'If winter comes, can spring be far behind?' ― Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind / Get 10% off all books and free UK p&p. Offer applied at checkout


As part of the bicentenary celebrations of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Professor Sampson, author of the critically acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley, explores Romantic ideas of selfhood, modernity and biography through Mary Shelley's own life and work, revealing how these helped the teenager create Frankenstein.Read More
Following a year of radical protest and change for women in creative industries, Sarah Perry (author of The Essex Serpent, Waterstones Book of the Year 2016) is joined by Fiona Sampson (author of In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein) and Peggy Hughes (Programme Director, Writers' Centre Norwich), for a celebration of women and writing which focuses on three important anniversaries: 80 years of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, the 100th birthday of Muriel Spark, and the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. This event will be chaired by Caroline O'Donoghue.Read More
The diplomat and historian examines the current state and historical context of UK-Russia relations. From 1988 to 1992 Braithwaite was ambassador in Moscow, first of all to the Soviet Union and then to the Russian Federation. Subsequently he was the Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser and chairman of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee. His books include Moscow 1941, Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan and Armageddon and Paranoia. Chaired by Nik Gowing.Read More
Five speakers, 15 minutes each to blow your mind. A quick-fire exploration of the mysteries of our bodies and brains, from medical conditions so strange they leave doctors baffled to the gruesome acts of medieval times. Presented in association with 5x15. Hosted by Stephanie Cross.Read More
Historian and writer David Olusoga presented two of the BBC's landmark art series Civilisations in which he explored contact, trade, empire and race, from the Benin Bronzes to Otto Dix's nightmarish evocation of World War One trenches. He talks to BBC's Director of Arts, Jonty Claypole, about the challenges of making the series and why he hopes it will change lives and attitudes. Followed by Q&A.Read More
The compelling concept of transformation is both ancient (Ovid's Metamorphoses) and topical. Gavin Francis follows the phenomenal international success of Adventures in Human Being with Shapeshifters, a book about medicine and human change which could not be more timely in this transgender age. Mixing case studies with observations about history, art, literature, myth and magic, the book covers inevitable body changes, such as puberty, and self-imposed changes, such as cosmetic surgery and tattooing.Read More
Susie Orbach's In Therapy: The Unfolding Story, based on a very popular BBC radio series, explores the process of therapy through dramatised case studies. It reveals as much about what is going on in the mind of the person behind the couch as it does the emotional dilemmas of the clients. Susie Orbach's other books include the groundbreaking Fat is a Feminist Issue, What Do Women Want and Bodies. It is not for nothing that The New York Times referred to her as "Probably the most famous psychotherapist to have set up couch in Britain since Freud." She discusses what happens in therapy with Francesca Segal, author of The Awkward Age, a novel about contemporary family disruption.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 16, 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 for ever. Most astonishingly, it was while she was still a teenager that Mary composed her canonical novel Frankenstein, which was published exactly 200 years ago. In this fascinating dialogue with the past, Sampson sifts through letters, diaries and records to find the real woman behind the story. Published for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, this is a major new work of biography by the prize-winning writer and poet Fiona Sampson.Read More
Dripping with blood and gold, fetishised and tortured, gateway to earthly delights and point of contact with the divine, forcibly divided and powerful even beyond death, there was no territory more contested than the body in the medieval world. The art historian uncovers the complex and fascinating ways in which the people of the Middle Ages thought about, explored and experienced their physical selves.Read More
For 150 years, canals were the high-tech water machines driving the industrial revolution. Amazing feats of engineering, they carried the rural into the city and the urban into the countryside, and changed the lives of everyone. Then, just when their purpose was extinguished by modern transport, they were saved from extinction and repurposed as a 'slow highways' network, a peaceful and countrywide haven from our too-busy age. Today, there are more boats on the canals than in their Victorian heyday. Writer and slow adventurer Jasper Winn spent a year exploring Britain's waterways along 1,000 miles of 'wet roads and water streets' where he discovered a world of wildlife corridors, underground adventures, the hardware of heritage and history, new boating communities, endurance kayak races and remote towpaths. Chaired by Mark Skipworth.Read More
Devorah Baum shares the hilarious history of the Jewish joke in conversation with Peter Pomerantsev. It is as old as Abraham, and like the Jews themselves it has wandered over the world, learned countless new languages, worked with a range of different materials, been performed in front of some pretty hostile crowds, but still retained its own distinctive identity. So what is it that animates the Jewish joke? Why are Jews so often thought of as 'funny'? And how old can a joke get? Baum will be discussing her latest book, 'The Jewish Joke', which is a brilliant - and very funny - riff on Jewish jokes about what marks them apart from other jokes, why they are important to Jewish identity, and how they work. Ranging from self-deprecation to anti-Semitism, politics to sex, it looks at the past of Jewish joking and asks whether the Jewish joke has a future. With jokes from Lena Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as Freud and Marx (Groucho mostly), this is both a compendium and a commentary, light-hearted and deeply insightful.Read More

Sarah Brown at Explore York

Date: 31 May 2018

Join Sarah Brown, Director and Chief Executive of the York Glaziers Trust as she talks about the conservation of York Minster's Great East Window The conservation of York Minster's Great East Window of 1405-8 between 2011 and 2017 has been not only one of Europe's most ambitious conservation projects, but also an opportunity to explore one of Europe's greatest medieval masterpieces. The Great East Window has been described as 'England' Sistine chapel of stained glass', and this presentation will examine these claims, while revealing the work of the conservators who have safeguarded its future. Sarah Brown is a national expert on medieval ecclesiastical architecture, stained glass history and conservation, and is the author of many books and articles in the field. She is president of the British Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi and is the General Secretary of the International Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Stained Glass. Sarah works as a Senior Lecturer specialising in stained glass, its history and conservation within the History of Art Department at the University of York, and has since 2008 also been Director and Chief Executive of the York Glaziers Trust, responsible for the care of the stained glass of York Minster.Read More
Chris Mullin, author, journalist and former MP, a minister in three departments and chairman of the Home Affairs select committee. His books include three highly acclaimed volumes of diaries, A View from the Foothills, Decline and Fall and A Walk-On Part; also the novel A Very British Coup which was made into an award-winning television series. He is an accomplished public speaker, and has recently published a volume of memoirs entitled Hinterland.Read More
Rainforests are the lungs of our planet - regulators of the Earth's temperature and weather. They are also home to 50 per cent of the world's animals and plants - which for centuries have been the source of many of our key medicines. And yet we've all heard of their systematic destruction; the razing of trees to make way for cattle or plantations of oil palms, the disenfranchisement of indigenous peoples, and the corruption that leads to illegal logging and pollution. But the great environmentalist tells the other, inspirational story we've almost never heard: what is being done, and can be done in future, to protect the forests and the 1.6 billion people who depend upon them.Read More
We are delighted to welcome Gavin Francis back to St Andrews to discuss his new book Shapeshifters. His previous event, for Adventures in Human Being, was extremely popular, and this should be another great night. To be alive is to be in perpetual change: growing, healing, learning, aging. In Shapeshifters, award-winning writer and doctor Gavin Francis considers the transformations in mind and body that continue across the arc of human life. Medicine now has unprecedented power to alter our lives, but that power has limitations. As he helps patients face transformations both temporary and sustained, Francis draws on history, art, literature, myth and magic to show how the very essence of being human is change.Read More
Not only has some form of swearing existed since the earliest humans began to communicate, it has been shown to reduce physical pain and help stroke victims recover their language, benefiting us both physically and emotionally Timandra Harkness joins sweary scientist Emma Byrne to dig deeper into the fascinating facts behind F@*!, B^&!*CKS and S!%£ in this hilarious defence of our most cherished naughty words.Read More
Mary Beard is Britain's best known classicist. Widely admired for her scholarship and popular television programmes about the ancient world, she is also one of this country's most prominent feminists. By refusing to be cowed by the misogynistic trolls who have abused her on Twitter, she has become a heroine for our times. On June 7th Beard comes to the Intelligence Squared stage to talk about the themes of her No. 1 bestselling book Women and Power: A Manifesto. Examining misogyny's deep cultural roots, she will explore the ways in which women have been excluded from power for thousands of years. Take the decapitated, snake-haired head of Medusa in Greek mythology - seen by Freud as a castrator figure. It has been used recently to demonise Theresa May, Angela Merkel, and in the 2016 presidential campaign Hillary Clinton, who appeared in a meme as Medusa, with Trump holding her severed head aloft. The message? That the ultimate way to silence a woman is to kill her. Beard will also highlight a passage in Homer's Odyssey, some 3,000 years old, where Penelope's son tells her to shut up and go back to her spinning and weaving because speech is 'the business of men.' Muted women, men as aggressors: the injustices that the #MeToo movement is addressing are millennia old. So how do we combat misogyny in all its forms? Is the kind of collective action we have seen recently in the Women's March and #MeToo going to effect the change longed for by so many? Should women who seek political power simply accept the status quo and follow the male template, or do we need a radical of rethink of the entire nature of power and spoken authority? Join us as Beard explores these urgent questions, in conversation with lawyer and campaigner Miriam González and radical commentator Laurie Penny, with the Guardian's star interviewer Decca Aitkenhead in the chair.Read More
Join Writer in Residence for the Canal & River Trust & slow adventurer, Jasper Winn as he takes us along a thousand miles of 'wet roads and water streets' and talks about the heritage, history and communities of people who make Britain's canals so great. For 150 years, between the plod of packhorse trains and the arrival of the railways, canals were the high-tech water machine driving the industrial revolution. Amazing feats of engineering, they carried the rural into the city and the urban into the countryside and changed the lives of everyone. And then, just when their purpose was extinguished by modern transport, they were saved from extinction and repurposed as a 'slow highways' network, a peaceful and countrywide haven from our too-busy age. Today, there are more boats on the canals than in their Victorian heyday. Jasper spent a year exploring Britain's waterways on foot and by bike, in a kayak and on narrowboats. 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.Read More
Join David Runciman, Professor of Politics at Cambridge University and author of How Democracy Ends, and Sam Wilkin, senior risk advisor to Oxford Economics and author of History Repeating, as they discuss the extent to which we can use lessons of the past as a means to discern our future.Read More

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