2017 Earlybird tickets
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Click here to see a list of sold out events
The Lightless Sky: An Afghan Refugee Boy’s Journey of Escape to a new Life in Britain
Event 398 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage
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.
The Health Gap
Event 399 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
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.
The International Dylan Thomas Prize in partnership with Swansea University
Event 400 • • Venue: Cube
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.”
Event 401 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
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.
A Regiment of Unknown Soldiers
Event 539 • • Venue: Hay Castle
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.
Thinking The Unthinkable
Event 549 • • Venue: Compass
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
Ask the Children’s Laureate
Event HD73 • • Venue: Telegraph Stage
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.
Event HD74 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
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.
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
Event 402 • • Venue: Telegraph Stage
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.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
Event 403 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
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.
Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World
Event 404 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
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.
Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age
Event 405 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage
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.
Event 406 • • Venue: BBC Tent
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
Fictions: Refugee Tales
Event 407 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
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.
Mary Morgan, Hay Castle Trust
Event 529 • • Venue: Meet inside Hay Castle
Event 550 • • Venue: Scribblers Hut
Where My Wellies Take Me
Event HD75 • • Venue: Tata Tent
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.
Tomb Raiders: Make Your Own Treasure Hoard
Event HD76 • • Venue: Cube
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.
Britain in Europe
Event 408 • • Venue: Tata Tent
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.
Cambridge Series 18: Sex by Numbers
Event 409 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
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.