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For a woman to succeed as a writer 200 years ago she had to be tenacious, brave and exceptional. Both Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein were written then and their authors are the subjects of Emily Brontë Reappraised by Brontë specialist Claire O'Callaghan and In Search of Mary Shelley by award-winning poet and writer, Fiona Sampson. Each offers a revealing account of these vital literary figures. Chaired by Lennie Goodings.Read More
Writer and slow adventurer Jasper Winn spent a year exploring Britain's waterways on foot, by bike, in a kayak and on narrowboats. Along a thousand miles of 'wet roads and water streets' he discovered a world of wildlife corridors, underground adventures, the hardware of heritage and history, new boating communities, endurance kayak races and remote towpaths. He shared journeys with some of the last working boat people and met the anglers, walkers, boaters, activists, volunteers and eccentrics who have made the waterways their home. In Britain most of us live within five miles of a canal, and reading this book we will see them in an entirely new light.Read More
Identity and literature with Kwame Anthony Appiah, Reith Lecturer and Chair of the Man Booker Prize 2018 judgesRead More
To be alive is to be in perpetual change. In Shapeshifters, award winning Edinburgh writer and doctor Gavin Francis considers the transformations in mind and body that continue across the arc of every human life and the power and limitations of medicine in altering our lives. Gavin, who practises as a GP, is already the best selling author of Adventures in Human Being, Saltire Non Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and travel books True North and Antarctica: Ice, Silence and Emperor Penguins. The latter won the Scottish Book of the Year award in 2013. Sponsored by the Nairn Literary InstituteRead More
Mary Shelley was brought up by her father in a house filled with radical thinkers, poets, philosophers and writers of the day. Aged sixteen, she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a relationship that was lived on the move across Britain and Europe, as she coped with debt, infidelity and the deaths of three children, before early widowhood changed her life forever. Most astonishingly, it was while she was still a teenager that Mary composed her canonical novel Frankenstein, creating two of our most enduring archetypes today. The life story is well-known. But who was the woman who lived it? She's left plenty of evidence, and in this fascinating dialogue with the past, Fiona Sampson sifts through letters, diaries and records to find the real woman behind the story. She uncovers a complex, generous character - friend, intellectual, lover and mother - trying to fulfil her own passionate commitment to writing at a time when to be a woman writer was an extraordinary and costly anomaly. Published for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, this is a major new work of biography by a prize-winning writer and poet.Read More
Join bestselling TV historians Mary Beard and David Olusoga as they examine history through the lens of global culture. Three years in the making, and filmed in 31 countries and on six continents, the BBC's Civilisations series questions what lies at the heart of identity - and what makes us human. Civilisations presenters Beard and Olusoga will discuss the ideas underlying their respective contributions to the series to uncover what we now think 'civilisation' is, and our stake in the very idea of it. Chaired by Mark Jones, former Director of the Victoria & Albert MuseumRead More

Peter Hart at Wimpole History Festival

Event Date: 24 Jun 2018

Mention 1918 and we usually fast-forward to the Armistice, jumping over the climactic battles that brought the First World War to an end. Peter Hart, oral historian at the Imperial War Museum, and author of Gallipoli and other acclaimed books on 1914-18, brings to life the forgotten voices from the front as he narrates the Great War's dramatic endgame. Chaired by David Reynolds, festival patron and Professor of International History, University of CambridgeRead More
Andrew Martin tells stories from the history of and his travels on Europe's night trains.Read More

Fiona Sampson at Idler Festival

Event Date: 14 Jul 2018

Mary Shelley, daughter of feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and revolutionary philosopher William Godwin, grew up in a house full of radicals. At sixteen she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a passionate relationship lived on the move across Britain and Europe. Before her early widowhood, Mary had already experienced debt, infidelity, orphanhood, and the deaths of three of her children. It was against this dramatic backdrop - and while she was still a teenager - that she composed the cultural landmark that is Frankenstein. In the process she created two of today's most enduring archetypes. Published to mark Frankenstein's bicentenary, Fiona Sampson's critically acclaimed new biography, In Search of Mary Shelley, sifts the evidence to find the real person behind the clichés. Fiona Sampson is a prizewinning poet and writer published in more than thirty languages. Her honours include an MBE for services to literature.Read More

Gavin Francis at the Buxton Festival

Event Date: 15 Jul 2018

Award-winning writer and doctor Gavin Francis considers the transformations in mind and body that continue across the arc of human life. We can't avoid puberty, the menopause, or our hair turning grey. Others may be welcome milestones along our path - a much-wanted pregnancy, a cancer cured, or a long-awaited transition to another gender. We may find ourselves turning down dark paths, towards the cruel distortions of anorexia, or the shifting sands of memory loss. Francis draws on history, art, literature, myth and magic to show how the very essence of being human is change.Read More
TThe runaway Goth At 16 she ran away with a married poet; at 21 she wrote Frankenstein, the definitive Gothic novel that spawned a whole new genre. The romance and tragedy of Mary Shelley's short life are well known, but what do we know of the woman herself? Through letters, diaries and records Fiona Sampson reveals the real woman behind the story. She uncovers a complex, generous character - friend, intellectual, lover and mother - trying to fulfil a passionate commitment to writing when to be a woman writer was an extraordinary and costly anomaly. Frankenstein 200. Book for any two of the following: Gavin Francis (15 July), Miranda Seymour (17 July) or Fiona Sampson (18 July) and receive a 25% discount on the second talk.Read More

Gavin Francis and the Glasgow Skeptics

Event Date: 18 Jul 2018

In a special talk for Glasgow Skeptics, science writer Gavin Francis considers the transformations in mind and body that continue across the arc of human life. We can't avoid puberty, the menopause, or our hair turning grey. Others may be welcome milestones along our path - a much-wanted pregnancy, a cancer cured, or a long-awaited transition to another gender. We may find ourselves turning down dark paths, towards the cruel distortions of anorexia, or the shifting sands of memory loss. Francis draws on history, art, literature, and myth to show how the very essence of being human is change. This event comes you to in association with our friends at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street, who will ensure that Gavin's books will be on display and available for purchase. You will most probably be able to persuade Gavin to sign your copy as well. About the speaker: Gavin Francis qualified in medicine from Edinburgh in 1999, then spent ten years travelling, visiting all seven continents. He is the author of three books: True North, Travels in Arctic Europe (2008, 2010), Empire Antarctica, Ice, Silence & Emperor Penguins (2012) which was Scottish Book of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for the Costa, Ondaatje, Banff, & Saltire Prizes, & Adventures in Human Being (2015), which won Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2015, was the Observer's Science Book of the Year, and was a winner in the BMA Book Awards. He is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, and lives and practises medicine in Edinburgh.Read More

Fiona Sampson at Port Eliot Festival

Event Date: 29 Jul 2018

Mary Shelley, daughter of feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and revolutionary philosopher William Godwin, grew up in a house full of radicals. At sixteen she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a passionate relationship lived on the move across Britain and Europe. Before her early widowhood, Mary had already experienced debt, infidelity, orphanhood, and the deaths of three of her children. It was against this dramatic backdrop - and while she was still a teenager - that she composed the cultural landmark that is Frankenstein. In the process she created two of today's most enduring archetypes. Published to mark Frankenstein's bicentenary, Fiona Sampson's critically acclaimed new biography, In Search of Mary Shelley, sifts the evidence to find the real person behind the clichés. Fiona Sampson is a prizewinning poet and writer published in more than thirty languages. Her honours include an MBE for services to literature.Read More

Lucky for you, bookshops will cater to all your gift buying needs.

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Read an extract from Annie Gray's The Greedy Queen telling the stories of Victorian royal wedding spreads.

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Anquetil, Alone by Paul Fournel is shortlisted for the Sports Book Awards 2018 for Biography of the Year and Cycling Book of the Year

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'The body is itself a flowing stream, or burning fire: no two of its moments are ever the same.'

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The sun has half our office back on their bikes - are you? Read the preface to Colin O'Brien's Giro d'Italia to get in the cycling mood.

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Watch our beautiful animation of the cover of Jack Hartnell's Medieval Bodies

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Henry Nicholls' new book is a memoir of narcolepsy and a fascinating exploration of sleep disorders. Read the prefact

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