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Events

Fiona Sampson is a prize-winning poet and writer who will be discussing her latest book 'In Search of Mary Shelley', published for the 200th anniversary of the publication of 'Frankenstein'. Fiona has been published in more than thirty languages and received an MBE for services to literature. A Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature, and the recipient of a number of national and international honours for her poetry, she has worked as an editor, translator, and university professor as well as a violinist.Read More
Mary Shelley is known for her Gothic novel 'Frankenstein.' But her life and work are often eclipsed by the reputation of her parents - philosopher William Godwin and feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft - and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. Fiona Sampson uncovers Shelley's complex and generous character.Read More
From the The Handmaid's Tale to The Power and The Hunger Games to Noughts & Crosses, women's writing has drawn on history to imagine different futures in sci-fi and fantasy writing. With grim comparisons being drawn with dystopian fiction and our current political climate, and as technology and science begin to make what seemed impossible a reality, what can speculative fiction tell us about our world today? On the bicentenary of the publication of Frankenstein - written by a 19 year old Mary Shelley in 1818 and often called the first true work of science fiction - we talk to the women who rule sci-fi and fantasy right now to help us imagine a gender equal world.Read More
Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the publication of Fat is a Feminist Issue, pioneering therapist Susie Orbach presents the extended new edition of the case histories that inspired her recent Radio 4 series In Therapy. She reveals as much about what is going on in the mind of the person behind the couch as she does the emotional dilemmas of the patient.Read More
Golden Hare Books is delighted to welcome Susie Orbach to Edinburgh to discuss her incredible career as a psychotherapist and social critic, and in particular, to talk about the process of therapy and the case studies laid out in her book In Therapy. Orbach is not often in Scotland, and this is a chance to hear her speak that should not be missed! If you have an interest in the mind and its workings, or in humanity and how it lives, then this event is absolutely vital.Read More
In his book Write To the Point, Sam Leith shows how to express yourself fully across any medium, from work reports to Valentine cards, and from emails of condolence to tweets of complaint, Leith lays bare the secrets to successful communication, eloquence and off- and online etiquette. Emma Byrne's book Swearing Is Good For You is a spirited and hilarious defence of our most cherished dirty words! Swearing, it turns out, is an incredibly useful part of our linguistic repertoire. Not only has swearing existed since the earliest human communication, it has been shown to reduce pain, help stroke victims recover their language, and encourage good teamwork.Read More

Mary Beard: A life in classics

Date: 16 Mar 2018

For over a decade the Cambridge classicist has been bringing the Romans to life through her much-loved TV programmes for the BBC. Her scholarly but accessible style has made her hugely popular in print and on the screen, from Meet The Romans to her 2015 bestseller SPQR. She is equally admired for her refusal to tolerate misogynistic online abuse. Her most recent book, Women & Power: A Manifesto, provided a historical perspective on the abuse of women in the public sphere and was hailed as a modern feminist classic. This Spring she returns with Civilisations a major new series inspired by Kenneth Clark's 1960s landmark programmes. Co-presented by Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Schama, the programmes will introduce a new generation to the history of art around the globe. Charlotte Higgins, the Guardian's chief culture writer and author of Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain, has been working on a major new profile of Mary for the Guardian Long Read. They will reunite for this Guardian Live event in London, to discuss Beard's writing, broadcasting and role as a public intellectual.Read More
By August 1918, the outcome of the Great War was not in doubt: the Allies would win. But what was unclear was how this defeat would play out - would the Germans hold on, prolonging the fighting deep into 1919, with the loss of hundreds of thousands more young lives, or could the war be won in 1918? In The Last Battle, drawing on the experience of both generals and ordinary soldiers, Peter Hart brings to life the dramatic final weeks of the war. Dwelling with equal weight on strategy, tactics and individual experience, this is a powerful and detailed account of history's greatest endgame.Read More
Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, set by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff. He introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye. Chaired by Stuart Kelly.Read 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
Poet and writer Fiona Sampson looks beyond the well-known story of Mary Shelley to uncover the complex yet generous friend, intellectual, lover and mother behind it. Shelley famously eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley at 16, travelled Britain and Europe while coping with debt, infidelity and the deaths of three children, and wrote Frankenstein when still a teenager. Sampson has gone through Shelley's letters, diaries and records to paint a picture of the woman. She finds a writer committed to her art at a time when it was an extraordinary and expensive anomaly for women to write. Sampson has won many national and international awards for her poetry, which has been published in more than 30 languages. She has worked as an editor, translator, university professor and violinist.Read More
One of Britain's most generous philanthropists Lord David Sainsbury talks to science writer and author Georgina Ferry about the Gatsby Charitable Foundation he launched almost exactly 50 years ago and about how the wealthy can contribute to the common good. Sainsbury established the trust with a £5 cheque in March 1967. It is now spending around £50 million a year on charitable activities and has contributed more than £1 billion in total to programmes ranging from reducing poverty in Africa to raising standards of technical education and investigating how the brain works. Sainsbury is a businessman and politician. He was chair of Sainsbury's between 1992 and 1997, served as Labour Minister of Science and Innovation between 1998 and 2006, and is chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Ferry has written an in-depth account of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation that asks how the affluent might spend their money wisely for the common good. She is a former journalist on New Scientist, has presented science programmes on BBC radio, and is author of six books on science and history.Read More
Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a physicist, author and broadcaster, and host of Radio 4's The Life Scientific. In What's Next? he brings together the writings of eighteen top scientists and experts who explore what's in store for the human race. Entertaining, informative and filled with groundbreaking science, What's Next? is your guide to what the future holds.Read More
Can swearing be beneficial to our health and wellbeing? Dr. Emma Byrne is backing evidence that it is, in her new book Swearing is Good for You. This is a spirited and hilarious defence of our most cherished dirty words backed by cutting-edge research. Swearing, it turns out, is an incredibly useful part of our linguistic repertoire. Not only has some form of swearing existed since the earliest humans began to communicate, but it has been shown to reduce physical pain, help stroke victims recover their language, and encourage people to work together as a team. From chimpanzees creating their own curse words to a man who lost half his brain experiencing a new-found compulsion to swear, Dr Byrne outlines the fascinating science behind swearing. Uncover how it affects us both physically and emotionally, and how it is more beneficial than we are led to believe.Read More
Join us for a themed evening to celebrate 200 years of Frankenstein in popular culture. Written by Mary Shelley, the novel first published in 1818 when the author was just 20 years old and has since become a cult classic, inspiring countless adaptations for both stage and screen. Biographer Fiona Sampson will be in conversation with novelist Nick Harkaway to discuss Mary Shelley and her ground-breaking book, regarded by many as the first work of science fiction. This will be followed by a film screening of Kenneth Branagh's 1994 film featuring Robert De Niro, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter and John Cleese. Fiona Sampson is a prize-winning poet, and author of In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein (Profile, February 2018). She has been published in more than thirty languages and received an MBE for services to literature. Sampson is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature, and the recipient of a number of national and international honours for her poetry, she has worked as an editor, translator, and university professor as well as a violinist. Nick Harkaway was born in Cornwall in 1972. Author of the novels The Gone-Away World, Angelmaker and Tigerman, he lives in London with his wife and two children.Read More
Susie Orbach at the Cambridge Literary FestivalRead More

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