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The West has long been a font of stability and prosperity, but global instability and economic uncertainty has tempted states to close borders, hoard wealth, and solidify power. What changes should the West make, be it reinventing welfare systems or redefining the working age, to revive itself now and thrive in a bright future. Two leading commentators explore the implications of Brexit and the withdrawal from globalisation in a fascinating conversation. Bill Emmott is the former editor-in-chief of the Economist, author of The Fate of The West and leading consultant on international affairs. Robert Tombs is Professor of History at Cambridge University. He is author of That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present, and The English and Their History. He is one of the leading scholars of Anglo-French relations.Read More
A biography of one of Britain's most famously eccentric families, the Durrells, whose life on the Greek island of Corfu formed the basis of the classic 'My Family and Other Animals'. Lawrence Durrrell and Gerald Durrell both wrote extensively about their lives, but the other two siblings, Margo and Leslie, and the long-suffering mother Louisa are less well known. Haag, who knew the family, has fascinating stories to tell about them all. Chaired by Sheilagh MathesonRead More
The traditional liberal democracies of the West are in decline, and divisive populist sentiment is on the rise. When faced with global instability and economic uncertainty, it is tempting for states to react by closing borders, hoarding wealth and solidifying power, and for citizens to look upon one another with suspicion, incomprehension and mistrust. Former Economist editor-in-chief Bill Emmott explains that we have seen this phenomenon at various times in Japan, France and Italy and now it is infecting all of Europe and America - as vividly demonstrated by the vote for Brexit in the UK and Trump in the US. This insularity, together with increased inequality of income and wealth threatens the future role of the West as a font of stability, prosperity and security. Part of the problem is that the principles of liberal democracy upon which the success of the West has been built have been suborned, with special interest groups such as bankers accruing too much power and too great a share of the economic cake. Investigative journalist Joris Luyendijk argues this environment provides the ideal conditions for populist anti-politicians to thrive. Trump, Johnson, Farage, Beppe Grillo and their ilk are cresting the waves of popularity, whilst their mainstream opponents (whose incompetence, corruption and dismissal of their constituents brought us this mess) watch on. But as mainstream technocrats are purged, and populists fall on their own swords, could something better emerge from the rubble? Could we be in the process of watching the birth of a repoliticised and refreshed democracy?Read More
Andrew Martin on Night Trains at Campden LitFsetRead More
Annie Gray gives us a new perspective on Britain's now second longest reigning monarch: from her greed to her selfishness at the table, and her indigestion. Relying on food as a lifelong companion, with her when so many others either died or were forced away by political factors, Victoria had a huge impact on the way we all eat today. The Greedy Queen was runner up in the inaugural Jane Grigson Trust Award 2016. Annie Gray, after graduating from the University of Oxford, did her MA at the University of York and started her PhD (completed in Liverpool) where she is a research associate. Her core research interests include food and dining in public history (esp. c.1600-1960). Annie is the resident food historian on BBC Radio 4's The Kitchen Cabinet, presented Victorian Bakers on BBC2 in 2016, and is a regular contributor to BBC2's James Martin: Home Comforts. As a food historian on TV she appears with Lucy Worsley, Nigel Slater, Paul Hollywood, Heston Blumenthal and Jay Rayner, among others. Behind the scenes she advises on food and the social history around it, including for the BBC4's award-winning Calf's Head and Coffee. Annie Gray is appearing alongside A is for Arsenic author Kathryn Harkup.Read More
Imagine endangering others in a storm tossed boat off Mull because you can't hear the commands; imagine what it is like to spend 28 years of your life hearing and then 12 years deaf. In conversation with the broadcaster Sheena McDonald, Bella Bathurst will talk about her brilliant new book Sound and the moving personal journey behind it. Prize winning author of The Lighthouse Stevensons, Bella Bathurst went deaf in 1997 until, 12 years later, she discovered her condition was operable and her hearing was recovered. Bella reveals what that teaches you about listening and silence, music and noise and how much she began to hear with her eyes. She investigates the science behind deafness, the hearing loss among musicians, soldiers and factory workers, and the use of sign language as well as what the deaf know about these subjects that hearers don't.Read More
Annie Gray launches The Greedy Queen at Topping and Company ElyRead More
The Victorians' private compartments, rugs and foot warmers may have made way for air-conditioned carriages with airline-type seating, but parts of Britain's railway system remain the oldest in the world. Referring to his lauded book, The Railways, Simon reveals a tale of technological achievement, of shifting social classes, of safety and crime, of tourism and the changing world of work - showing us that to travel through Britain by train is to journey through time.Read More
In 1997, Bella Bathurst began to go deaf. Within a few months, she had lost half her hearing, and the rest was slipping away. For the next 12 years deafness shaped her life, until, in 2009, everything changed again. Sound draws on this extraordinary experience, exploring what it is like to lose your hearing and - as Bella eventually did - to get it back. What does that teach you about listening and silence, music and noise? She investigates the science behind deafness, hearing loss among musicians, soldiers and factory workers; sign language, and what the deaf know about these subjects that the hearing don't. Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.Read More
Chris Mullin at the Borders Book FestivalRead More
Come and sit down at the royal table and open the kitchen door to hear about what Victoria ate, and how she changed English food forever. Based on intriguing original research, historian Annie Gray will show the Queen's absolute reliance on food as well as delving below stairs for a proper look at the cooks who played such an important role.Read More

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