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The superhero social entrepreneur, founder of the Big Issue and now member of the House of Lords, brings his new literacy campaign to Hay to launch the second edition of Literary Briefs: Chapters & Verse, championing 50 great books. Join him to talk about the power of libraries, stories and imagination, and to help build a new ‘Wider Reading Alliance’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Kapka Kassabova was a child, the border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece was rumoured to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall, so it swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives. Today she sets out on a journey to meet the people of this triple border – Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, and the latest wave of refugees fleeing conflict further afield. She discovers a region that has been shaped by the successive forces of history: by its own past migration crises, by communism, by two world wars, by the Ottoman Empire, and – older still – by the ancient legacy of myths and legends. Border has won multiple awards including the British Academy’s Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2018.
Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people – people battling for food, water and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. As the UN’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Robinson’s mission led all over the world, from Malawi to Mongolia, and to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself. Robinson met with ordinary people whose resilience and ingenuity had already unlocked extraordinary change. Robinson is the former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and is now a member of The Elders. This year she was awarded the prestigious Kew International Medal for her work on climate justice.
What happens now? What’s the deal with Europe, America, Ireland, Scotland? The Shadow Brexit Secretary is on the spot. And he’s listening.
The New Yorker’s frontline journalist reports from the most volatile and dynamic region in the world. He introduces the graphic version of his biography Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life and explains what’s happening today in Venezuela.
Seventy years after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, and thirty years on from the Tiananmen Square massacre, the editor of Index on Censorship hosts a debate about China’s contemporary society and the leadership’s attitude to freedom of expression. Xinran is author of the global bestseller The Good Women of China, based on her groundbreaking radio show. Her latest book is The Promise. Karoline Kan is a former New York Times reporter who writes about millennial life and politics in China. She’s currently an editor at China Dialogue. Her new book is called Under Red Skies: The Life and Times of a Chinese Millennial.
The power and appeal of Maoism have extended far beyond China. Maoism was a crucial motor of the Cold War: it shaped the course of the Vietnam War and brought to power the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; it aided, and sometimes handed victory to, anti-colonial resistance movements in Africa; it inspired terrorism in Germany and Italy, and wars and insurgencies in Peru, India and Nepal, some of which are still with us today – more than forty years after the death of Mao. Lovell, Professor of Modern China at Birkbeck, re-evaluates Maoism as both a Chinese and an international force, linking its evolution in China with its global legacy. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.
Britain’s institutions and democracy have been envied around the world for centuries – the mother of parliaments, the centre of an administrative empire that pinked in the world. Are parliament, Whitehall, the City of London, the devolved assemblies, the press, the political parties, the Trades Unions and the traditional powers of the land still fit for purpose? Who runs Britain? How’s that going? Abell is editor of the TLS and author of How Britain Really Works. Olusoga is a broadcaster and Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester. He is the author of Black and British: A Forgotten History. Maddox is Director of the Institute for Government. She has been Foreign Editor of The Times and Editor of Prospect.
The new novel from the comic master, author of What A Carve Up!, The Rotters Club and The Closed Circle. Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change. “It was tempting to think, at times like this, that some bizarre hysteria had gripped the British people…”
The polarised intensity of Brexit can seem like a very British civil war. What might healing and reconciliation look like? What can we learn from the past, and from present examples? Classicist Bettany Hughes reflects on her 2014 documentary series What’s The Point of Forgiveness? and takes a long view of ancient historical paths to peace. War correspondent Jon Lee Anderson discusses the political wrangling of peace terms and treaties he’s witnessed, the amnesties and the long recovery from totalitarian oppressions. Olusoga is an historian and author of Black and British: A Forgotten History. Paul Dolan is Professor in Behavioural Science at the LSE, where he works on measures of happiness and subjective wellbeing that can be used in policy and by individuals looking to be happier.
The award-winning author of The Eichmann Trial and Denial: Holocaust History on Trial gives us a penetrating and provocative analysis of the hate that will not die, focusing on its current, virulent incarnations on both the political right and left, in America, across Europe and in Britain. She addresses what can be done about it.
Ahmed’s childhood was very British in every way – except for the fact that he was brown. Half English, half Sudanese, he was raised in 1970s London at a time when being mixed-race meant being told to go home, even when you were born just down the road. The memoir by the Editorial Director of BBC News makes the case for a new conversation about race in Britain through personal stories, political analysis and a passionate belief in the ultimate good of this country. He talks to Thea Lenarduzzi of the TLS.
O’Toole examines how trivial journalistic lies became far-from-trivial national obsessions; how the pose of indifference to truth and historical fact has come to define the style of an entire political elite; how a country that once had colonies is redefining itself as an oppressed nation requiring liberation; the strange gastronomic and political significance of prawn-flavoured crisps; the dreams of revolutionary deregulation and privatisation that drive Arron Banks, Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg; and the silent rise of English nationalism, the force that dare not speak its name. O’Toole is an investigative journalist, historian, biographer, literary critic and political commentator. His acclaimed columns on Brexit for the Irish Times, the Guardian and the New York Review of Books have been awarded both the Orwell Prize and the European Press Prize. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
Brexit has almost wholly been confined to discussions of economic consequence. But what will happen to the constitution? And what does sovereignty mean? The distinguished professor of government looks at the impact of Brexit and the constitutional consequences of Britain’s EU membership, raising the question of just how the United Kingdom is to be preserved. At the time of going to press…