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Although the post-war period brought peace and prosperity, Europe was now a divided continent, living under the nuclear threat. Europeans experienced a roller-coaster ride, both in the sense that they were flung through a series of events which threatened disaster, but also that they were no longer in charge of their own destinies: for much of the period the USA and USSR effectively reduced Europeans to helpless figures whose fates were dictated to them depending on the vagaries of the Cold War. There were striking successes: the Soviet bloc melted away, dictatorships vanished and Germany was successfully reunited. But accelerating globalisation brought new fragilities. The impact of interlocking crises after 2008 was the clearest warning to Europeans that there is no guarantee of peace and stability.
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.
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.
350 years ago Rembrandt van Rijn died in poverty - but not obscurity - having sublimely reinvented every genre of art that he touched. Twenty years after his Rembrandt's Eyes was published Simon Schama asks what it is that makes his work so deeply moving and how did he re-make the image of humanity?
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.
In this second annual lecture, the renowned translator pays tribute to his peerless, multilingual colleague Anthea Bell, who died in October 2018. He explores her work on the Asterix books, translating the original French by René Goscinny and his illustrator partner Albert Uderzo. “She was an elegant stylist, but more than that, a startlingly versatile one,” says Hahn “I first learned her name, as so many people did, because she wrote all those impossible Asterix jokes I loved so much; but to other people she was Sebald, or perhaps Kafka – or sometimes Freud. She was Cornelia Funke or Erich Kästner for children, Saša Stanišić and Stefan Zweig for adults, and so many others besides. Literature struggles to thrive without translation. Today I can’t help wondering how we readers and writers ever could have managed without Anthea Bell.” Chaired by Thea Lenarduzzi of the TLS.
What happens now? What’s the deal with Europe, America, Ireland, Scotland? The Shadow Brexit Secretary is on the spot. And he’s listening.
In the depths of winter in 1705 the young Johann Sebastian Bach, then unknown as a composer and earning a modest living as a teacher and organist, set off on a long journey by foot to Lübeck to visit the composer Dieterich Buxterhude, a distance of more than 250 miles. This journey and its destination were a pivotal point in the life of arguably the greatest composer the world has yet seen. Lübeck was Bach’s moment, when a young teacher with a reputation for intolerance of his pupils’ failings began his journey to become the master of the Baroque. Chaired by Kirsty Lang.
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.
Turner’s spellbinding new biography explores the poetry and the adventurous, cosmopolitan world of the father of English literature. She documents a series of vivid episodes, moving from the commercial wharves of London to the frescoed chapels of Florence and the kingdom of Navarre, where 14th-century Christians, Muslims and Jews lived side by side. The narrative recounts Chaucer’s experiences as a prisoner of war in France, as a father visiting his daughter’s nunnery, as a member of a chaotic Parliament and as a diplomat in Milan, where he encountered the writings of Dante and Boccaccio. Chaired by Jerry Brotton.
The writer discusses his magnificent 2014 Siberian novel The People’s Act of Love and his new work of reportage Dreams of Leaving and Remaining – an anatomy of Britain on the edge of Brexit. He previews his forthcoming novel To Calais in Ordinary Time, a 14th century epic narrative.
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.
Hay Festival is working with Rijeka Capital of Culture 2020 in Croatia to commission 28 writers and thinkers from across the continent to reimagine the future of Europe. Four of the 28 join us in Hay this year to preview their ideas and stories. Bonet is an artist from Spain, Cottam a social activist and author of Radical Help from Britain, Kassabova a Scotland-based, Bulgarian-born writer and Teller a novelist and former UN officer. They talk to the translator, editor and writer Sophie Hughes.
Distinguished broadcaster Huw Edwards traces the history and cultural significance of London’s Welsh churches and examines the origins of the London Welsh, the pattern of Welsh migration to London past and present, and the influence of the Welsh religious figures and causes in London. Chaired by Professor M Wynn Thomas, of Swansea University’s Department of English.
Y darlledwr adnabyddus Huw Edwards yn olrhain hanes ac arwyddocâd diwylliannol eglwysi Cymraeg Llundain ac yn archwilio tras Cymry Llundain, patrwm ymfudo’r Cymry i Lundain nawr ac yn y gorffennol, a dylanwad ffigyrau ac achosion crefyddol Cymreig yn Llundain. Bydd y sgwrs yn cael ei chadeirio gan yr Athro M Wynn Thomas o Adran Saesneg Prifysgol Abertawe.
We celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of the incomparable Renaissance man – artist, scientist, inventor and lover. Brotton and Fletcher are Renaissance historians, Critchlow is a neuroscientist and Greer is a scholar and art historian. Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most inspiring figures of European history.
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…
John Julius Norwich had to withdraw from his Hay Festival event last year and died on 1 June. His family and friends offer this celebration of his work on Sicily, Venice and the Mediterranean, Byzantium and the Kings of England. With readings from his books and from his edition of his mother’s letters Darling Monster: The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper To Her Son John Julius Norwich.
D-Day and the 76 days of bitter fighting in Normandy that followed have come to be seen as a defining episode in the Second World War. Its story has been endlessly retold, and yet it remains a narrative burdened by both myth and assumed knowledge. Drawing on unseen archives and testimonies from around the world, the war historian challenges much of what we think we know. He reveals how the sheer size and scale of the Allies’ war machine ultimately dominated the strategic, operational and tactical limitations of the German forces.
A conversation about the extraordinary biography that won the 2018 Costa Award. Little Lien wasn’t taken from her Jewish parents – she was given away in the hope that she might be saved. Hidden and raised by a foster family in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation, she survived the war only to find that her real parents had not. Much later, she fell out with her foster family, and Bart van Es, the grandson of Lien’s foster parents, knew he needed to find out why. His account of tracing Lien and telling her story is a searing exploration of two lives and two families. It is a story about love and misunderstanding and about the ways that our most painful experiences, so crucial in defining us, can also be redefined. Philippe Sands’ East West Street won the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction.