How do we comfort each other and ourselves in an age of disbelief? The historian and Booker Prize-nominated novelist has pieced together a series of clues in a timely, moving and profound exploration of how writers, composers and artists have sought solace in the face of loss, tragedy and crisis. From the books of Job and the Psalms to Albert Camus, Anna Akhmatova and Primo Levi, Ignatieff shows in On Consolation how men and women in extreme situations have looked to each other through time to regain hope and resilience. He talks to Claire Armitstead, Associate Editor, Culture, for the Guardian.
This is the story of a group who anticipated, traced and hunted the coronavirus; who understood the need to learn from history, to question everything, and to do all of this fast, in order to save lives, communities, society itself. It’s about the failures and triumphs of human judgement and imagination. Lewis’s previous books have lifted the lid on some of the biggest stories of our times: they include Flash Boys, an exposé of high-speed scamming, Liar’s Poker, which defined the excesses of the 1980s, and The Fifth Risk, revealing what happens when democracy unravels.
It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu. For comfort, they take their most treasured possession, a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, whose ancient fables offer solace as they travel. Years later, Renshu has settled in America. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. Based on the life of Melissa’s father and on her own attempts to understand her Chinese heritage, this debut novel spans continents in a bold exploration of the history of modern China. Fu talks to Helena Lee, founder/editor of East Side Voices and Features Director of Harper’s Bazaar.
Meet the authors of the Kid Normal series to hear about their new book that tells of a hospital heist, some banana-loving llamas and a talking cat called Bin Bag. This mind-bending adventure is packed full of laughter and imagination.
Join Amelia Fang creator Laura Ellen Anderson for a journey to The Weatherlands, the magical setting for her Rainbow Grey series. Meet an extraordinary cast of characters including Ray Grey and her Weatherling friends, Snowden Everfreeze and Droplett Dewbells. Create an exciting book cover, featuring your very own climate-controlling Weatherling character and learn how to draw Ray’s adorable cloud-cat Nim.
An opportunity to get crafting! Activities differ every day, including everything from print-making to junk modelling with recycled materials. Get messy and creative: your imagination is the limit.
Book for the session and you can drop in at any point during the 2.5 hour duration. An accompanying adult must attend at all times but does not require a ticket.
Join Benedict Cumberbatch and friends for a one-off, family-friendly edition of Letters Live, a hugely popular celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence. The event sees a diverse array of outstanding performers read remarkable letters, inspired by and often drawn from Shaun Usher’s best-selling Letters of Note anthologies. The full cast will be kept under wraps until the performance.
In his follow-up to The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World, the environmental campaigner chronicles how determined individuals are proving that the crisis in our oceans can be reversed. We need to step aside and let nature repair the damage: whether it is the overfishing of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic or the destruction of coral gardens by dredgers in Lyme Bay. Trawling and dredging create more CO2 than the aviation industry and damage vast areas of the continental shelves, stopping them soaking up carbon. We need to fish in different ways, where we fish at all. Charles Clover is Executive director and co-founder of the Blue Marine Foundation. In conversation with Andy Fryers, Sustainability Director at Hay Festival.
From the author of Miss Austen comes an emotionally complex novel following 31-year-old Anne Sharpe, a governess who arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent with no experience of teaching or of fine country houses. For her new charge 12-year-old Fanny Austen, Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement. As governess, Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and balancing a position between the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. When Mr Edward Austen's family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane, but when Jane’s brother Henry takes a strong interest in Anne, her days are numbered. The novelist talks to journalist and Director of the European Literature Network Rosie Goldsmith.
Poet, biographer and literary historian Robert Crawford explores the early Eliot – before he was known for some of the most innovative and remarkable poetry of the 20th century – in Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land, the first volume of his magisterial biography of the revolutionary modernist, visionary poet and troubled man. Through letters, articles and other publications, combined with his own studies of Eliot’s work, Crawford portrays the poet’s growth and development, flaws and failings, and the significance of how Eliot permeated London’s literary circles between 1915 and 1922.
The long-awaited second volume, his upcoming book Eliot: After The Waste Land, tells the story of the mature Eliot, his years as a world-renowned writer and intellectual, and his troubled interior life, drawing on extensive new sources. Crawford celebrates Eliot’s legacy with editor and translator Daniel Hahn.
The comedian and author introduces his book in which Billy Smith’s life is turned upside down when a TV crew arrives at Bracket Wood Primary School. He talks about the inspiration behind his many books and why he loves writing for children.
When Jarvis Cocker started clearing out his loft, he found a jumble of objects that catalogued his life. From a Gold Star polycotton shirt to a pack of Wrigley’s Extra, from his teenage attempts to write songs to the Sexy Laughs Fantastic Dirty Joke Book, this is Jarvis Cocker, Pulp, 20th-century pop culture, the good times and the mistakes he’d rather forget. And the accumulated debris of a lifetime reveals his creative process – writing and musicianship, performance and ambition, style and stagecraft. He talks to broadcaster, author and journalist Sarfraz Manzoor.
Sponsored by TooFar MediaThis event will be available online
When the pandemic hit, the government launched its ‘Everyone In’ programme, aiming to house the homeless through lockdown. The Prince Rupert, a four-star hotel in Shrewsbury with four-poster beds, was asked to play its part and host 33 rough sleepers. The hotel owners and rough sleepers, many of whom had been out of housing for decades, spent months locked in together and ended up transforming one another’s lives. In a profound, heartwarming and heartbreaking tale, Christina Lamb, Sunday Times Chief Foreign Correspondent, gives a panoramic insight into this country, its people and how they are often failed.
Lady Hale is the first woman to have been appointed to the Supreme Court and the youngest and first Commissioner to be selected for the Law Commission. Famed for her insect brooches and dubbed the ‘Beyoncé of the legal world’ for her pioneering reputation among students and young lawyers, she presents her memoir of a bold, glass-ceiling-breaking woman. She talks to Helena Kennedy, one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers who has spent her professional life giving a voice to those with the least power within the system, defending civil liberties and promoting human rights.
The external pressure to modify our bodies is overwhelming. In Intact, the Cambridge philosopher analyses the social forces behind the issue. While defending the right of anyone to choose how they look, she argues that the urging to ‘improve’ ourselves sends the message: ‘you are not good enough’. She interrogates the personal harm and psychological damage being done to men, women and children, stating that such pressures are discriminatory by race, gender, disability and age. To illustrate, she gives examples from ‘nearly nude’ make-up to male circumcision, from body-building to breast implants, and parental rights to change their children’s bodies. In conversation with Fiona Fox, author and Science Media Centre Chief Executive.
Helena Lee, features director of Harper’s Bazaar and founder/editor of East Side Voices, talks to Whitbread Prize-winning author Tash Aw about questions of identity and the experience of the East and Southeast Asian diaspora in Britain. Lee founded East Side Voices in 2020 to draw attention to the talents and skills of people with East and Southeast Asian heritage. Tash Aw has written four novels, including We, the Survivors, and a family memoir, Strangers on a Pier.
Author of five Sunday Times bestselling books and star of Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm, the shepherdess and mother of nine lives in the Yorkshire Dales, 50 miles from the nearest large town. Her farm life is dominated by the seasons – feeding, clipping, dipping, herding, rescuing and lambing her flock. With her own photographs and recipes, her memoir showcases the bleak and beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, opening a door into a life lived on one of the country’s highest, wildest moors.
How to deal with climate change, mass migration, new wars, big technology, the rise of the democratic mob and authoritarian capitalism? The Principal of Hertford College, Oxford University, and former diplomat Tom Fletcher offers answers in his latest book, Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux – a practical manifesto that can help us transform the way we learn, live and work together. Alice Sherwood is the author of Authenticity: Reclaiming Reality in a Counterfeit Culture and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s. They share ideas on how to reclaim reality, renew education, restore society and reimagine the future with writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn.
In April 1944 the teenager Rudolf Vrba planned a daring escape from Auschwitz. After hiding in a pile of wooden planks for three days while 3,000 SS men and their bloodhounds searched for him, Vrba and fellow escapee Fred Wetzler eventually crossed Nazi-occupied Poland on foot. He produced from memory a 30-page report revealing the scale of Auschwitz, which reached Roosevelt, Churchill and the Pope, and saved 200,000 Jews. This is the story of a complex man who would seek escape again and again – first from Auschwitz, then from his past, even from his own name. Journalist and broadcaster Freedland is author of the Sam Bourne novels.
How do you remember more and forget less? How can you earn more and become more creative just by moving house? And how do you pack a car boot most efficiently? Thinking Better offers clever strategies for daily complex problems via shortcuts. Shortcuts have enabled much of human progress, whether in constructing the first cities around the Euphrates 5,000 years ago, using calculus to determine the scale of the universe or in writing today's algorithms that help us find a new life partner. The Oxford mathematician shares his shortcut to the art of the shortcut with neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow.