This high-profile international author, poet and performer has an enormous breadth of appeal, equally popular with adults and children. Join him as he reads from his latest children's poetry collection Wicked World!
For a whole year on his train to work, Stig Abell read books from across genres and time periods. Then he wrote about them, and their impact on our culture and his own life. The result is a brisk guide to the canon of Western literature, an intimate engagement with writers from Shakespeare to JK Rowling, Marcel Proust to Zora Neale Hurston, a wise and funny celebration of the power of words and a meditation on mental unrest and how to tackle it. It will help you discover new books to love, give you the confidence to give up on those you don't, and remind you of ones you already do. Stig Abell is the breakfast presenter on Times Radio, a station he helped to launch, and a columnist for The Sunday Times. Previously he has been the editor and publisher of the Times Literary Supplement, a presenter on Radio 4's Front Row, and had a weekly radio programme on LBC.
This is a linguistic almanac offering a word or phrase linked to every day of the year. From 1 January to 31 December, the reader will discover a curious coinage or a fascinating etymological fact linked to that particular day:
‘That experimental cocktail you've been making from ingredients at the back of your lockdown cupboard – it’s a quarantini.’ and ‘The unintentional eating of an entire packet of biscuits – that’s a snaccident’.
Word Perfect is full of facts and histories that will enlighten and entertain everyone. For example, 'stealing someone’s thunder' had theatrically literal beginnings.
Susie Dent recently celebrated 25 years as the resident word expert on Channel 4's Countdown as well as on the show's comedy sister 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. She is a columnist for the i newspaper, Radio Times and The Week Junior, and her popular podcast Something Rhymes with Purple recently won 'Best Entertainment Podcast' in the 2020 British Podcast Awards.
It is summer in 1968, the year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. While the world is reeling, our trio is involved in making a rackety Swinging Sixties British movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives. As the film is shot, with its usual drastic ups and downs, so does our trio's private, secret world begin to take over their public one. Pressures build inexorably – someone's going to crack. Or maybe they all will.
From one of Britain's best loved writers comes an exhilarating, tender novel that asks the vital questions: what makes life worth living? And what do you do if you find it isn't?
William Boyd is the author of 15 novels, including A Good Man in Africa, winner of the Whitbread Literary Award and the Somerset Maugham Award; An Ice Cream War, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Any Human Heart, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet; and Restless, winner of the Costa Novel of the Year, the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and a Richard and Judy selection.
Skin, the trail-blazing lead singer of multi-million-selling rock band Skunk Anansie, is a global female icon. As an incendiary live performer, she shatters preconceptions about race and gender. As an activist and inspirational role model she has been smashing through stereotypes for more than 25 years. With her striking visual image and savagely poetic songs, Skin has been a ground-breaking influence both with Skunk Anansie and as a solo artist.
From her difficult childhood growing up in Brixton to forming Skunk Anansie in the sweat-drenched backrooms of London’s pubs in the ’90s, from the highs of headlining Glastonbury to the toll her solo career took on her personal life, Skin’s life has been extraordinary. She talks powerfully about her work as social and cultural activist, championing LGBTQ+ rights at a time when few artists were out and gay.
Told with honesty and passion, this is the story of how a black, working-class girl with a vision fought poverty and prejudice to write songs, produce and front her own band, and become one of the most influential women in British rock. It Takes Blood and Guts is co-written with music journalist, biographer and broadcaster Lucy O’Brien, who has written for Q, Mojo, The Sunday Times and the Guardian.
The Man Booker Prize Winner returns with a new chilling mystery. The year is 1957 and the Catholic Church rules Ireland with an iron fist. Following the discovery of the corpse of a highly respected parish priest at Ballyglass House – the Co. Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family – Detective Inspector St John Strafford is called in from Dublin to investigate.
Strafford faces obstruction from all angles, but carries on determinedly in his pursuit of the murderer. However, as the snow continues to fall over this ever-expanding mystery, the people of Ballyglass are equally determined to keep their secrets.
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of 15 novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. He is in conversation with radio and TV presenter Georgina Godwin.
Meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school when they swore an oath on a Curly Wurly wrapper that they would always be there for each other, come what may. After the trip of a lifetime, the three girls are closer than ever. But an unexpected turn of events shakes the foundation of their friendship to its core, leaving their future in doubt – there’s simply too much to forgive, let alone forget. An innocent childhood promise they once made now seems impossible to keep…
As in Never Greener, the author’s debut book, Ruth brings to novel-writing all of the heart, warmth and empathy that made her name as the co-creator of Gavin and Stacey. Her books are unputdownable, relatable and feature characters you feel you’ve known for a lifetime. Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist and broadcaster.
A Welshman, an Englishman, a Scot and an Irish fella walk into a bar…
Well, not a bar exactly – a show. Not just any old Scot, Welshie, Irish or English bloke – four comedians. They discuss all things 2020 and attempt to grow new bonds and better understanding between nations of the British Isles, mocking themselves and each other. This live comedy hour will be a much-needed tonic for what has been an ever so slightly challenging year.
Representing England: Marcus Brigstocke is a comedian, actor, and satirist. He has worked in stand-up comedy, television, radio and
Representing Scotland: Fern Brady has appeared on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Seann Walsh's Late Night Comedy Spectacular, The Alternative Comedy Experience, BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz, series 3 of Live from the BBC, series 14 of Live at the Apollo and on series 3 of Frankie Boyle's New World Order.
Representing Wales: Elis James is a stand up comic, actor, and host of the Elis James and John Robins Show on Radio X. During lockdown, Elis and John have been writing and co-producing The Isolation Tapes, consisting of conversations recorded in the respective homes of the two 5 Live comedians.
Representing Ireland: Neil Delamere has worked for both Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) and the BBC, in programmes such as the BBC comedy series One Night Stand, BBC radio and television panel quiz The Blame Game and RTÉ topical comedy show The Panel. Neil also presents his own show titled "Neil Delamere's Sunday Best" on Today FM.
In the north of England, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age. For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to re-enact life in simpler times. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind. The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?