Premonitions are impossible. But they come true all the time. What if you knew that something terrible was going to happen? What if you could share your vision? Could these forebodings help the world to prevent disasters? In 1966 John Barker, a dynamic psychiatrist working in an outdated British mental hospital, established the Premonitions Bureau to investigate these questions. He would find a network of hundreds of correspondents, from bank clerks to ballet teachers. Among them were two unnervingly gifted ‘percipients’. Together, the pair predicted plane crashes, assassinations and international incidents with uncanny accuracy. And then, they informed Barker of their most disturbing premonition: that he was about to die.
Sam Knight’s The Premonitions Bureau is an enthralling true story, of madness and wonder, science and the supernatural — a journey into the oddest corners of ‘60s Britain and the most powerful and unsettling reaches of the human mind. He talks to LBC radio host Matt Stadlen.
MacManus, aka DJ and broadcaster Annie Mac, discusses her new direction – a writing debut. A powerful coming of age novel and an intimate family study, Mother Mother examines the cost of unconditional love.
Mary McConnell grew up longing for information about the mother she never knew – who died suddenly when Mary was only a baby. Her brother Sean was barely old enough to remember, and their father numbed his pain with drink. Now thirty-five years old, Mary has lived in the same house her whole life. She’s never left Belfast. She has a son, TJ, who’s about to turn eighteen, and is itching to see more of the world. One Saturday morning, TJ wakes up to find his mother gone. He doesn’t know where – or why – but he’s the only one who can help find her.
Mother Mother takes us down the challenging road of Mary’s life, while following Joe’s increasingly desperate search for his mother, as he begins to understand what has led her to this point.
Join Helena Merriman (Creator of Tunnel 29 and Room 5) for a special recording of BBC Radio 4’s new series all about our minds and bodies – and what happens when they behave in ways we don’t understand.
Helena’s guest is Abi Morgan - the BAFTA and Emmy-award winning playwright and screenwriter whose credits include The Iron Lady, Suffragette, Sex Traffic, The Hour, Brick Lane and Shame. Abi Morgan is also the creator and writer of BBC drama, The Split.
Abi will be talking about her book - This is Not A Pity Memoir. One June morning, Abi came home to find the man she loved lying on the bathroom floor. Rushed to hospital, he was put into a coma and it was clear that life as they knew it would never be the same again.
From ghostly phantoms to UFOs, The Battersea Poltergeist’s Danny Robins investigates real-life stories of paranormal encounters with special guests paranormal experts Ciaran O'Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow.
It’s 2010. Staggeringly successful and brilliant tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton is desperate for a new idea. He’s forty, with four kids, and restless when he stumbles into a conversation with mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or ‘externalising’ memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, Own Your Unconscious – that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others – has seduced multitudes. But not everyone.
Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Intellectually dazzling and extraordinarily moving, The Candy House is a bold imagining of a world that is moments away. Egan explores the darker aspects of our technology-driven, image-saturated culture and the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption.
Are our brains hardwired to hate? Is social media to blame for an increase in hateful abuse? With hate on the rise, what can we do to turn the tide? Drawing on twenty years of pioneering research – as well as his own experience as a hate-crime victim – world renowned criminologist and Director of Cardiff University’s pioneering HateLab, Matthew Williams explores one of the pressing issues of our age. Surveying human behaviour across the globe and reaching back through time, from our tribal ancestors in prehistory to artificial intelligence in the twenty-first century, his The Science of Hate is a groundbreaking and surprising examination of the elusive ‘tipping point’ between prejudice and hate.
Dr Leor Zmigrod, Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, discusses how political neuroscience can increase our understanding of extremist behaviour and how to tackle it. Her research combines methods from experimental psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience to investigate the psychology of ideological adherence and group identity formation. She focuses on investigating cognitive characteristics that might act as vulnerability factors for radicalisation and ideologically-motivated behaviour.
In his breathtakingly honest Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery David Harewood reveals how investigating his own experience of psychosis and exploring stigma around mental health has given him the freedom to look at his life from a new perspective – one that throughout his acting career he had been unable to process until now, thirty years after the event.
When David was twenty-three, only two years out of drama school with a career starting to take flight, he had what he now understands to be a psychotic breakdown and ended up being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He was physically detained by six police officers, sedated, then hospitalised and transferred to a locked ward.
Since making an award-winning documentary about his experiences for the BBC, David came to understand the extent to which his psychosis and subsequent treatment was rooted in race and racism. David talks to Stephen Fry about the statistics around mental health in the UK and how adversely the numbers are stacked against Black people.
Loss and adversity are part of the human condition, but an imperfect past isn’t always an indicator of what’s to come. Often the people with the hardest beginnings in life – children who experience displacement, financial ruin, abandonment or bereavement – become the most high achieving adults. From world leaders to CEOs, actors to archbishops, Olympic sports stars to Nobel Prize-winning scientists, many have overcome immense challenges, tragedies and difficulties in early life before going on to achieve extraordinary success and fame.
Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson (What I Wish I’d Known When I Was Young) consider why this is and how the psychological impact of trauma propels people to strive harder, commit more fully and not give up. They bring together the latest psychological research with interviews with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Russell Brand, Brian Cox, Andy Murray, Lemn Sissay, Grayson Perry, Sajid Javid and Hilary Mantel, to help us better understand the art of resilience, motivation, perspective and courage.
Award-winning Irish neurologist Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan investigates psychosomatic disorders, travelling the world to visit communities suffering from these so-called mystery illnesses. From a derelict post-Soviet mining town in Kazakhstan to the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua to the heart of the María Mountains in Colombia, O’Sullivan records the remarkable stories of syndromes related to her by people from all walks of life. She recounts these riveting and often distressing case studies to writer and journalist Oliver Balch as the syndromes continue to proliferate around the globe.
The consultant neurologist, author and presenter explores our senses and how they construct our perception of the world. His book features extraordinary individuals whose senses have been altered in some way, and whose stories illustrate important insights into normal sensory function. Leschziner is a neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, where he leads the internationally renowned Sleep Disorders Centre, one of the largest sleep services in Europe, and is Professor of Neurology and Sleep Medicine at King’s College London.
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.