A third of the seven billion people in the world speak English, with just 400 million of them as a first language. There have been sixty to seventy new Englishes that have emerged in the last fifty years alone, and the ‘lingua franca’ in Europe is emerging as another English too. For sure. Can the world’s most acquisitive and adaptable communications tool just keep growing? The linguistics guru plays with the cultural misunderstandings and the huge gains that come in internationally when people from different cultures communicate fluently in the global language.
“Never before has such a terror appeared in Britain as we have suffered from a pagan race, nor was it thought that such an inroad from the sea could be made,” wrote the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin, in response to the first major Viking raid on Lindisfarne. From these notorious early attacks at the end of the 8th century to all-out war in the time of Alfred; from the extortion of ‘Danegeld’ in the reign of Æthelstan to two decades of rule under Cnut, the Scandinavian impact on Anglo-Saxon culture and politics was enormous. In a wide-ranging overview, Eleanor Barraclough explores some of the truths behind the Vikings’ lurid reputation, and shows the evidence to be found in the rare documents on display in the British Library.
The new novel by the author of The Book Thief is about a boy caught in a current, a boy intent on destroying everything he has in order to become everything he needs to be. Ahead of him lies the bridge, the vision that will save both his family and himself. It will be a miracle and nothing less. At once an existential riddle and a search for redemption, this tale of five brothers coming of age in a house with no rules brims with energy, joy and pathos. Written in Markus Zusak’s distinctive style, it is a tour de force from a master storyteller of the heart.
Traversing the realms of science, politics, religion, culture, philosophy and history, Fernández-Armesto reveals the thrilling and disquieting tales of our imaginative leaps – from the first Homo sapiens to the present day. Through groundbreaking insights in cognitive science, he explores how and why we have ideas in the first place, providing a tantalising glimpse into who we are and what we might yet accomplish. The award-winning historian shows that bad ideas are often more influential than good ones; that the oldest recoverable thoughts include some of the best; that ideas of Western origin often issued from exchanges with the wider world; and that the pace of innovative thinking is under threat.
Set your sails east as bestselling author and historian Peter Frankopan explores the history of the world via The Silk Roads. Discover a remarkable illustrated historical voyage and find out how understanding the past gives us insight into our future.
Join Juno Dawson as she discusses her new YA anthology Proud with some of its contributors: Simon James Green, Alice Oseman and new author Cynthia So. A rainbow, riotous celebration of talent, Proud is a funny and emotional read, featuring 24 LGBTQ+ YA authors, poets, and artists. All readers deserve to see themselves represented in books, and whether part of the LGBTQ+ community or a supportive ally, we can all read this with pride.
Have a go at green woodwork, pottery and weaving and find out what our craft-based Practical Skills Therapeutic Education brings to autistic young people. Talk with students, craft tutors and staff. Ruskin Mill Trust is a unique educational charity for learners with complex needs.
In Sweden, children and young people are recognised as an important part of society. Swedish children’s culture is open-minded and doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. This has fostered a generation of young people who express their opinions, are listened to and speak up to claim their rights, from Pippi Longstocking to Greta Thunberg. Join us to explore the power and potential of children changing the world. Performer Sara-Jane Arbury will run a Pippi Longstocking-themed workshop involving dressing-up.
Join the University of Worcester illustration team to make collages and prints in response to the Migrations – Open Hearts, Open Borders exhibition. Find out how artists can change attitudes and help us to empathise with people who face dangers in their struggle to find a safer and better place to live. We will provide materials and inks; please bring kindness and imagination to show that a small gesture can make a difference.
By 2020, for the first time in history, the number of people aged 65 and over will outnumber children aged five and under. Travelling across the world and interviewing leading scientists about breakthroughs which could soon transform the quality and extent of life, Cavendish contests many of the taboos around ageing, and sparks a debate about how governments, businesses, doctors, the media and each one of us should handle the final few decades of life. In this manifesto for change, she argues that if we take a more positive approach, we should be able to reap the benefits of a prolonged life, and help the elderly to play a fuller part in society. But that will mean a revolution: in work, in education, in housing, in medicine – and in our attitudes. Cavendish is an award-winning Times journalist and was head of the Downing Street policy unit under David Cameron. Bakewell was appointed as a Voice for Older People by Gordon Brown.
The Supervet recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.
Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. The historian and journalist takes testimony from Viet Cong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bar-girls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina and Huey pilots from Arkansas to create an epic narrative of an epic tragedy. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed two million people, informed with deep understanding and a sweeping narrative.
The walker discusses her mesmerising and inspirational memoir: just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall. Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.
The YA Book Prize singles out the best new young adult fiction every year. Join shortlisted authors Sara Barnard (Goodbye, Perfect), Muhammad Khan (I Am Thunder) and Laura Wood (A Sky Painted Gold) for a discussion of their books and the the importance of YA fiction. Chaired by Sian Cain, Online Books Editor at the Guardian.
In Sweden, children and young people are recognised as an important part of society. Swedish children’s culture is open-minded and doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. This has fostered a generation of young people who express their opinions, are listened to and speak up to claim their rights, from Pippi Longstocking to Greta Thunberg. Join us to explore the power and potential of children changing the world. Author, Emma Karinsdotter, will lead a workshop on writing and storytelling, with a focus on adventure.
Following the Silk Roads eastwards from Europe through to China, by way of Russia and the Middle East, The New Silk Roads provides a timely reminder that we live in a world that is profoundly interconnected. In this prescient contemporary history, Peter Frankopan assesses the global reverberations of these continual shifts in the centre of power – all too often absent from headlines in the West. Chaired by Elif Shafak.