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Events

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
IS IT THE END OF THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY? Late 20th century thinking was defined by freedom of movement and the removal of borders. Now, fences, tariffs and fear are beginning to dominate our cultural, economic and political conversations. Join our panel as they explore why the barriers are going up around the world and ask: Is the end of the global community? Our panel includes leading journalist Tim Marshall, the author of Divided: Why We Are Living In An Age Of Walls and investigative journalist Oliver Bullough, who has written about Trumpism, inequality and the super-rich in Moneyland.Read More
FOLLOW THE MONEY Money definitely makes some parts of the world go round. In Moneyland, investigative journalist Oliver Bullough glues together the Panama Papers, Trumpism and inequality to expose the super-rich. Economist and broadcaster Dharshini David followed the money for The Almighty Dollar, finding that globalisation would buckle without the vast reserves of the stuff circulating, even aside from the enormous numbers of dollars kept in vaults by some countries. Chaired by Phil Harding.Read More
Identity and literature with Kwame Anthony Appiah, Reith Lecturer and Chair of the Man Booker Prize 2018 judgesRead More
Oliver Bullough is replaced in the chair by award-winning writer Peter Pomerantsev for the Frontline Club's tenth Kleptoscope event, since Oliver will be talking about his new book: Moneyland, why thieves and crooks now rule the world and how to take it back. It is a deep dive into the secret country of the super-rich, exploring its history, customs, and effect on the rest of us. As John le Carré put it: "If you want to know why international crooks and their eminently respectable financial advisors walk tall and only the little people pay taxes, this is the ideal book for you. Every politician and moneyman on the planet should read it, but they won't because it's actually about them". Peter and Oliver will be joined by Dr. Elisabeth Schimpfossl, whose newly published Rich Russians, from Oligarchs to Bourgeoisie, takes a deep dive into the lives of the most famous group of super-rich on the planet.Read More

Chiswick Book Festival

Date: 15 Sep 2018

You'll Never Walk Emily Mayhew (A Heavy Reckoning) is a military medical historian specialising in the study of severe casualty in 20th and 21st century warfare. She joins Andy Grant (You'll Never Walk), a veteran of Afghanistan whose life was changed forever when he was blown up by the Taliban. His is a truly remarkable story of horror, despair, hope and ultimately triumph against all the odds.Read 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 us to debate the science of identity with some of the world's greatest thinkers in genetics and philosophy. Award-winning Harvard geneticist David Reich, Reith lecturer and NYU philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah and chair Adam Rutherford, scientist, broadcaster and author of The Book of Humans, will discuss how a scientific revolution that exposes the real history of our DNA offers us new - often startling - answers to a perennial question: who are we? Recent discoveries such as Britain's 10,000 year-old blue-eyed, dark-skinned Cheddar Man show us that studying ancient DNA can unlock the secret, surprising history of our species. As these revelations upend common ideas about what our ancestors looked like, and geneticists continue to demonstrate that "race" functions as a social rather than scientific concept, to what extent do we see our heritage, history and culture as being central to our identity today? And as nationalist political narratives reverberate around the world, what role can science communicators play in halting dangerous assumptions about how we define ourselves and others? There will be a book signing after the event. Further speakers to be announced.Read More
From chimpanzees creating their own curse words to a man who lost half his brain in a mining accident experiencing a new-found compulsion to swear, Emma Byrne outlines the fascinating science behind swearing: how it affects us both physically and emotionally, and how it is more natural and beneficial than we are led to believe. Emma Byrne is an honest-to-goodness robot scientist who specialises in AI, robotics and neuroscience. Her BBC Radio 4 'Four Thought' episode was selected as one of the "best of 2013" by the programme's editors. She has been selected as a British Science Association Media Fellow and for the BBC Expert Women Training, and is published in CIO, Forbes and the Financial Times. She frequently appears on Sky News and the BBC discussing the future of artificial intelligence and robotics. She writes regularly for startups in the medical and financial technology fields. Her interest in neuroscience and the benefits of swearing led to her first popular science book Swearing is Good for You.Read More
Oliver Bullough is a prize-winning journalist and author from Wales, who specialises in the former Soviet Union and corruption. His work appears in the Guardian, the New York Times, GQ magazine, Prospect and elsewhere, and he regularly appears on the BBC, Sky News, CNN and other media outlets. His latest book is Moneyland, about which John le Carré said: "If you want to know why international crooks and their eminently respectable financial advisors walk tall and only the little people pay taxes, this is the ideal book for you".Read More

Oliver Bullough with Moneyland

Date: 26 Sep 2018

Acclaimed investigative journalist and author of The Last Man in Russia, Oliver Bullough takes us on a journey into the universe of the lawless, stateless super-rich. This is a land where third-world kleptocrats rub shoulders with terror financiers, captains of industry, and western heads of state; from the ruins of Kiev to the Bond-villain lairs of Knightsbridge and Central Park, something has gone wrong with the economic structures of the world. Learn how the institutions of the United States and Europe have become money-laundering operations, climbing over one another in a scramble to sell off the foundations of their own stability. Discover the true cost of being open for business, no matter the customer. Meet the dictators (and their awful children). More encouragingly, find out how activists around the world are fighting to put the genie of unlimited power with zero responsibility back into the bottle. Oliver Bullough pieces together some of the biggest news stories of the past years - from the Panama Papers, to Ukrainian conflict, Trump, and runaway inequality - into a single coherent diagnosis. Take a walk on the dark side of globalisation, and discover the all-pervasive organised crime networks that reach from Russia to the banks of the world, and to every personal computer connected to the web.Read More
Evening event at Lighthouse Bookshop EdinburghRead More
Names like Passchendaele, Verdun and The Somme are etched into our national consciousness but the last months of the First World War are often overlooked. Peter Hart, official oral historian at the Imperial War Museum, has pieced together one of history's greatest endgames in The Last Battle. The result, marking the centenary, is a "superb account of the tactics that finally brought victory on the Western Front," according to The Times. By August 1918, the outcome of the Great War was not in doubt but would the Germans prolong the conflict, with the loss of hundreds of thousands more young lives? Hart, author of Gallipoli and The Great War, draws on the accounts of generals as well as ordinary soldiers as he brings to life the dramatic final weeks. He also reminds us that the collective armies of France, Britain, America and Belgium achieved total domination over the German Army on the Western Front. "The all too frequent deaths so close to The Armistice gives a terrible poignancy to this last battle," Hart writes. "This book... is a tragic story told for the most part by those men who were lucky enough to survive. Many did not."Read More
Do you say 'bath' (as in 'hearth') or 'bath' (as in 'maths')? Controversy or controversy? Halifax or 'Alifax? Pronunciation unites people and divides them, gives people joy and infuriates them. Little wonder that the subtitle of David Crystal's Sounds Appealing is The Passionate Story of English Pronunciation. The book tells us why and how we pronounce words the way we do. Taking in phonetics, linguistics and physiology, Crystal explores the origins of regional accents, how they are influenced by class and education and how they have changed over time. To say that Crystal is an expert on the English language is something of an understatement: he has written more than 100 books on the subject, ranging from Listen to Your Child to Think on My Words: Exploring Shakespeare's Language. He has an OBE for services to the English language; he is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor; and he is the author of the definitive Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Now, repeat after me: the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.Read More
In The Last Battle, Peter Hart, author of Gallipoli and The Great War, and oral historian at the Imperial War Museum, brings to life the dramatic final weeks of the war, as men fought to secure victory, with survival seemingly only days, or hours away. Drawing on the experience of both generals and ordinary soldiers, and dwelling with equal weight on strategy, tactics and individual experience, this is a powerful and detailed account of history's greatest endgame.Read More
Event at Book-ish CrickhowellRead 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.Read More

Ilkley Festival

Date: 6 Oct 2018

Appearance at Ilkley FestivalRead More

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