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What is a good death? How would you choose to live your last few months? How do we best care for the rising tide of very elderly?
In a series of reflections on death in all its forms: the science of it, the medicine, the tragedy and the comedy. Dr David Jarrett draws on family stories and case histories from his thirty years of treating the old, demented and frail to try to find his own understanding of the end. And he writes about all the conversations that we, our parents, our children, the medical community, our government and society as a whole should be having.
Profound, provocative, strangely funny and astonishingly compelling, it is an impassioned plea that we start talking frankly and openly about death. And it is a call to arms for us to make radical changes to our perspective on ‘the seventh age of man’.
Troyer explains how technologies of the nineteenth century including embalming and photography, created our image of a dead body as quasi-atemporal, existing outside biological limits formerly enforced by decomposition. He describes the “Happy Death Movement” of the 1970s; the politics of HIV/AIDS corpse and the productive potential of the dead body; the provocations of the Body Worlds exhibits and their use of preserved dead bodies; the black market in human body parts; and the transformation of historic technologies of the human corpse into “death prevention technologies.” The consequences of total control over death and the dead body, Troyer argues, are not liberation but the abandonment of Homo sapiens as a concept and a species. Troyer forces us to consider the increasing overlap between politics, dying, and the dead body in both general and specifically personal terms. John Troyer is Director of the Centre for Death and Society and Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath. He grew up in the American funeral industry.
For over a decade, the BBC's hit rural property series 'Escape to the Country' has helped thousands of would-be country dwellers do just that. Now Jules Hudson shares his experience of seeking out captivating country homes in this inspiring and practical guide.
Himself an escapee, Jules answers many of the key questions that have come up during hundreds of house hunts in some of the most beautiful and sought-after parts of the UK, including:
Where to go and what to buy
The highs and lows of taking on a project
Going green and creating an eco home for the future
Living the good life; top tips for smallholdings
Working from home; what does it take to create a successful rural business?
Where does fundamental physics research stand today? Are we closing in on a theory of everything or is the true nature of reality still a mystery? Based on his latest book, Jim Al-Khalili takes us on entertaining tour of modern physics: what we know about the universe and what we have yet to figure out.
Jim Al-Khalili OBE FRS is a quantum physicist, author and broadcaster and one of the best-known science communicators in Britain. He holds a Distinguished Chair in Physics at the University of Surrey where he teaches and conducts his research. He has written twelve books on popular science, between them translated into over twenty-six languages, as well as his first novel, Sunfall. He is a regular presenter of TV science documentaries and the long-running Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific. He is a recipient of the Royal Society Faraday medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the Stephen Hawking Medal.
The Art of Rest draws on ground-breaking research Claudia Hammond collaborated on - 'The Rest Test' - the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken. It was completed by 18,000 people across 135 different countries. Much of value has been written about sleep, but rest is different; it is how we unwind, calm our minds and recharge our bodies. And, as the survey revealed, how much rest you get is directly linked to your sense of well-being.
Claudia Hammond is an award-winning writer and broadcaster and Visiting Professor in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Sussex. As the presenter of All in the Mind she is BBC Radio 4's voice of psychology and mental health.
The chair of this year’s jury, Peter Frankopan, interviews the winner of the 2020 Ondaatje prize.
Roger Robinson is a writer and educator who has taught and performed worldwide and is an experienced workshop leader and lecturer on poetry. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon. He received commissions from The National Trust, London Open House, BBC, The National Portrait Gallery, V&A, INIVA, MK Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was associate artist. He is an alumni of The Complete Works. His workshops have been part of a shortlist for the Gulbenkian Prize for Museums and Galleries and were also a part of the Webby Award winning Barbican’s Can I Have A Word. He is the winner of the 2019 TS Eliot Prize and his latest collection ‘A Portable Paradise’ was selected as a New Statesman book of the year. He was shortlisted for The OCM Bocas Poetry Prize, The Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize and highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize 2013. He has toured extensively with the British Council and is a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound and has also recorded solo albums with Jahtari Records.
The shortlist was:
Jay Bernard – Surge (Chatto & Windus)
Tishani Doshi – Small Days and Nights (Bloomsbury Circus)
Robert Macfarlane – Underland (Hamish Hamilton)
Roger Robinson – A Portable Paradise (Peepal Tree Press)
Elif Shafak – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
Jumoke Verissimo – A Small Silence (Cassava Republic)
Power is a leading global voice on human rights and international affairs. She served for four years as President Obama’s human rights adviser and then, from 2013 to 2017, in his Cabinet and as US Ambassador to the United Nations. Power is the author of several books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘A Problem From Hell’: America and the Age of Genocide, and has been named one of TIME’s ‘100 Most Influential People’ and one of Forbes’ ‘100 Most Powerful Women’. "Her highly personal and reflective memoir … is a must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world’ Barack Obama.
The Mexican journalist and activist Lydia Cacho has spent decades fighting for women rights through her journalistic work with gender perspective, created a shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in Cancun and has written several books. Cacho is currently living in exile because her personal security has been threatened in her home country. She will speak about investigative journalism that highlights injustice and inequality for women.
In her major monograph on Grayson Perry, now updated and expanded, writer and art historian Jacky Klein explores the artist's work through a discussion of his major themes and subjects. Klein's text is complemented by intimate and perceptive commentaries by Perry on individual pieces, giving unique access to his imaginative world and creative processes. This third edition not only has updates throughout, but also includes two new chapters, on the House for Essex, designed and built in 2015 with Living Architecture (a UK not-for-profit holiday rental company founded by Alain de Botton, which aims to promote, educate and enhance appreciation of modern architecture), and on Identity Politics, covering new work made since 2013.
Grayson and Jacky talk about his inspirations and processes, work and passions - as well as his most recent projects and his life under lockdown, including his hugely popular new TV series, currently running on Channel 4 on Monday nights.
Clear, generous and insightful... In unravelling the mystique behind Perry, Klein shows why this unlikely artist is, in fact, most likely a national treasure - Financial Times
Lavish... Jacky Klein leads us into the warped world of this crossdressing potter with a keen intellect and a sharp social insight - The Times