens to our brain at night? Are we really fully asleep and if so how is it that some individuals end up doing what they do? Or can it be the case that perhaps the brain never fully goes to sleep and that in some individuals there is a disconnect between the sleeping part of their brain and the active part of their brain, so that the two become confused? The world-renowned neurologist weaves wonderful stories that highlight how sleep disorders affect the lives and health of patients and their families.
With a look that falls somewhere between Adam Ant and Prince and a sound that blends glam rock, psychedelic folk and indie pop, Charles Costa is one of the most compelling and exhilarating live performers in Britain. His 2012 album Loveblood launched the exuberant hit singles 'Mississippi Isabel', 'Bam Bam' and 'Lady Percy'. His Gamble for a Rose album appeared in 2016, and his new single Freak has just been released. Come. He’s fabulous.
Snowflake, Nazi, Remoaner, Trot, Libtard, Brextremist, Feminazi, Piers Morgan... As we divide each other up into more and more unpleasant categories of evil, it is time to establish, once and for all, what is good and what is bad. Who better to arbitrate in these challenging divisive times than Lucifer himself? Brigstocke is a master of satirical comedy with an impressive list of TV credits including his role as team captain on Argumental and as host of The Late Edition and BBC4’s I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. “Rare is the stand-up show that makes you laugh, think and then fight back the tears. This is it.” – Telegraph.
Bryony Gordon was inspired by her reading of Carson McCullers, and her understanding of the support of fellowship, to set up Mental Health Mates, a network of peer support groups run by people with mental health issues and their friends who meet regularly to walk and talk. This is now a nationwide organisation. You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health issue to join the walks – everyone has mental health. Walk alongside Bryony Gordon, journalist, campaigner and author of Mad Girl, who will talk about the inspiration of McCullers and writing that can provide solace.
Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. Return to Festival site by 11.30am.
We profile two more extraordinary books shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize: Lucy Cooke’s The Unexpected Truth about Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife and Mark Miodownik’s Liquid: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives. In conversation with Roger Highfield of the Science Museum.
Dorling and Tomlinson argue that the 2016 vote to leave the EU was the last gasp of the old empire working its way out of the British psyche. In this wide-ranging and exacting analysis, they argue that if Britain can reconcile itself to a new beginning, there is the chance to carve out a new identity. Rule Britannia is a call to leave behind the jingoistic ignorance of the past and build a fairer Britain, eradicating the inequality that blights our society and embracing our true strengths. Dorling is Halford Mackinder Professor in geography at the University of Oxford. Tomlinson is Emeritus Professor at Goldsmiths University and Honorary Fellow of the Education Department at Oxford.