Fabulously funny actor and author Stephen Mangan and tremendously talented illustrator Anita Mangan provide laughter, storytelling, drawing and tales about working with your sibling. Following their bestselling debut Escape the Rooms, the duo will reveal how the smallest (and smelliest!) action can have big consequences and how children can be heroes in their hilarious new adventure, The Fart that Changed the World.
Hannah Lee introduces her new picture book, The Rapping Princess – a gorgeous fairy tale about finding your voice and standing out from the crowd. Shiloh might not be able to sing like her sisters, but she has other talents, and sometimes it’s about embracing your differences and celebrating them. Learn about fairy tales, discovering your own talents and the perfect ingredients for making up your own rap.
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.
Julian Barnes introduces Elizabeth Finch to literary scholar Jonathan Bate. Teacher and thinker, with careful empathy she guided her students to develop meaningful ideas and to discover their centres of seriousness. As a former student unpacks her notebooks and remembers her uniquely inquisitive mind, her passion for reason resonates through the years. Her ideas unlock the philosophies of the past, and explore key events that show us how to make sense of our lives today. The novel is a tribute to philosophy, an invitation to think for ourselves. It’s a moment to reflect and explore our theories and assumptions. Barnes’ novel The Sense of an Ending won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
Wishing to leave the quiet isolation of her Orkney island life, Amy Liptrot books a one-way flight to Berlin. Searching for new experiences, inspiration and love, she rents a shared flat, explores the streets, nightclubs and parks, and seeks out the city's wildlife – goshawks, raccoons and hooded crows. She hopes for the unexpected – and it comes with an erotic jolt, in the form of a love affair that obsesses her. Taking an unapologetic look at the addictive power of love and lust, an exploration of the cycles of the moon, the flight paths of migratory birds, the mesmerising power of Neolithic stonework and the trails followed by a generation that exists online, she talks to writer and broadcaster Horatio Clare.
Lyse Doucet is Chief International Correspondent and Senior Presenter for BBC World News television and BBC World Service Radio. She played a key role in the BBC’s coverage of the Arab Spring and is a regular visitor to Afghanistan and Pakistan from where she has reported since 1988. She has recently been reporting from Ukraine. Emma Graham-Harrison is International Affairs Correspondent for the Guardian. She has reported from Taliban-controlled districts, embedded with Nato soldiers, and from Ukraine. Sana Safi is an Afghan broadcast journalist working for BBC World Service. Her audio documentary, Afghanistan and Me, charts 30 years of Afghan history through her own experiences. They share their views on Afghanistan and Ukraine with writer and cyber security and organised crime specialist Misha Glenny, Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men – with a history stretching back to Shakespeare himself – invite you to join them for a sparkling comedy. One of the UK’s finest touring theatre companies, they present this great play as Shakespeare first saw it performed: in the open air, by an all male cast and with Elizabethan costumes, music and dance.
Banished to the Forest of Arden, Rosalind, Celia, Orlando and the Duke are freed from the constraints of their former lives – lovers tussle, wits and fools spar, familial bonds are challenged, and everyone wrestles with what it really means to be yourself. A rustic romp packed with music, laughs, cross-dressing confusion and a dash of wrestling!
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” – William Shakespeare.
There are five performances As You Like It, on Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June. Seating at all performances is unallocated. These are outdoor performances, come rain or shine, so please dress warmly and according to the weather.
You can enjoy a tipple, soft drink or ice cream from the licensed bar and ice cream stand before the performance and during the interval.
Click here to pre-book a delicious picnic box to enjoy during the performance.
Toilet facilities are available on site.
The inimitable Michael Rosen takes a free-wheeling, fast-paced and fun look at some of his most loved books and rhymes of all kinds. The former Children’s Laureate celebrates the release of Rigatoni the Pasta Cat, Ready for Spaghetti and many more of his books in this joyous event.
The writer and illustrator of this groundbreaking YA memoir about being a trans teen is an influencer, filmmaker and bold new voice in comics. He takes readers on a heartbreaking but ultimately healing path as he overcomes trauma, confusion and dubious fashion choices to become the man he was always meant to be. This book will resonate not just with trans teens, but with every young person who has ever felt the awkward sting of finding their identity in adolescence.
Learn how to set your goals for your writing, to balance storytelling with structure and build your characters. The editor of The Good Immigrant knows better than most the power that every unique voice has to create change. Whether it’s a novel, personal essay, non-fiction work or short story – or even just the formless desire to write something – this workshop will hone your skills and help you along the way.
What if there were a way to stop climate change and end global hunger at the same time? Monbiot’s new book is an exhilarating journey into a new possible future for food, people and the planet. Drawing on the rapidly advancing science of soil ecology, he shows how the hidden biological universe beneath our feet could transform the food we eat and how we grow it. He shares his profoundly hopeful, appetising and exciting vision of food: of revolutionary cultivation and cuisine that could nourish us all and restore our world of wonders. George Monbiot is a renowned environmental activist, a contibutor to the Guardian and author of Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics in the Age of Crisis. In conversation with the scientist, author and broadcaster Adam Rutherford.
Mary Ann Sieghart brings up harsh realities that may seem astonishing – including the fact that very often it is women themselves who perpetuate sexism. She maps out the measures we can take, as individuals and society, to counteract an irrational but tenacious product of our social conditioning. She provides a startling perspective on the unseen bias at work and in our everyday lives, to reveal the scale of the gap that still persists between men and women. Drawing on cutting-edge work and original research commissioned to support her arguments and findings, she discusses the issues with the BBC’s Europe editor.
In Hayden’s book Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route she follows the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe and surveys the bigger picture: the negligence of NGOs and corruption within the United Nations; the economics of the 21st-century slave trade and the EU’s bankrolling of Libyan militias; the trials of people smugglers, the frustrations of aid workers, the loopholes refugees seek out and the role of social media in crowdfunding ransoms. Who was accountable for the abuse? Where were the people finding solutions? Why wasn't it being widely reported?
Andrea Elliott’s book Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in New York City has just won the Pulitzer Prize 2022 for General Non-Fiction. In a tour de force of immersive reporting, Elliott follows eight years in the life of Dasani Coates, a homeless girl in New York City whose tight-knit family confronts hunger, violence, racism, and punitive government systems with deep historical roots. When Dasani finally escapes the city, she faces an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning the family you love?
Three authors explore how historical fiction illuminates the world. They discuss the responsibility of telling stories inspired by real-life figures, what’s at risk of being forgotten or lost if these stories are not told, and how they have used speculative techniques to explore themes of war, grief, religion, misogyny, creativity and selfhood. Sophie Haydock writes for the Sunday Times, Guardian, Royal Academy and Sotheby’s. Her debut novel is The Flames. Liz Hyder’s debut YA novel, Bearmouth, was named The Times’ Children’s Book of the Year. Her book for adults, The Gifts, is set in 1840 in London and the Shropshire Hills. Rebecca F John is winner of the PEN International New Voices Award 2015. Her second adult novel is The Empty Greatcoat.
Join American novelist, poet and essayist Patricia Lockwood, the winner of the £20,000 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize 2022 with her debut novel, No One Is Talking About This. A woman known for her viral social media posts travels the world speaking to her adoring fans, her entire existence revolving around the internet – or what she terms ‘the portal'. Who are we serving, the portal asks itself. Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die? Suddenly, two texts from her mother appear: "Something has gone wrong" and "How soon can you get here?" As real life and the portal collide, she confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of goodness, empathy and justice, and evidence that proves the opposite. This is a love letter to the infinite scroll and a meditation on love, language and human connection.
Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories and drama. The prize is named after the Swansea-born writer, Dylan Thomas, and celebrates his 39 years of creativity and productivity – one of the most influential, internationally renowned writers of the mid-20th century. Join us to celebrate the 2022 winner – announced on 12 May. Alan Bilton is an author and member of the 2022 judging panel.
Patricia Lockwood will be appearing via video-link from her home in the USA.
Michael Rosen traces the history of Bevan and the NHS, an institution that Rosen celebrates in his latest work Many Different Kinds of Love: A Story of Life, Death and the NHS, a collection of stunning new prose poems, moving diaries from nurses and his own reflections on the desperate struggle with Covid-19, which saw him hospitalised for months in 2020. Aneurin Bevan was one of the most important ministers in the post-war Labour government. This lecture honours his work as the main architect of the National Health Service and his contribution to the UK’s Welfare State.
Publishers abandoning authors. Galleries removing paintings. Universities banning speakers. Cancel culture seems to be all around us. But if decent discourse is dying, how can we maintain the antiquated virtue of tolerance? Speakers include David Olusoga, historian and broadcaster; Shazia Mirza, comedian and writer; Sarfraz Manzoor, author, broadcaster and screenwriter; and Sir Jonathan Bate, author, broadcaster, academic. Chaired by Alan Rusbridger, Editor of Prospect Magazine.
Author of Swimming Lessons and Bitter Orange Claire Fuller discusses her most recent novel exploring how we can build our lives on broken foundations with the Guardian’s Associate Culture Editor. Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from others. At 51, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural poverty. They make music, and in the garden they grow everything they need. When Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. The twins would do anything to preserve their sanctuary against the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about life at stake.
The reconstruction after two World Wars was pre-planned by the Allies and carried out with huge drive and commitment, leading to a reconciliation between the warring nations that has endured. But since then, we have witnessed the tragic fallout of too many civil and international conflicts. In the Congo and Rwanda, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Israel and Palestine, the former Yugoslavia and now, dismayingly, in Ukraine. The panel discuss the reasons behind these failures and look at how reconciliation can be achieved. Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent; Tom Fletcher was UK Ambassador in Lebanon; Oliver McTernan has a background in conflict resolution and interfaith relationships. They talk to Major General Arthur Denaro.
Birds have always inspired and challenged our ideas about science, faith, art and philosophy. We have worshipped them as gods, hunted them, adorned ourselves in their feathers, studied their wings to engineer flight and, recently, attempted to protect them. The ornithologist takes us on an epic journey from the ibises mummified and deified by Ancient Egyptians to Victorian obsessions with egg collecting and the present fight to save endangered species. Birkhead, author of Birds and Us: A 12,000 Year History, From Cave Art to Conservation, is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Emeritus Professor of Zoology in the School of Biosciences at the University of Sheffield.