Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
Stacey Dooley is one of Britain's most loved documentary presenters and investigative reporters. Fashion conscious Stacey's life took an unexpected turn when she travelled to India in 2007 for the BBC3 series 'Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts' to live and work alongside the people in the Indian fashion industry making clothes for the UK High Street.
Upon her return to the UK, Stacey began campaigning against child labour, organising events to raise money for charities and even appearing on BBC2's Newsnight to raise awareness, and has since embarked on a series of investigations to become one of BBC3’s most celebrated presenters.
Through the course of her documentary making, Stacey has covered a variety of topics, from sex trafficking in Cambodia, to Yazidi women fighting back in Syria. At the core of her reporting are incredible women in extraordinary and scarily ordinary circumstances – from sex workers in Russia, to victims of domestic violence in Honduras. In her first book, On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back, Stacey draws on her encounters with these brave and wonderful women, using their experiences as a vehicle to explore issues at the centre of female experience. From gender equality and domestic violence, to sex trafficking and sexual identity, Stacey weaves these global strands together in an exploration of what it is to be women in the world today.
She won Strictly 2018.
Imogen Walford is senior producer of BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
A spectacular two-part show, featuring the already classic seven-piece line-up the band debuted in 2018, who will play a long and generous set in two halves. Centred as always around the guitar and vocals of Mike Scott, The Waterboys feature electric fiddle maestro Steve Wickham of whom DJ Chris Evans says: "I've had Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on my show but the best guitar solo we've ever had was played on this man's fiddle"; Memphis soul man Brother Paul on keyboards; Aongus "funkiest man in Ireland" Ralston on bass; Jess Kav & Zeenie Summers on backing vocals; and top British drummer Ralph Salmins.
They promise an incendiary set comprising brilliant new material and the best of their recent and vintage work. The band's last three albums Out Of All This Blue (2017), Modern Blues (2015) and An Appointment With Mr Yeats (2011) re-established them as one of the crucial bands currently working out of these islands. Many of their songs including Fisherman's Blues, The Whole Of The Moon and How Long Will I Love You have become modern classics and they remain one of the most unmissable live acts in the world.
Celebrate The Gruffalo’s 20th birthday with Julia Donaldson and friends for a fun-packed hour of stories and songs based on her bestselling books. Performing alongside her guitar-playing husband Malcolm and other actors, they will also bring to life her brand new stories The Cook and the King and The Go-Away Bird. Get ready to join in!
Come and meet the one and only Michael Rosen and find out all about Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots and Uncle Gobb and the Plot Plot and his other fabulous stories including We're Going on a Bear Hunt as we celebrate its 30th birthday. Jelly Boots is a riotous poetry celebration of words – silly words, funny words, words you only use in your own family, new words, old words, and the very best words in the right order. Uncle Gobb and the Plot Plot is the third uproarious Uncle Gobb adventure and sees Malcolm and his awful Uncle Gobb return, each with a cunning plot…
The Nobel Prize-winning chemist in conversation with the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science and author of The Book of Humans.
Everyone knows about DNA. It is the essence of our being, influencing who we are and what we pass on to our children. But the information in DNA can’t be used without a machine to decode it. The ribosome is that machine. Older than DNA itself, it is the mother of all molecules. Virtually every molecule made in every cell was either made by the ribosome or by proteins that were themselves made by the ribosome.
A fascinating insider account, Gene Machine charts Ramakrishnan’s unlikely journey from his first fumbling experiments in a biology lab to being at the centre of a fierce competition at the cutting edge of modern science.
This first of this year’s all-star readings celebrates the most intimate of literary forms, the diary. Through the words of Samuel Pepys and Anne Frank to Bridget Jones and the most colourful observers of modern times, we explore the lives and loves, the gossip, the confessions, the wisdom and humour of private and public lives. The full cast will be announced on the day.
The 2018 Man Booker Prize winner discusses her darkly funny novel set in 1970s Belfast with the prize’s director.
“In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.”
“Milkman is extraordinary. I've been reading passages aloud for the pleasure of hearing it. It's frightening, hilarious, wily and joyous all at the same time.” - Lisa McInerney
A conversation between two writers renowned for their explorations of nature and landscape. Robert Macfarlane's Underland, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated non-fiction book of 2019, takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland's glaciers to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into the planet's past and future, and into darkness and its meanings. Global in its geography, gripping in its voice and haunting in its implications, it is both an ancient and an urgent work.
Macfarlane, a winner of the Hay Festival Prose Medal, is the author of Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks and (with Jackie Morris) The Lost Words. Horatio Clare’s latest books are The Light in the Dark and Something of his Art: Walking to Lübeck with JS Bach – Hay Festival’s Book of the Month for December 2018.
See also - event 14 on 29 May - Spell Songs, a musical performance of The Lost Words - Macfarlane's multi-award-winning collaboration with the artist Jackie Morris.
New Stand-Up from the beloved GBBO and QI superstar.
Sandi is a Danish/British writer and presenter. She has been working on British TV and radio for nearly four decades and in 2014 was made an Officer of the British Empire for her services to broadcasting. She has written over 25 books including fact and fiction. Her latest novel ‘The End of the Sky’ was published in 2017 and her new stage musical, an adaptation of ‘Treasure Island’, will open in December 2018 Sandi is the co-founder of Britain’s newest political force, the Women’s Equality Party.
Presented by Fane Productions
Join eight leading folk musicians for an evening of enchanting new commissions based on the book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.
The musicians are singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, kora player Seckou Keita, Scottish contemporary folk musician and songwriter Kris Drever, British composer Kerry Andrew, singer and harpist Rachel Newton, cellist Beth Porter and multi-instrumentalist Jim Molyneux.
Spell Songs engages deeply with landscape and nature, to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words - A Spell Book. Spell Songs will allow these acclaimed and diverse musicians to weave together elements of British folk music, Senegalese folk traditions, experimental and classical music, and create an inspiring new body of work.
Featuring live painting by Jackie Morris.
The legendary salsa, pop and flamenco outfit hail from the south of France. They first captured the world’s imagination in 1987 with the release of their self-titled album ‘Gipsy Kings’. Though it was their third release, it was the first to reach an international audience - certified gold and platinum in countries around the world and selling millions of copies, the record sparked a fire and built a fanbase that has remained loyal for decades. Since this introduction to the world stage, the Gipsy Kings have continued their momentum, selling close to twenty million albums and touring the world. Playing at festivals, events and venues in all corners of the globe, the band have become a live phenomenon, known for their energetic sets that feature infectious Latin rhythms and virtuoso guitar playing.
Despite being born and raised in France, the group’s lineage can be traced back to gitanos, Spanish Romani people who fled the Catalonia region during the Spanish Civil War. This depth of heritage can be heard in the band’s eclectic sound, which draws from a variety of sounds and traditions and reflects their ancestry. Their music is a heady concoction of rumba, flamenco and salsa, described as “a crossroads where gypsy rhapsody and flamenco meets salsa funk”. As a result, their live shows are perfect for fans of Latin, world and contemporary pop music – and just about anybody who loves to dance.
We re-read the contemporary classic, narrated by Death and first published in 2007.
It is 1939. In Nazi Germany, the country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier - and will become busier still.
By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed forever when she picks up a single object, abandoned in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, and this is her first act of book thievery. So begins Liesel's love affair with books and words, and soon she is stealing from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library . . . wherever there are books to be found.
The Australian novelist talks to Stephanie Merritt, who also writes historical fiction as SJ Parris. Zusak’s latest novel is Bridge of Clay.
A brilliant new theory of how and why some nations recover from trauma and others don't, by the author of the landmark bestsellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse. Diamond reveals how successful nations recover from crisis through selective change - a coping mechanism more commonly associated with personal trauma. Adding a psychological dimension to the awe-inspiring grasp of history, geography, economics, and anthropology that marks all his work, Upheaval reveals how both nations and individuals can become more resilient. He talks to the human rights lawyer and author of East West Street, Philippe Sands.
This second of this year’s all-star readings celebrates the power of persuasion and words. From calls to arms to demands for peace, from letters of love and sex to power and tragedy, and from cries of freedom to words of inspiration, this performance captures the voices of prophets and politicians, rebels and tyrants, soldiers and statesman. Speeches' is inspired by Simon Sebag Montefiore’s new book which will be published in October. The historian's latest anthology is Written in History: Letters that Changed the World. The full cast will be announced on the day.
Leïla Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, which she won for the shocking thriller and global best-seller, Lullaby. She discusses her work and her new novel Adèle with the Anglo-French author of East West Street, winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, Slimani is Presidents Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture.
Jimmy’s brand new show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things.
Terrible things that might have affected you or people you know and love.
But they’re just jokes – they are not the terrible things.
Having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo.
Now you’ve been warned, buy a ticket.