The full programme is available for this year’s festival, 25 May to 4 June. We very much look forward to seeing you in May.
Passarlay was sent away from Afghanistan at the age of 12, after his father was killed in a gun battle with the US army. Smuggled into Iran, Gulwali embarked on a 12-month odyssey across Europe, spending time in prisons, suffering hunger, cruelty and violence. He endured a terrifying journey on a tiny boat in the Mediterranean, braved the brutality of those who should care for children and spent a desolate month in the camp at Calais. Somehow he survived and made it to Britain, no longer an innocent child but still a young boy alone. Here in Britain he was fostered, went to a good school, worked hard and won a place at a top university. Gulwali was chosen to carry the Olympic torch in 2012. Many refugees die along the way. Some are sent back to face imprisonment and possible death. Some survive and make it here, to a country that offers them the chance of a life of freedom and opportunity.
There are dramatic differences in health between countries and within countries. But this is not a simple matter of rich and poor. A poor man in Glasgow is rich compared to the average Indian, but the Glaswegian’s life expectancy is 8 years shorter. In all countries, people at relative social disadvantage suffer health disadvantage, and dramatically so. Within countries, the higher the social status of individuals, the better is their health. But globally these health inequalities defy usual explanations. Creating the conditions for people to lead flourishing lives, and thus empowering individuals and communities, is key to development. Datar reports for BBC World News.
Join us to celebrate ten years of the prestigious prize for writers aged 39 and under, as the 2016 Winner talks with Dai Smith, Chair of the Judging Panel and Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University. Max Porter won the award for his extraordinary book Grief is the Thing With Feathers.
Dai Smith says: “Max Porter, the judges felt, takes the common place of grief, the pall of death, the loss of loved ones, the things that we will all experience and transforms the ordinary through an extraordinary feat of imaginative prose, but prose that slips in to poetry and out again. The way it plays with the archetypal figure of Ted Hughes’ Crow is both astonishing and beguiling. It is funny, it is deeply moving and it is a book that the judges are proud to see as the winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize, in partnership with Swansea University.”
James lost his mother when he was seven. Shipped from home to home and subject to the whims of various care-givers after his father turned to alcohol and violence, he committed his first crime of breaking and entering when he was ten. His teenage and early adult years were spent drifting, and his petty crime turned increasingly violent, culminating in the terrible events for which he was jailed for life in 1984. Entering prison at 27, James struggled to come to terms with the enormity of his crimes and a future without purpose or hope. Then he met Joan, a prison psychologist, who helped him to confront the painful truth of his past, and to understand how it had shaped him from such a young age. Encouraged to read and to educate himself, over the next 20 years Erwin James would go on to receive a BA in History and become a regular columnist for the Guardian.
Photographer D C Harries (1865-1940) recorded everyday life in a small Welsh town and its rural surroundings prior to the Second World War. After six decades, his business closed and thousands of glass negatives were donated to the National Library of Wales. Although no supporting documentation survives, there are many interesting stories to be gleaned from these negatives, especially his regiment of unknown soldiers. Troughton is Curator of Photography, The National Library of Wales.
Brexit? DAESH? President Trump? Europe’s migration crisis? Oil prices crashing? The ‘unusual extremes’ causing UK flooding? The international affairs analyst, a Visiting Professor at King’s College, London introduces new research revealing why top leaders in big corporates and governments struggle to handle the scale of new unthinkables.
Numbers are limited for this seminar. The full report, co-written with Chris Langdon, can be downloaded from here: http://www.thinkunthinkable.org
Meet the Children’s Laureate, who will live-draw the answers to your questions. The children he chooses can take their doodle-answers home with them and own a unique piece of art from one of our greatest illustrators.
Join the award-winning actor, writer and child-rights activist for a fantastical interactive storytelling session, with fun games and animal masks. Nandana has starred in more than 20 feature films, is the author of Mambi and the Forest Fire (Puffin, 2016), and works with children (and grown-ups) at UNICEF, Operation Smile, and RAHI to fight against child abuse. After studying literature at Harvard, she worked as a book editor, screenwriter, poetry translator, and as Princess Jasmine in Disneyland. Kangaroo Kisses, her debut children’s book in the UK, is a mix of fantasy and real life as one mischievous child delays getting ready for bed, and has some amazing wildlife encounters along the way.
Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, 13-year-old Robert Coombes and his 12-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lords. They told their neighbours their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next 10 days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes’ house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm... Summerscale won the Samuel Johnson Prize for The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.
Lindy West wasn’t always loud. She was once a nerdy, terror-stricken teen who wanted nothing more than to be invisible. Fortunately, that cripplingly shy girl who refused to make a sound grew up to be one of the loudest, shrillest, most fearless feminazis on the internet, making a living speaking up for what’s right instead of what’s cool. She reveals the obstacles and misogyny she’s had to overcome to make herself heard, in a society that doesn’t believe women (especially fat women and feminists) can ever be funny. “Her talent and bravery have made the internet a place where I actually want to be”– Lena Dunham.
Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly suppressed the lively, free-thinking voices of antiquity. The A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge brings to life the fascinating ideas of Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; and Epicurus and his followers. He shows how the early Christians came to define themselves against atheism, and so suppress the philosophy of disbelief.
In the next hundred years, the world will need to deal with the same amount of social development witnessed in the past 43 centuries – the rebirth of the city state, the battle for new energy, disappearing borders, the desire of the world’s people to move to developed nations. The former ambassador explores the core principles of a progressive C21st foreign policy: how to balance interventionism and national interest, and to use global governance to achieve national objectives. He discusses smart power, soft power and the new interventionism alongside lessons from the most notorious leaders and diplomats across the world including Talleyrand, Kissinger, Mandela and the Kennedys.
A former frontman, teacher, boxer and salesman, at 36 Tom Fletcher became the youngest senior British ambassador for 200 years. He pioneered using new technology to connect with people across a Middle East in upheaval. He is now a Professor of International Relations, and a campaigner for global education, the creative industries and coexistence.
The Author introduces an exclusive screening of CBBC’s new adaptation of his popular children’s book series Jamie Johnson, followed by a Q&A. Jamie is a boy who lives and breathes football. He has amazing talent and the desire to make it to the top. The books follow him on every step of his journey as he aims to fulfil his dream of becoming one of the biggest football stars in the world.
Not for broadcast.
Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years
Offered as a modern day reworking of The Canterbury Tales, this book brings together the stories of 14 refugees whose voyage to the UK has not been a journey of spiritual salvation, rather one of sheer, physical survival. The tales are retold by writers including Marina Lewycka and Patience Agbabi, and the tales are edited by the poet and teacher David Herd and Anna Pincus of the Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group.
A concert performance following nine-year-old Pippa on a ramble through woods, farms and fields. Her lively commentary is interwoven with seasonal songs of midwinter, springtime and harvest and verses by Sean Rafferty, Seamus Heaney, D.H Lawrence, Robert Browning and Shakespeare. A celebration of nature and the countryside, this is narrated by Clare and Michael Morpurgo with Natalie Walter, the songs are performed by award-winning a cappella group Voices at the Door.
Discover fascinating facts about the ancient Egyptians. Join sisters Isabel and Imogen to find out about the fabulous treasures Pharaoh Tutankhamun took to his tomb. Then create your own treasure hoard to take away and enjoy later.
In a Town Hall-style Q&A, the former Prime Minister who intervened powerfully in the Scottish Referendum sets out his case for Britain not only ‘in’ Europe, but actively leading it: as a trade bloc, as a bastion of human rights and freedoms, as a new form of power shaping a new kind of international community for the C21st. Chaired by Anita Anand.
How often, with whom, and doing what? The statistics of sexual behaviour are riveting, but can we believe them? A Cambridge professor of statistics investigates. Spiegelhalter is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk.
A conversation about risk and resurgence. Barrett is the co-author of Extreme: Why Some People Thrive at the Limits, which examines what we can learn from people who embrace high-risk work and life and are attuned to survival. Sian Williams, one the nation’s most trusted broadcasters, is also a trauma assessor. She is the author of Rise: Surviving and Thriving After Trauma (embargoed until 30 May).
An expedition to Mars goes terribly wrong. A seaside pier collapses. A 30-stone man is confined to his living room. One woman is abandoned on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. Another woman is saved from drowning. Two boys discover a gun in a shoebox. A group of explorers find a cave of unimaginable size deep in the Amazon jungle. A man shoots a stranger in the chest on Christmas Eve. The author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Red House plays out his dark and wild imagination in his first collection of short stories.
The comedian/entertainer/writer and award-winning illustrator introduce you to their latest book, a brand new adventure about a family of hyenas living in an ordinary suburban street. An unmissable event packed with wildly hilarious readings in Julian’s unique style, together with live drawing from David.
“I am Bear. And I am bare. The suit I wear has purple hair.” See this brand new hilarious picture-book brought to life by the creators, as they keep young mischief-makers entertained with cheeky trickster Bear.
Join First News to celebrate 10 years of first-class news especially for children. Find out what goes on behind the scenes in creating a newspaper and have a go at being a journalist yourself.