Free Thinking

A Festival of Ideas for the Future

Matthew Sweet presents highlights from Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival in Liverpool.

Episodes

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20140408

Matthew Sweet presents an edition of Radio 3's arts and ideas programme.

Producer: Laura Thomas.

20140424

Samira Ahmed presents Radio 3's arts and ideas programme looking at the ownership of art created on the internet and on the street.

Producer: Georgia Catt.

20140507

Free Thinking continues its focus on catching up with previous New Generation Thinkers. The scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council nominates 10 young academics to work on turning their research into ideas for radio.

Presenter: Philip Dodd

Producer: Neil Trevithick.

20140513

Simon Armitage's The Last Days of Troy opens at the Royal Exchange Manchester starring Lily Cole. Matthew Sweet discusses this new version of Homer's Iliad and continues Free Thinking's focus on previous New Generation Thinkers.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

20140514

Philip Dodd presents an edition of Radio 3's programme about arts and ideas talking to a previous New Generation Thinker from the scheme run for young academics with the AHRC.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

20150106

Matthew Sweet with the arts and ideas programme

Producer: Craig Smith.

20150218

Canadian psychiatrist Norman Doidge is the author of The Brain's Way of Healing. He joins New Generation Thinker Christopher Harding and presenter Rana Mitter to explore Zen Buddhism and a shift in Western attitudes to Eastern traditions of healing.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

20150225

Philip Dodd looks at the value of the arts and discusses immigration.

Producer: Harry Parker.

20150603

Kate Grenville is one of Australia's leading authors whose novels have explored her country's often difficult history. She and Rana Mitter discuss past secrets and present concerns as she publishes a memoir One Life: My Mother's Story.

In her trilogy The Secret River, The Lieutenant, and Sarah Thornhill, Kate Grenville explored Australia's early history through three generations of a colonial family.

20151202

Philip Dodd and New Generation Thinker Christopher Harding review the new novel from Nobel prize winner Kenzaburo Oe.

20180620

Colin Grant, Hannah Lowe and Jay Bernard discuss writing about Windrush with Shahidha Bari

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Colin Grant, Hannah Lowe and Jay Bernard discuss writing about Windrush 70 years on with Shahidha Bari. Plus Alexandra Harris looks at trees in art as part of Radio 3's Into the Forest season of programmes and Jonathan Eato and Nduduzo Makhintini discuss their research into South African jazz -- one of the subjects in the British Academy Summer Showcase.

Colin Grant has written books including Bageye at the Wheel, A Smell of Burning, I & I Natural Mystics and Negro with a Hat.
Hannah Lowe's poems include Ormonde, a specially produced chapbook charting the voyage of the 1947 SS Ormonde from Jamaica to the UK through the lens of her Chinese-Jamaican immigrant father, a passenger on the boat.
Jay Bernard was awarded the 2018 Ted Hughes award for new poetry for Surge: Side A, an exploration of the 1981 New Cross fire.
More information about Windrush is at http://www.windrush70.com/

Alexandra Harris is the author of books including Weatherland, Virginia Woolf, Modernism on Sea and Romantic Moderns.
You can hear a Landmark discussion about Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway available on bbc.co.uk/FreeThinking and the The Royal Society of Literature is marking Dalloway Day at the British Library today.

The British Academy Summer Showcase - a new free festival of ideas - runs June 22nd - 23rd at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH . Opening times are 11am - 5pm with an evening opening on 22nd.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

""

Role Contributor
PresenterPhilip Dodd
Interviewed GuestKatherine Ryan
Interviewed GuestRobert Lepage
ProducerRobyn Read

""

Role Contributor
PresenterMatthew Sweet
Interviewed GuestAlvin Rakoff
Interviewed GuestRyan Danes
Interviewed GuestGraeme Burk
Interviewed GuestVahni Capildeo
Interviewed GuestLarissa Sansour
Interviewed GuestJonathan May
ProducerJacqueline Smith

""

Role Contributor
PresenterPhilip Dodd
ProducerEliane Glaser

""

Role Contributor
PresenterPhilip Dodd
Interviewed GuestSimon Schama
Interviewed GuestDevorah Baum
ProducerCraig Smith

""

Role Contributor
PresenterPhilip Dodd
Interviewed GuestGarry Kasparov
Interviewed GuestRichard Slocombe
Interviewed GuestAnna Grueztner Robins
Interviewed GuestJohn Keane
Interviewed GuestSimon Beard
Production CoordinatorTorquil MacLeod

""

Role Contributor
PresenterMatthew Sweet
Interviewed GuestPhilip Hoare
Interviewed GuestElizabeth-Jane Burnett
ProducerCraig Smith

""

Role Contributor
PresenterAnne McElvoy
Interviewed GuestJohn Crace
Interviewed GuestQuentin Letts
Interviewed GuestSimon Jenkins
Interviewed GuestJonathan Healey
Interviewed GuestEmma Butcher
Interviewed GuestRosalind Blakesley
Interviewed GuestCharlotte Hobson
ProducerTorquil MacLeod

""

Role Contributor
PresenterAnne McElvoy
Interviewed GuestAlex von Tunzelmann
Interviewed GuestChristopher Bannister
Interviewed GuestNandini Das
Interviewed GuestStephanie Pratt
Interviewed GuestElif Batuman
ProducerCraig Templeton Smith

""

Role Contributor
PresenterMatthew Sweet
Interviewed GuestIslam Issa
Interviewed GuestNatalie Haynes
ProducerFiona McLean

""

Role Contributor
PresenterPhilip Dodd
Interviewed GuestAlex Clark
ProducerTorquil MacLeod

""

Role Contributor
PresenterAnne McElvoy
Interviewed GuestPeter Mackay
Interviewed GuestDennis Duncan
Interviewed GuestRosie Stanbury
Interviewed GuestRebekah Shaman
ProducerJacqueline Smith

""

Role Contributor
PresenterCatherine Fletcher
Interviewed GuestJonathan Dollimore
ProducerCraig Smith

"canada 150: Robert Lepage, Katherine Ryan"20170627

Philip Dodd's guests are comedian Katherine Ryan and playwright/performer Robert Lepage.

Philip Dodd explores the influence of Canadian history and the difference between stand up and performing a one man show. Katherine Ryan is based in the UK and about to perform at summer festivals and in an autumn tour. The French Canadian playwright, performer and opera director Robert Lepage recently staged his autobiographical "memory play", 887, at the Barbican in London. He has directed a ring cycle for the Metropolitan Opera which was featured in a 2012 documentary Wagner's Dream and productions of Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress and has also worked on shows for Cirque Du Soleil.

http://www.katherineryan.co.uk/
http://lacaserne.net/index2.php/robertlepage/

Part of Radio 3's Canada 150: a week of programmes marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the nation. You can find links to concerts and other broadcasts on the Radio 3 website.

Producer: Robyn Read.

"diplomacy: Sir John Jenkins, Gabrielle Rifkind, Michael Burleigh, Dr Beyza Unal."20170919

Philip Dodd and guests explore the art of negotiation and discuss JT Rogers' play Oslo.

Philip Dodd and guests explore the art of negotiation and discuss JT Rogers' play Oslo which opens at the National Theatre this week. It draws on the experiences of Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul and her husband, social scientist Terje R√łd-Larsen who fixed secret meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Sir John Jenkins is a former diplomat and Executive Director of The International Institute for Strategic Studies - Middle East. He's been HM Consul-General in Israel, and Ambassador to Syria, Iraq and Saudia Arabia.

Gabrielle Rifkind is a senior consultant to the Middle East Programme, which she founded and directed until 2015. She is the Director of the Oxford Process, an independent preventive diplomacy initiative pioneered through her dialogue work with Oxford Research Group (ORG).

Michael Burleigh is a historian and author of books including A Cultural History of Terrorism; Small Wars, Far Away Places: The Genesis of the Modern World and Moral Combat: A History of World War Two.

Dr Beyza Unal is a research fellow with the International Security Department at Chatham House. She specializes in nuclear weapons policies and leads projects on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Dr Unal is also conducting research on cybersecurity.

Oslo plays at the National Theatre from 5 - 23 September. It opens in the West End at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 2 October to 30 December.

Producer: Eliane Glaser.

"jewish History, Jokes And Contemporary Identity. Michael Longley."20171011

Simon Schama and Devorah Baum join Philip Dodd. Plus Michael Longley on writing poetry.

Simon Schama and Devorah Baum join Philip Dodd for a conversation ranging from the expulsion of Jewish people from Spain in 1492 to Jewish jokes today. Plus, poet Michael Longley considers his preoccupations with The Great War, The Troubles and the natural world.

Belonging: The Story of the Jews 1492-1900 is the title of Simon Schama's latest book.

Devorah Baum teaches at the University of Southampton and has written Feeling Jewish (A Book for Just About Anyone) and The Jewish Joke.

Michael Longley is the recipient of the 2017 PEN Pinter Prize. His latest collection is called Angel Hill. The Pen Pinter prize is awarded annually to a writer from Britain, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter's Nobel Literature Prize speech, casts an 'unflinching, unswerving gaze upon the world' and shows a 'fierce intellectual determination...to define the real truth of our lives and our societies.'

Producer: Craig Templeton Smith.

"philip Hoare, Queer Icons, Cecil Beaton"20170705

Matthew Sweet and Philip Hoare discuss Cape Cod, literary history and Cecil Beaton.

Matthew Sweet talks about Cape Cod, literary history and the ocean with Philip Hoare, who chooses Cecil Beaton's image of Stephen Tennant as part of the BBC's Queer Icons project. Plus Poet Elizabeth-Jane Burnett on her collection Swims.

Philip Hoare's new book is called RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR

Queer Icons is a project to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in which 50 leading figures choose an LGBT artwork that is special to them. You can find more details on the Front Row website on BBC Radio 4 and in the Gay Britannia collection of programmes from radio and television.

The BFI is holding a series of Joe Orton events: Obscentities in Suburbia through August when Prick Up Your Ears is re-released in cinemas along with a Gross Indecency Season focusing on television and film made after the 1968 Act which partially decriminalised homosexuality.

Drama on 3 - a Joe Orton double bill: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08wn0lm

Producer: Craig Smith.

"political Sketch Writing, Emma Butcher On Branwell Bronte, Films About Partition"20170608

Anne McElvoy and guests explore the style of the election and the job of sketch writers.

Anne McElvoy looks at the style of the election campaign and how it's been reflected by political sketch writers with John Crace and Quentin Letts. As Common by DC Moore opens at London's National Theatre, Simon Jenkins and Jonathan Healey discuss the impact of the Enclosure Acts. New Generation Thinker Emma Butcher from the University of Hull marks 200 years since Branwell Bront√ę was born. The winner of this year's Pushkin House Russian Book Prize - Rosalind Blakesley - talks to Anne along with one of the judges, writer Charlotte Hobson.

Rosalind Blakesley's prize-winning book is The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia 1757-1881

You can find more information about events including talks and guided walks for the Branwell Bront√ę anniversary at the Bronte Parsonage Museum and as part of the Bradford Lit Fest where a statue is being unveiled.

https://www.bronte.org.uk/
https://www.bradfordlitfest.co.uk/

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their ideas into radio and television. You can find more on the Free Thinking website.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

(Main Image: (c) The Bronte Society).

"the Booker Prize, Mike Bartlett, Small Is Beautiful"20171017

Alex Clark talks to Philip Dodd from The Booker Prize ceremonies at London's Guildhall.

Dr Foster writer Mike Bartlett on his new play about a future UK. Alex Clark reports from the Booker prize giving. And a discussion about economist Leopold Kohr's phrase that "small is beautiful" and whether the 21st century will be a century of small nations.

The Man Booker Prize shortlist 2017 is :
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Autumn by Ali Smith

Mike Bartlett's play Albion runs at the Almeida Theatre in London from October 10th to November 24th.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

18th-century Crime And Punishment20140417

Philip Dodd explores eighteenth-century attitudes to the law, crime and punishment.

Norman S Poser, Emeritus Professor at Brooklyn Law School, is the author of Lord Mansfield: Justice in the Age of Reason.

Antonia Hodgson's first novel is called The Devil in the Marshalsea.

Dr Lucy Powell is a former BBC Radio 3 and AHRC New Generation Thinker.

Geoffrey Robertson QC is a civil liberties barrister and author.

Producer: Harry Parker.

18th-century Power Politics20140415

Anne McElvoy talks to The Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures Desmond Shawe-Taylor and historians Amanda Foreman, Stella Tillyard and Jeremy Black about 18th century monarchy and power.

Amanda Foreman is the author of books including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire.

Jeremy Black's publications include: Debating Foreign Policy in Eighteenth Century Britain and Parliament, and Foreign Policy in Eighteenth Century Britain.

Stella Tillyard is an author of a novel, the Tides of War, set in the Peninsular War and historical biography of the Georgian period including the three sisters of George III, the 4 daughters of the Duke of Richmond and the Irish revolutionary, Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

Desmond Shawe-Taylor has written widely on art, including Georgian portraiture, and is the curator of the exhibition 'The First Georgians, Art and Monarchy 1714 -1760' running at the Queen's Gallery Buckingham Palace from the 11th April.

Producer: Harry Parker.

2014 Edinburgh Festival: Culloden20140915

Peter Watkins' film Culloden is 50, and in front of an audience at the Edinburgh Festival, Matthew Sweet discusses its influence on portrayals of Scotland's Highland identity in book and film with Diana Gabaldon, author of the best-selling Outlander series, historian Tom Devine and media expert John Cook.

They'll explore how Culloden was received in 1964 and the way it gave birth to the television form of docu-drama and shaped the early development of Dr Who. Matthew Sweet will also be asking why the emotional imagining of Culloden as National Shrine has proved so difficult to break down despite the best efforts of Scotland's historians and heritage industry and whether Scotland's misty myths will ever be redrawn in the global consciousness.

2015 Art Fund Prize For Museum Of The Year Debate20150702

Anne McElvoy chairs a debate about museums and making history and heritage come alive recorded in front of an audience at Tate Modern. The panellists are all directors and curators from the 6 museums shortlisted for 2015 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year.

The panellists are: Maria Balshaw Director, The Whitworth; Deborah Shaw, Head of Creative Programming and Interpretation, HM Tower of London; Diane Lees Director General, IWM London; Hugh Mulholland, Lead Curator, The MAC Belfast; Simon Murray Senior Director of Strategy, Curatorship and External Affairs, National Trust and Paul Smith Director, Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

2015 Oscar Nominations, Russell T Davies20150115

Matthew Sweet looks at today's announcement of this year's Oscar nominations focusing on the politics of the foreign film awards with critics Ian Christie and Karen Krizanovich.

TV dramatist Russell T Davies discusses his new projects for Channel 4, E4 and 4OD Cucumber, Banana, Tofu which explore the passions and pitfalls of 21st century gay life

Cucumber is a drama which screens Thursdays on Channel 4 at 9pm from Jan 22nd for 3 weeks

Banana screens Thursdays on E4 at 10pm from Jan 22nd for 3 weeks

Tofu is an online documentary series available on 4OD

Producer: Craig Smith.

A Brexit Reading List20161213

Classicist Professor Edith Hall, New Generation Thinker Chris Kissane and Dr Alan Mendoza from the Henry Jackson Society join Matthew Sweet to consider what might be on a reading list to prepare for a post Brexit world.

Producer:Luke Mulhall.

A Literary Salon.20171214

With guests Malika Booker, Neil Brand, Katherine Cooper, David Aaronovitch and Jake Arnott

No need to RSVP just turn up and tune in to Free Thinking's end of year salon. Matthew Sweet is our host and he's promising wit and wisdom as well as a host of guests: Jake Arnott, Malika Booker, Neil Brand, David Aaronovitch and Katherine Cooper.

Malika Booker co-founded Malika's Poetry Kitchen in 2001 to create a nourishing and encouraging community of writers dedicated to the development of their writing.She is currently the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at the University of Leeds. Her first poetry collection was called Pepper Seed and she also writes dramas.
Jake Arnott is the author of six novels including The Long Firm and The Fatal Tree. He took part in the tenth anniversary tour of the Polari LGBT literary salon.
Dr Katherine Cooper teaches at the University of East Anglia and is researching the PEN archive and gatherings involving authors including H.G.Wells, Graham Greene and Margaret Storm Jameson. She is a BBC Radio 3 and AHRC New Generation Thinker.
Neil Brand is a composer, dramatist and author and regular silent film accompanist at the BFI National Film Theatre and at the Barbican in London.
David Aaronovitch is a journalist, broadcaster and author of books including his memoir Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists;

Producer: Zahid Warley

Main image: Literary salon - illustration of Victor Hugo being introduced to Mme Recamier by Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand. Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images.

A Sentimental Journey20180301

Laurence Sterne's subjective travel book was published in 1768. Mary Newbould and Duncan Large discuss its influence. Plus novelist Philip Hensher on his new book The Friendly Ones and writing fiction about neighbourliness, families and the Bangladesh Liberation War. Walker Nick Hunt discusses his journeys following the pathways taken by European winds such as the Mistral and the Foehn and the conversations he had about nationalism, immigration and myths. Presented by New Generation Thinker Se√°n Williams.

The Friendly Ones by Philip Hensher is published on March 8th.
Nick Hunt's book Where the Wild Winds Are: Walking Europe's Winds from the Pennines to Provence is out now.

'Alas, Poor Yorick!': A Sterne 250-Year Anniversary Conference takes place at Cambridge 18 - 21 March and an Essay Collection is being published called 'A Legacy to the World': New Approaches to Laurence Sterne's 'A Sentimental Journey' and other Works to be edited by W.B Gerard, Paul Goring, and M-C. Newbould.
A new edition of A Sentimental Journey, illustrated by Martin Rowson, has been published by the Laurence Sterne Trust

An evening of music and readings to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the funeral of Laurence Sterne in the church where the original service took place.
St George's, Hanover Square, London W1S 1FX on 22 March 2018 features David Owen Norris, Susanne Heinrich, The Hilliard Ensemble, Patrick Hughes, Carmen Troncoso et al.

Producer: Robyn Read

(Image: Laurence Sterne circa 1760: English divine and writer, Laurence Sterne (1713 - 1768). Original Artwork: Engraved from a portrait by Joshua Reynolds. Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images).

A World View Of Shakespeare20150416

Anne McElvoy presents a world view of Shakespeare to mark his birthday.

Global Shakespeare is a new catchword at UK institutions at home and abroad. But does it mean good cultural practice or new cultural imperialism? The Globe Theatre is currently touring Hamlet to every country in the world, and £1.5 million has been granted by the DCMS to the RSC to translate Shakespeare's complete works into Chinese. A further £300,000 of public money will be given to tour these translations. According to Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, the move is aimed at 'improving economic links with China and encouraging more tourists to visit the home of Shakespeare.' But at Queen Mary University of London and Warwick University, a new Global Shakespeare department is being launched. To them, Shakespeare belongs to no single language, culture or people; 'Shakespeare' is not the UK's to export: in every country his works are translated in, they take on a unique life that has nothing to do with 'Britishness'.

Anne McElvoy hosts a Free Thinking debate which goes to the heart of what we understand 'Shakespeare' to mean worldwide.

Guests include Preti Taneja, Global Shakespeare Research Fellow and a Radio 3 New Generation Thinker.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Acting Arthur Miller, Free Speech On Campus20151007

Antony Sher and the stars of next Sunday's Drama on 3: Death of a Salesman, Zo√ę Wanamaker and David Suchet, discuss acting Arthur Miller with Philip Dodd. Also, are university campuses becoming places where free speech and debate is difficult?

Producer: Ella-Mai Robey.

Akram Khan, Images Of Witchcraft, Eileen Atkins In The Witch Of Edmonton20141030

Eileen Atkins performs at the RSC in The Witch of Edmonton - Professor Diane Purkiss reviews. Deanna Petherbridge has curated an exhibition at the British Museum of prints showing witches.

Choreographer Akram Khan talks to Anne McElvoy about curating a festival at the Lowry, the relationship between dance and visual art and his interest in flamenco. And a look at the impact of big data and algorithms on the business of recruitment.

The Witch of Edmonton is directed by Gregory Doran and performed as part of the repertoire by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford until November 29th.

Witches and Wicked Bodies is a free display at the British Museum showing until January 11th.

Diane Purkiss is the author of The Witch in History: Early Modern and Twentieth Century Representations published by Routledge.

Akram Khan: One Side to The Other is at The Lowry, Salford from November 15th to February 1st.

Akram Khan and Israel Galvan perform the new dance work Torobaka - which fuses kathak and flamenco -at Sadlers Wells November 3rd - 8th

Akram Khan performs Sacred Monsters with Sylvie Guillem at Sadlers Wells November 25th - 29th.

Producer: Craig Templeton Smith.

Alaa Al-aswany20160121

Anne McElvoy looks at what happened to the Arab Spring five years on, talking to Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany - whose new novel is called The Automobile Club of Egypt - and to satirist and critic Karl Sharro. They will be joined by Lebanese actress Sahar Assaf talking about her recent performance in Dario Fo and Franca Rame's monologue An Arab Woman Speaks.

Also in the programme, Owen Hatherley discusses his latest book The Ministry of Nostalgia.

And, lexicographer Tony Thorne and writer Hannah Jane Parkinson discuss how social media is affecting language.

Alain Mabanckou, Joseph Stiglitz20150520

Novelist Alain Mabanckou joins Philip Dodd to reflect on life in France, USA and the Republic of Congo. He's one of the authors nominated for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 and his books have been translated into 15 languages. His memoir is called The Lights of Pointe-Noire and in December he published Letter to Jimmy - a fictional consideration of the life and writings of James Baldwin.

Joseph Stiglitz was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001. His new book called The Great Divide explores income inequality.

Alan Clarke's Tv Career20160322

Ahead of a major retrospective at the British Film Institute, Matthew Sweet shines a light on the career of director Alan Clarke with filmmaker Clio Barnard, his daughter Molly Clarke, and actor Phil Davis, who appeared in The Firm alongside Gary Oldman.

Ken Loach pays tribute to Barry Hines, the Yorkshire writer behind one of his most memorable films, Kes.

The American cartoonist Daniel Clowes talks about his latest graphic novel, Patience.

--

The Alan Clarke BFI retrospective runs from March 28th to April 30th and includes the newly discovered director's cut of The Firm, David Bowie in Baal, three previously-thought-lost TV episodes from 1967-68 and footage from an unfinished documentary project. It includes screenings and events at London's South Bank, at 9 mediatheques around the UK and DVD releases.

Patience by Daniel Clowes is out now.

Producer: Craig Templeton Smith.

Alan Hollinghurst20171004

talks to Anne McElvoy about his new novel The Sparsholt Affair.

Alan Hollinghurst talks to Anne McElvoy and a Proms Extra audience about his new novel The Sparsholt Affair, which traces a family and changing attitudes to sexuality across generations. It's the sixth novel from the author whose Booker Prize winning The Line of Beauty was dramatised for TV and who began his literary career with The Swimming Pool Library published in 1988.

Recorded last month as a Proms Extra event with an audience at Imperial College.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Alberto Manguel, Alice In Wonderland, Fashionable Victorian Writers20150428

Matthew Sweet interviews Alberto Manguel about his new book, Curiosity, in which he tracks his life through the reading that has mapped his way, looking at Thomas Aquinas, David Hume, Lewis Carroll and Dante.

As Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland turns 150 and a new exhibition opens at the Museum of Childhood in London, New Generation Thinker Naomi Paxton, and curator Kiera Vaclavik, consider the cultural impact of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

And as Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd gets another big screen outing in a version starring Carey Mulligan, we ponder the Victorian writers who fall in and out of fashion in the modern era.

Producer: Craig Templeton Smith.

All About Eve: Stories Of The Fall; Pregancy And Aphrodisiacs20171207

Catherine Fletcher with Stephen Greenblatt, Islam Issa, Jennifer Evans and Sara Read.

Catherine Fletcher talks to Professor Stephen Greenblatt about the Adam and Eve story in the Christian tradition; to Islam Issa about Islam's version which tells a rather more gender-equality story of the original first couple.
Jennifer Evans and Sara Read reveal how the story impacted on mothers and would-be mothers over centuries through their reading of 16th and 17th century medical textbooks. Garlic was one interesting diagnostic of pregnancy while menstrual periods played their part in murder trials.

Professor Stephen Greenblatt is the author of The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve

Islam Issa is a New Generation Thinker and author of Milton in the Arab-Muslim World.

Jennifer Evans is a director of the Perceptions of Pregnancy research network, author of Aphrodisiacs, Fertility and Medicine in early modern England and editor of Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century.

Sara Read is author of Maids, Wives, Widows: Exploring Early Modern Women's Lives, 1540-1740 ; Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 co-authored with Jennifer Evans. (2017)

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Image: Imperial Cathedral Of Speyer Paintings, Expulsion From Eden. Photo credit: BSIP / UIG via Getty Images.

America: Inequality & Race20180501

Jesmyn Ward, John Edgar Wideman and Sarah Churchwell talk to Christopher Harding.

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Jesmyn Ward - author of Sing, Unburied Sing talks to Christopher Harding about editing a collection of essays called The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race and about the depictions of family life and poverty and the influence of Greek drama on her prize winning novels. Sarah Churchwell traces the history of the use and meaning of the phrases 'the American Dream' and 'America First'. John Edgar Wideman explains what he was seeking to do by blurring fact and fiction in his new short story collection American Histories.

Jesmyn Ward's novels include Salvage the Bones, Where the Line Bleeds and Sing, Unburied Sing - and a memoir called Men We Reaped. She has received a MacArthur Genius Grant and won two National Book Awards for Fiction. She has edited a collection of Essays called The Fire This Time which takes its inspiration from James Baldwin's 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time.

Professor Sarah Churchwell is the author of books including Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby and Behold America: A History of America First and the American Dream

John Edgar Wideman's work includes the novels The Cattle Killing and Philadelphia Fire and the memoir Brothers and Keepers. His new collection of short stories - American Histories - weaves real characters including Frederick Douglass and Jean-Michel Basquiat into imaginary narratives.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

American Power? Suzan-lori Parks, Gary Younge, Abstract Expressionism20160921

Pulitzer prize winning American dramatist Suzan-Lori Parks talks to Philip Dodd about putting on stage the story of a slave fighting against those seeking to abolish slavery. Journalist Gary Younge discusses American violence, gun culture and the Black Lives Matter movement. Plus Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy - how does this art which was used by the CIA to promote American power look today ?

Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 and 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks is at the Royal Court Theatre in London 15 Sep - 22 Oct

Abstract Expressionism is on show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London from September 24th to January 2nd.

Gary Younge's book is called Another Day In The Death of America

Frances Stonor Saunders is the author of Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War

William Boyd is the author of many novels including one which presents a fictional biography Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960

(Image: Suzan-Lori Parks / Credit: Helen Murray).

American Slavery, The Occult And Modern Politics20180531

Iraq veteran and novelist Kevin Powers and American writer Gary Lachman with Matthew Sweet

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Iraq vet and novelist Kevin Powers, and American writer Gary Lachman with Matthew Sweet. Kevin Powers' prize winning novel The Yellow Birds explored the experience of soldiers and their lack of control. His new novel looks at the American Civil War different attitudes towards slavery.
Gary Lachman discusses non-rational or pre-Enlightenment thinking in contemporary politics and culture as he publishes his latest book called Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

American slavery, the occult and modern politics, jobs for psychopaths20180531

Iraq vet and novelist Kevin Powers, Gary Lachman, and the careers picked by psychopaths.

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Iraq vet and novelist Kevin Powers, the careers picked by psychopaths, and American writer Gary Lachman join Matthew Sweet.

Kevin Powers' prize winning novel The Yellow Birds explored the experience of soldiers and their lack of control. His new novel A Shout in the Ruins looks at the long shadows cast by the American Civil War and slavery.

Gary Lachman discusses non-rational or pre-Enlightenment thinking in contemporary politics and culture as he publishes his latest book called Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump. He is joined by Professor Christine Ferguson from Stirling University who researches the influence of the occult on popular culture and politics in the UK.

Psychologist Kevin Dutton and broadcaster and psychotherapist Lucy Beresford
discuss the idea that psychopaths are drawn to certain careers, including radio journalism.

Kevin Dutton's books include The Wisdom of Psychopaths. Lucy Beresford is the host of LBC's Sex and Relationships phone-in show.

Amy Chua, Versailles20140227

Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld talk to Anne McElvoy about the impact of education, culture and religion on success. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was a parenting memoir which brought Amy Chua criticism and even death threats from people objecting to her disciplinarian attitude to motherhood.

Her new book, written with her husband, is called The Triple Package: What Really Determines Success.

Versailles, Peter Gill's new play at the Donmar Theatre in London takes its inspiration from the peace negotiations at the end of the First World War. We have a first night review.

Producer: Neil Trevithick.

Anders Lustgarten, Saki Stories, Riad Sattouf, Guy Longworth20160406

Rana Mitter talks to playwright Anders Lustgarten whose latest work is set in a small village in China, Rotten Peach Village, over 60 years. Communism arrives and the villagers embrace it. Lustgarten has also written a new play partly inspired by the painter Caravaggio which opens at the RSC at the end of this year. Also a consideration of the satirical short stories about Edwardian England published by Saki - the pen name of Scottish author Hector Hugh Munro (1870 - 1916). Rana is joined by the novelist Naomi Alderman and Saki expert Nick Freeman. Cartoonist Riad Sattouf describes his graphic novel memoir, The Arab of the Future. And Rana gets to grip with what we could possibly mean by a thing, with philosopher Guy Longworth

The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie by Anders Lustgarten runs at the Arcola Theatre in London 7 - 30 April before opening the 10th High Tide festival of new writing in Suffolk in September.

The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf is out now.

Andrew O'hagan: Eddie Marsan: John Singer Sargent20150203

Andrew O'Hagan's new novel The Illuminations depicts a once famous photographer suffering from Alzheimers and her grandson who is a soldier in Afghanistan. He talks to Matthew Sweet about identity, capturing memories and the impact of war.

In the film Still Life Eddie Marsan plays a council worker who searches for the next of kin when someone is found dead and alone in a house. Eddie Marsan talks about creating this character and how much we know about a person's identity.

Still Life certificate 12A is showing at cinemas in key cities around the UK.

Critic Charlotte Mullins considers artists' obsession with capturing their image and that of their friends, as the National Portrait Gallery hosts a series of paintings by John Singer Sargent documenting his celebrity acquaintances.

Sargent: Portrait of Artists and Friends runs at the National Portrait Gallery in London from 12th Feb to 25th May curated by Richard Ormond the co-author of John Singer Sargent's catalogue raisonné.

Angels In America, Salom„©, Queer British Art.20170510

Philip Dodd looks at desire and politics as Angels in America runs at the National Theatre

Playwright Mark Ravenhill and critic Matt Wolf debate desire and politics with Philip Dodd as Tony Kushner's Angels in America is revived at the National Theatre in London. Writer and theatre director Ya√ęl Farber explains her vision of the story of Salom√© as one set in an occupied desert country where a radical is on hunger strike and a girl's dance is at the centre of a revolution. Peggy Reynolds and Matt Cook discuss the exhibition Queer British Art 1861-9167.

Salomé is at the National Theatre from May 2nd to July 15th with an NT live broadcast around the UK on June 22nd.
Angels in America: part one Millennium Approaches is an NT live broadcast on July 20th and runs in rep until August 19th.
Angels in America: part two Perstroika is an NT live broadcast on July 27th and runs in rep until August 19th.
Queer British Art 1861-9167 runs at Tate Britain until October 1st 2017.
A Gay History of Britain: Love and Sex Between Men Since the Middle Ages by Matt Cook is out now.

Tony Kushner's drama Caroline, or Change is at the Chichester Theatre until June 3rd in a production starring Sharon D. Clarke

The Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth opens Refracted: Collection Highlights, which has been co-curated with members of the local LGBT+ community May 13th which runs until September 8th and includes a photograhy exhibition opening in August.

Desire Love Identity: exploring LGBTQ histories is a free display in Room 69a which runs at the British Museum until October 15th.

Producer: Fiona McLean

(Image: Andrew Garfield (Prior) in Angels in America - Millennium Approaches © Helen Maybanks)

Angels In America. Salom„©20170510
Anger20160302

In the year that John Osborne's Look Back In Anger turns 60 Philip Dodd considers the eruption of rage in the recent politics of the US and India with Jonah Goldberg, Kit Davis, Pankaj Mishra and Sunil Khilnani.

Pause for a moment and you realise its impossible to ignore the Black Lives Matter protests or the urgent polemics of the writer and activist, Ta-Nehisi Coates whose new book passionately angry book about race in the US, The Beautiful Struggle, comes out this week; it's difficult too to turn a blind eye to the rearguard action that's being fought by Indian writers and intellectuals such as Arundhati Roy, targeted by Hindu nationalists determined to seize control of the political agenda on the Subcontinent - whose angry with whom and why; and what about the populist anger that seems to be propelling Donald Trump towards the Republican presidential nomination and the White House. Join Philip and his guests as they search for the answers.

Anger And Friendships With Pankaj Mishra And Elif Shafak20170201

The Indian writer and essayist, Pankaj Mishra believes we are living in an age of unprecedented anger - one that liberal rationalists struggle to comprehend. He joins Philip Dodd to consider the long term impact of these fervent times.

Elif Shafak talks about her latest novel, Three Daughters of Eve, which looks at love, friendship and religion set in Oxford and Istanbul.

They are joined in the Free Thinking studio by Douglas Murray, founder of the centre for social cohesion and on a line from USA, Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs, a new magazine backing Trumpism.

Producer: Craig Templeton Smith

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak is published on the 2nd of February.

Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra is published on the 7th of February.

Animals And Anthropomorphism20140715

Matthew Sweet looks at humans and animals. Novelist Karen Joy Fowler discusses her book We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.

Anna Pavord: Gardens In Art, University20160128

Gardening writer Ann Pavord visits the Royal Academy exhibition Painting the Modern Garden and talks to Anne McElvoy about her new book Landskipping. New Generation Thinker Peter Mackay joins the conversation about landscapes and - as Radio 3 marks the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow with a focus on folk - he explores the way folk traditions have fed into Scottish poetry.

As arguments about whether the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford should be allowed to remain in place continue to divide students and alumni, journalist Nick Cohen and former Rector of Exeter College, Oxford Dame Frances Cairncross discuss how present day funding of colleges and universities can also be a contentious issue.

New Generation Thinker Peter Mackay explores the contrasting folk traditions in Irish and Scottish poetry as Radio 3 begins a weekend exploring folk connections.

Anna Pavord's Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places is out now.

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse runs at the Royal Academy in London from January 30th to April 20th.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Main Image: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, c1880 - the gardens were designed by Capability Brown. Taken from: A Series of Picturesque Views of Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, edited by Reverend FO Morris, Volume I, William Mackenzie, London, c1880. Wood-engraved plates after paintings by Benjamin Fawcett and Alexander Francis Lydon.

Anne Enright, Christopher Hampton On Florian Zeller20150507

Anne Enright, Ireland's first Laureate for Fiction, discusses her new novel The Green Road with Anne McElvoy. In 2007 she won the Man Booker Prize for The Gathering.

Christopher Hampton explains his approach to translating the plays of contemporary French dramatist Florian Zeller whose play The Mother won the Moliere prize in 2011.

The Theatre Royal Bath stages the UK premiere of The Mother from May 21st to June 20th. And the Theatre Royal production of The Father is being performed at The Tricycle Theatre in London from May 7th to June 13th.

Producer: Ella-Mai Robey.

Anne Mcelvoy20150430

is joined by the Booker Prize-winning writer Julian Barnes to discuss the painters he admires, and his new collection of essays on 19th and 20th century artists including Manet, Cézanne, Fantin-Latour, Magritte, Howard Hodgkin and Lucian Freud.

Keeping An Eye Open: Essays on Art by Julian Barnes is published on 7 May 2015

Producer: Ella-mai Robey

Image: Julian Barnes

Photo Credit: Joanna Briscoe.

Antigone Starring Juliette Binoche, Oliver Taplin, Asne Seierstad On Breivik20150305

Anne McElvoy discusses the poet Anne Carson's version of Antigone starring Juliette Binoche at the Barbican with Professor Oliver Taplin - who has produced his own new translations of Sophocles' tragedies. Also playwright Roy Williams has written a modern day version of Antigone.

Norwegian journalis √Ösne Seierstad authored The Bookseller of Kabul. For her new book she has talked to the family of Anders Breivik, to his family and to the families of his victims on the island of Utoya.

Antigone starring Juliette Binoche is at the Barbican Theatre from March 4th - 28th.

Radio 3's Sunday Drama on March 8th is Electra - starring Kristin Scott Thomas - in a version by Frank McGuiness which was staged at the Old Vic Theatre.

Roy Williams' version of Antigone performed by Pilot Theatre and co-commissioned by Derby Theatre runs at London's Stratford East Theatre from 24th February to March 14th.

Oliver Taplin's Sophocles: Four Tragedies is published later this March.

One of Us by √Ösne Seierstad is out now.

Producer: Zahid Warley

Photo: Ivo van Hove, Antigone, Juliette Binoche, photocredit Jan Versweyveld.

Antony Sher20150506

Philip Dodd in extended conversation with the actor Antony Sher whose recent roles include Willy Loman and Falstaff.

Sher has just published his account of playing Falstaff in Gregory Doran's 2014 RSC production of the two parts of Henry IV - Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries.

Another RSC production, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, also directed by Doran, is about to transfer from Stratford to the Noel Coward Theatre in London, with Sher in the role of Willy Loman.

Producer: Torquil Macleod

Image: Antony Sher in Death of a Salesman

Photo Credit: Ellie Kurttz.

Aphra Behn, 1066 And The South Coast, Mark Thompson20160913

Playwright, poet, spy. Anne McElvoy discusses Aphra Behn with Professor Elaine Hobby and director Loveday Ingram who has given Behn's play The Rover a South American carnival setting at the RSC. Plus Iain Sinclair and Professor David Bates on the events of 1066 which changed the course of English history. And an interview with Mark Thompson, former Director General of the BBC and current Chief Executive Officer of The New York Times Company.

The Rover runs in rep at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon from September 8th until February 11th 2017.

The Root 1066 festival runs until October 16th at a variety of venues. http://www.1066contemporary.com/

Mark Thompson is the author of Enough Said: What's Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Archaelogy: Alexandra Sofroniew, Damian Robinson, Raimund Karl, Susan Greaney20160609

As two major archaeological exhibitions open in the UK featuring discoveries from underwater excavations off Egypt and Sicily, Rana Mitter hears from historian and archaeologist, Alexandra Sofroniew, exhibition curator of Storms, War and Shipwrecks at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum about a British pioneer of underwater excavations, Honor Frost, and discusses why underwater sites make the difficulties and challenges worthwhile with Damian Robinson, Director of Centre for Maritime Archaeology at Oxford University and contributing archaeologist to the British Museum's Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds.

Joining them to discuss the changing story of archaeology itself in this country and abroad, Raimund Karl, Professor of Archaeology and Heritage at Bangor University who has done two continent-wide surveys on the state of the profession in Europe while continuing to dig, study and develop the ever changing story of the Celts, and Susan Greaney, who works for English Heritage presenting interpretations of sites from Stonehenge to Tintagel to the public when she's not digging in Orkney and pursuing her phd on Neolithic ceremonial complexes.

Storms, War and Shipwrecks: Treasures from the Sicilian Seas is at the Ashmolean Museum 21 June 2016 - 25 September 2016

Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds is at the British Museum from May 19th - November 27th 2016.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Guests: Alexandra Sofroniew, exhibition curator Storms, War and Shipwrecks, Ashmolean Museum

Damian Robinson, Director, Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology

Raimund Karl, Professor Archaeology and Heritage, Bangor University

Susan Greaney, English Heritage

Main image: A warship ram raised from the seabed (detail) (c/o the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford - (c) RPM Nautical Foundation).

Are We Living Through A New 18th Century?20140410

If Mrs Thatcher thought she was living again through Victorian England, we are now living through the eighteenth century. This special edition of Free Thinking explores London as the centre of the world then and now, financial bubbles bursting then and now, and the lust for consumption then and now, whether of bodies or bodices.

Philip Dodd brings together the MP and author Kwasi Kwarteng, historians Helen Berry, Jerry White and AN Wilson and playwright April De Angelis for a discussion which is part of BBC Radio 3's season of programming Eighteenth Century Britain: Majesty, Music and Mischief.

Kwasi Kwarteng's books include Ghosts of Empire and War and Gold

AN Wilson is a newspaper columnist and the author of London A Short History and a series of histories of England including Our Times.

Helen Berry is Professor of British History at Newcastle University and the author of The Castrato and His Wife.

Jerry White has spent 15 years writing a trilogy of books about London including his most recent London In The Eighteenth Century. He is Visiting Professor of London History at Birkbeck, The University of London.

April De Angelis has written plays including Jumpy, Gastronauts, Catch and A Laughing Matter.

Produced by Harry Parker.

Ariana Huffington And Well Being20140529

Arianna Huffington, the founder of the online magazine The Huffington Post, talks to Anne McElvoy about the quality of life beyond money and power. Her book Thrive outlines a new way of defining success which she calls The Third Metric. She also discusses American liberalism and the political divide in the USA.

Producer: Harry Parker.

Art In The Age Of Black Power, History Of Racist Ideas In Us20170712

Including the art of the black power movement and the history of racist ideas in the US.

Tate Modern offers a retrospective on the Art of the Black Power Movement in America and explores how 'Black Art' was defined by artists across the United States and its interplay with the civil rights movement. Rana Mitter is joined by Gaylene Gould, writer and artist and Head of Cinema and Events at the BFI, who reviews the 'Soul of A Nation' exhibition.
Rana is also joined by the reggae poet and recording artist, Linton Kwesi Johnson "Writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon"', as well as the film director H O Nazareth to talk about the artists and intellectuals who made up the British Black Panther leadership. Also joining in the conversation, Sandeep Parmar, a prize-winning poet and New Generation Thinker who argues that a new generation of critics and reviewers must be found to highlight the work of poets of colour in the UK.
Also, Rana Mitter talks to intellectual historian Ibram X Kendi as his award-winning account of racist ideas in the United States comes out in the UK.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at London's Tate Modern 12/07/2017 - 22/10/2017

Pres: Rana Mitter
Guests: Linton Kwesi Johnson
Gaylene Gould
H O Nazareth
Sandeep Parmar 'Eidolon', Winner of the inaugural Ledbury Forte Prize for Second Collections, is out now.
Ibram X Kendi 'Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America' is out now.

Tate Modern offers a retrospective on the Art of the Black Power Movement in America and explores how 'Black Art' was defined by artists across the United States and its interplay with the civil rights movement. Rana Mitter is joined by Gaylene Gould, writer and artist and Head of Cinema and Events at the BFI, who reviews the 'Soul of A Nation' exhibition.
Rana is also joined by the reggae poet and recording artist, Linton Kwesi Johnson "Writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon"', as well as the film director H O Nazareth to talk about the artists and intellectuals who made up the British Black Panther leadership. Also joining in the conversation, Sandeep Parmar, a prize-winning poet and New Generation Thinker who argues that a new generation of critics and reviewers must be found to highlight the work of poets of colour in the UK.
Also, Rana Mitter talks to intellectual historian Ibram X Kendi as his award-winning account of racist ideas in the United States comes out in the UK.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at London's Tate Modern 12/07/2017 - 22/10/2017

Pres: Rana Mitter
Guests: Linton Kwesi Johnson
Gaylene Gould
H O Nazareth
Sandeep Parmar 'Eidolon', Winner of the inaugural Ledbury Forte Prize for Second Collections, is out now.
Ibram X Kendi 'Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America' is out now.

Photo: Ibram X Kendi Credit: Penguin Random House.

Art Spiegelman, Marina Abramovic, American Pastoral20161110

Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer prize-winning Maus - a father-son memoir about the Holocaust drawn with cats and mice - is one of the classics of graphic novels. He's now collaborating with the Jazz composer Phillip Johnston on a show that puts music alongside the images. Naomi Alderman talks to them and to the performance artist Marina Abramovic who's written a memoir. Plus Sarah Churchwell watches a film version of Philip Roth's American Pastoral which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. Ewan McGregor directs and stars as a man whose life starts to fall apart as his daughter commits an act of political terrorism.

Wordless! Art Spiegelman + Phillip Johnston is at the Barbican in London on 11 November 2016 / 19:30

It's part of the London Jazz Festival. You can find more events on BBC Radio 3 and on the BBC Music Jazz pop-up station which will run from 10am on Thursday 10th November until 10am on Monday 14th November on digital radio, online and the iPlayer Radio app

Marina Abramovic's memoir is called Walk Through Walls.

American Pastoral is out in cinemas across the UK

Producer: Zahid Warley.

(Image: Art Spiegelman, Phillip Johnston and Band / Credit: Maggie Moore).

Artes Mundi Prize, Harriet Walter, Amitav Ghosh, Edmund Richardson20161020

Artes Mundi was established in 2003 as a biennial contemporary visual arts initiative - the poet, author and playwright Owen Sheers and Catherine Fletcher, historian and New Generation Thinker, report back on the exhibition opening in Cardiff this week with work by the chosen artists including Britain's John Akomfrah, N√°stio Mosquito and Bedwyr Williams.

Amitav Ghosh argues that fiction writers need to be bolder in tackling the big themes of today's world and why thinking about Climate Change is proving a challenge.

Harriet Walter has played Brutus and the King in Phyllida Lloyd's all-female Shakespeare productions of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Henry IV; now she takes on Prospero in The Tempest. She talks to Anne McElvoy about giving herself permission to take on roles still normally given to men and the never-ending wonder of Shakespearian verse as the entire trilogy opens in London.

Plus - ahead of the American Presidential election, New Generation Thinker and historian, Ed Richardson pops up with the mesmerising story of how Hillary Clinton is very far from being the first ever female Presidential candidate.

Artes Mundi 7 runs at the National MuseumWales: Cardiff 21.10.16 - 26.02.17

The Shakespeare Trilogy: The Tempest, Henry IV and Julius Caesar are at the Donmar's King's Cross Theatre in London Sept 23rd - 17th December 2016

Amitav Ghosh has published his arguments about fiction in The Great Derangement.

Presenter: Anne McElvoy

Guests: Harriet Walter 'Brutus and Other Heroines: Playing Shakespeare's Roles for Women'

Catherine Fletcher

Owen Sheers

Amitav Ghosh 'The Great Derangement: Climate Change and Thinking the Unthinkable'.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

(Image: Harriet Walter / Credit: Georgia Oetker).

Artists' Mannequins, Mike Leigh, Guy Fawkes Traditions20141028

Mike Leigh discusses his film about Turner. Steve Connor and Matthew Sweet discuss an exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge which brings together 180 paintings and models to explore the way mannequins have been used by artists - from a technical tool to a fetishised object. And New Generation Thinker Naomi Paxton discusses Guy Fawkes traditions.

Producer: Harry Parker.

Arundhati Roy20180306 (R3)

The Man Booker prize winning author and campaigner is in conversation with Philip Dodd.

Arundhati Roy2017060620180306 (R3)

The Man Booker prize winning author and campaigner is in conversation with Philip Dodd.

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Author and campaigner Arundhati Roy is in conversation with Philip Dodd.

Arundhati Roy, the Man Booker prize winning author and campaigner is in conversation with Philip Dodd as she publishes her second novel 20 years after The God of Small Things.

Arundhati Roy's new novel is called The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. It is being read on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Atheism And Belief20140212

Nietzsche declared that 'God is dead' in 1882, but he also argued that there would still be places where humankind would look for God's shadow for a long time to come.

Two books published this month include the idea of "the death of God" in their titles: Terry Eagleton's 'Culture And The Death Of God' and Peter Watson's 'The Age Of Nothing: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God'.

Both authors join Philip Dodd to discuss what 'the death of God' could mean, along with Roger Scruton whose forthcoming book 'The Soul Of The World' discusses the expression of religious belief through art.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

Australian Novelist Peter Carey20180116

Peter Carey talks to Rana Mitter about race and racing, on the subject of his latest novel

A car race around Australia is fictionalised in Peter Carey's latest novel. He talks to Rana Mitter about depicting race and racing. Josephine Quinn questions whether the Phoenicians existed as she looks at the way ancient texts and artworks helped construct an identity for the ancient civilization on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, stretching through what is now Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel. Classicist and novelist Natalie Haynes discusses Ovid's tales and Rana Mitter speaks to this year's TS Eliot Prize winner Ocean Vuong.

Peter Carey's latest novel is called A Long Way Home.
Josephine Quinn has published In Search of the Phoenicians.
Natalie Haynes most recent novel is called The Children of Jocasta. Radio 3's The Essay this week consists of five retellings of Ovid.
Ocean Vuong's Night Sky with Exit Wounds is out now.

Producer: Debbie Kilbride.

Autism, The Fallen Woman20150922

Steve Silberman is a Wired reporter and author of an article on "The Geek Syndrome" which went viral. He talks to Anne McElvoy about why we need to think about autism in a new way. Professor Lynda Nead has curated an exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London which looks at depictions of "the Fallen Woman" in Victorian England by artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Richard Redgrave, George Frederic Watts and Thomas Faed. The display includes a specially-commissioned sound installation by musician and composer Steve Lewinson.

The Fallen Woman runs at the Foundling Museum from 25 Sep 2015 - 03 Jan 2016.

Steve Silberman's book is Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

Balancing Power In World War I And Now20140626

Jonathan Powell and historians Margaret MacMillan, Orlando Figes and Adam Tooze explore the Great Powers with Anne McElvoy. The First World War shattered the power balance in Europe. As we confront an uncertain world order, who are the great powers today, how has their role changed and where do they now stand in determining geo-politics?

Professor Margaret MacMillan is the author of The War That Ended Peace.

Jonathan Powell was Chief of Staff for Tony Blair 1997-2007

Professor Adam Tooze is the author of The Deluge: The Great War and The Remaking of the Global Order.

Professor Orlando Figes is the author of numerous books on Russian history.

Barbara Kruger, Laurie Penny, The Minds Of Molecules20140625

American artist Barbara Kruger is wrapping the upper gallery of Modern Art Oxford in one of her bold juxtapositions of images and captions which explore our attitudes to gender and identity.

Journalist Laurie Penny writes for the New Statesman, Vice, Salon and The Guardian on a range of issues including feminism and activism.

They join Samira Ahmed in the Free Thinking Studio.

We also have another column from one of Radio 3 and the AHRC's 2014 New Generation Thinkers. Will Abberley from the University of Oxford reflects on the minds of molecules.

Laurie Penny's new book is Unspeakable Things: Sex Lies and Revolution

Barbara Kruger's work is on show at Modern Art Oxford June 28th - August 31st.

Bbc Radiophonic Workshop2014043020150119 (R3)

The BBC Radiophonic workshop was founded in 1958 by Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram. This group of experimental composers, sound engineers and musical innovators provided music for programmes including The Body in Question, Horizon, Quatermass, Newsround, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Chronicle and Delia Derbyshire's iconic Doctor Who Theme. As they premiere a new composition, Matthew Sweet meets members of the group.

The Radiophonic Workshop on tour continues at Henley Festival, Camp Bestival, The End of the Road Festival and Festival Number 6 at Portmeirion.

Producer: Laura Thomas.

The BBC Radiophonic workshop was founded in 1958 by Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram. This group of experimental composers, sound engineers and musical innovators provided music for programmes including The Body in Question, Horizon, Quatermass, Newsround, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Chronicle and Delia Derbyshire's iconic Doctor Who Theme before being shut down by Director General John Birt in 1998.

In an edition recorded just as the Workshop prepare to release a new album, and tour the UK, Matthew Sweet brings together Radiophonic Workshop members Dick Mills, Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb, Peter Howell, and Mark Ayres to reflect on the days and nights they spent in the workshop, coaxing ageing machines into otherworldly life, and pioneering electronic music. Also in the programme, producer and former drummer with The Prodigy Kieron Pepper, Oscar winning Gravity composer Steven Price, Vile Electrodes, and Matt Hodson, on the influence the Radiophonic Workshop had on them.

You can download this programme by searching in the Arts and Ideas podcasts for the broadcast date.

Beards, Listening, Masculinity20161122

Matthew Sweet tries to separate out the clichés from the reality when it comes to male masculinity in 2016 with the director of the forthcoming Being A Man festival at London's Southbank and Josh Appignanesi and Devorah Baum, the husband and wife team behind a new documentary that charts the emotional turmoil of childbirth on a man reluctant to grow up.

Plus, Matthew travels to the Florence Nightingale Museum in London to meet New Generation Thinker and historian of beards, Alun Withey, who reveals why the current craze for male facial hair is not a patch on the Victorian age.

And do you think you're a good listener? Do you think you're being listened to? In a year of political upheaval that's rapidly reshaping a new world order, the head of the Government's 'nudge unit' David Halpern, and communications professor Jim Macnamara, consider the importance of listening when it comes to a functioning democracy.

The New Man by Josh Appignanesi and Devorah Baum is in selected cinemas.

Being a Man runs at London's Southbank centre from November 25th - 27th

Florence Nightingale Museum: The Age of the Beard: Putting on a Brave Face in Victorian Britain, runs from 18th November 2016 to 30th.

Jim Macnamara is the author of Organizational Listening: The Missing Essential in Public Communication. He is conducting a public lecture, The Lost Art of Listening: the missing key to democratic and civil society participation, on Wednesday 23rd November at the London School of Economics.

Producer: Craig Templeton Smith

(Image: Brighton Man by Henry Steel, c1895 (c) Sussex PhotoHistory).

Beauty: Dame Fiona Reynolds, The Bowes Museum, David Willetts On The State20160519

Anne McElvoy talks to Dame Fiona Reynolds about a career spent defending the beauty of the British landscape, and considers an exhibition of English beauties at the Bowes Museum. She is also joined by former minister The Rt Hon David Willetts, media executive Charles Brand and Marc Stears head of the New Economics Foundation to discuss the role of the state in the 21st century, and ahead of Sunday's Drama on 3 she explores literary depictions of the city of Venice with David Barnes.

Dame Fiona Reynolds' book is called The Fight For Beauty: Our Path to a Better Future

English Rose Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent runs at the Bowes Museum from 14 May - 25 September 2016 and if you're in Liverpool there's still a couple of weeks to catch the Walker Gallery show of Pre Raphaelite beauties Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion which runs until June 5th

David Willetts is the author of The Pinch.

David Barnes' book is called The Venice Myth: Culture, Literature, Politics, 1800 to the Present.

Naomi Alderman's imagining of the story of Jessica from the Merchant of Venice is being broadcast on Sunday night on Radio 3 at 10pm and there's an introductory animation on the Radio 3 website and a link to Professor Jerry Broton's Sunday Feature investigating the Venice Ghetto.

Being Human Debate At Fact, Liverpool: Man And Animals20161115

French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss famously said that 'animals are good to think with'. Rana Mitter with Sarah Peverley, Charles Forsdick, Alasdair Cochrane, Eveline de Wolf and an audience at FACT, Liverpool debate robots, humans and animals.

The broadcast will preview upcoming events organised by the University of Liverpool as part of their Being Human festival programme and is part of a week of programmes on Radio 3 focusing on new research and the UK wide festival supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

From a best friend to a tasty snack or something we must carefully husband to a threat we must eradicate, we humans think about animals in lots of ways. But how has our thinking about animals changed over time, and what does that tell us about our shifting attitudes toward the natural world and our place in it? Hear the views of an archaeologist who studies how we've lived with animals throughout human history, a medievalist who studies bestiaries and mermaids, a French scholar who explores the history of the 'human zoo', and a political theorist who argues that we should extend human rights to animals.

Producer: Luke Mulhall

(Image: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Français 143, f. 130v, detail).

Being Human Debate At Fact, Liverpool: Man And Animals20170908

From Fact in Liverpool, Rana Mitter and guests debate mermaids, robots, humans and animals

French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss famously said that 'animals are good to think with'. Rana Mitter with Sarah Peverley, Charles Forsdick, Alasdair Cochrane, Eveline de Wolf, Michael Szollosy and an audience at FACT, Liverpool debate robots, humans and animals.

From a best friend to a tasty snack or something we must carefully husband to a threat we must eradicate, we humans think about animals in lots of ways. But how has our thinking about animals changed over time, and what does that tell us about our shifting attitudes toward the natural world and our place in it? Hear the views of a medievalist who studies bestiaries and mermaids, a French scholar who explores the history of the 'human zoo', and a political theorist who argues that we should extend human rights to animals, a zookeeper, and an expert on human-robot relations.

Recorded with the University of Liverpool as part of the Being Human Festival show casing research at universities around the UK, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. You can find further programmes about the Being Human Festival and new academic research which are downloadable or available to listen again via the Free Thinking website collection The Getting of Knowledge.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

Being Human: Lost And Found In The Archives20171121

Shahidha Bari and Laurence Scott report on the Being Human Festival.

New Generation Thinkers Shahidha Bari and Laurence Scott consider how archives come to life with events from the Being Human Festival including klezmer music, stories from conflict in Northern Ireland and voices from marginalised communities.

The Great Yiddish Parade was on 19 November 2017, Whitechapel High St, London

Katsha’nes: Don’t Ask Silly Questions Album launch is on 22nd November, Stamford Hill BALABAM, London N15

Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884-1914 is forthcoming

Storytelling from Conflict - Lost and Found Stories is on 21 November 12:30-3:30pm at the Public Records Office, Belfast

Queerseum - is from 22-25 November at Senate House, University of London

Finding Mr Hart - is at Blackburn's Cotton Exchange on 24 November at 5.30pm

Switchboard III is at the Wired Café Bar, Nottingham on 23 November from 6-7:30pm

Producer: Debbie Kilbride

Being Human: The Lost Luggage Office, Ghosts And Warrior Poets.20171116

Matthew Sweet goes to Canterbury, Portsmouth and TFL offices for stories of lost and found

Stories of objects, ghosts and histories lost and found recorded on location in Portsmouth's most haunted house, the site of a sacrifice in Canterbury and at the TfL Lost Luggage Office. Presenter Matthew Sweet meets academics taking part in Being Human which showcases research from universities around the UK.

How can the reflections of a warrior-poet from the distant past and the adventures of an Iron Age tribesman from the far future help us rethink our relationship with a city centre in the Britain of today? Matthew Sweet travels to Canterbury to find out.
The Transport for London lost property office is a labyrinthine cornucopia hidden away under the streets of central London. A visit there leads to reflections on our complicated relationships with things in a consumer society dominated by mass-produced goods, and the history of the concept of lost property casts a revealing light on the development of the city as an ordered space.
And, some say that Wymering Manor in Portsmouth is one of the most haunted houses in the country. Whether that's true or not, Matthew goes there to examine the ways in which the past of a building intrudes into its present.

Matthew's guests include:
Michael Bintley and Sonia Overall in Canterbury
Kate Smith and Paul Cowan at the TFL Lost Property Office
Karen Fielder and Benjamin Ffrench in Portsmouth

Producer Luke Mulhall.

Being Human: Vernon Lee, Lying, Coma20161116

New Generation Thinkers Shahidha Bari and Laurence Scott present a programme looking at new research into supernatural fiction writer Vernon Lee with Francesco Ventrella. Lee used the phrase "iron curtain" and declared herself a "cosmopolitan from her birth, without any single national tie or sympathy'. They also debate what it means to lie, examine the life of communist informer Harvey Matusow with Doug Haynes, and look at new scientific research into the way consistent lying can change behaviour. Plus, Jenny Kitzinger on the gulf between popular ideas of 'coma' and the realities of such states.

Part of a week of programmes on BBC Radio 3 exploring new academic research.

Being Human festival of the humanities runs from 17-25 Nov 2016 at universities across the UK. It is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) which works with Radio 3 on the New Generation Thinkers scheme to find academics who can turn their research into radio.

Producer: Robyn Read.

Being Human: What The Archives Reveal20161117

Matthew Sweet visits little known locations in London to meet researchers drawing on archives of the past to cast new light on the present.

The Cross Bones Graveyard in Southwark was used in the Middle Ages to bury sex workers and others living on the fringes of respectable society. We visit the site with Sondra Hausner, an anthropologist of religion who's studied modern practices for memorializing the women buried at the site.

Vicky Iglikowski and Rowena Hillel are researchers at the National Archives at Kew investigating records that shed light on LGBT history in the Capital. We'll leaf through the records to see what they've uncovered.

New Generation Thinker Naomi Paxton and her colleague Ailsa Grant Ferguson have identified a moment when Shakespeare, radical politics, and the roots of the National Theatre all converged, in a building in Bloomsbury used to house Anzac soldiers during the First World War.

And we join Peter Guillery, editor of the Survey of London, to investigate the work of this ongoing project to document the streets of London in all their complexity.

Part of a week of programmes on BBC Radio 3 focusing on new research. The Being Human Festival which takes place at universities across the UK from November 17th - 25th will feature events linked to these research projects. Both this and the New Generation Thinkers scheme are supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Producer Luke Mulhall.

Bella Bathurst, Mike Figgis, Birds In British Literature, 2017 New Generation Thinker Daisy Fancourt On Music And Health20170523

Matthew Sweet explores deafness, plot twists, birds in books and how music is good for you

Author and photojournalist Bella Bathurst suddenly began to lose her hearing as an adult in 1997. Twelve years later, an operation enabled her to recover it. She has written a book about her experience, insights gained about listening and the science behind deafness.

2017 New Generation Thinker Daisy Fancourt researches the effect of the arts on immune response and public health.

New Generation Thinker Will Abberley has curated an exhibition exploring birds in British literature.

Director, screenwriter and composer Mike Figgis encourages writers to rethink plotting in his new book, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations.

Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found by Bella Bathurst is available now.
Sounds of the City is at the London Transport Museum from 19 May to 3 September 2017.
Stories on the Wing: British Birds in Literature runs at the Booth Museum in Brighton from 19 May to 21 September 2017. Free admission.
The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by Mike Figgis is published on 1 June 2017.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with academics to turn their research into radio and television. You can find more broadcasts and films on the Free Thinking website.

Producer: Karl Bos.

Author and photojournalist Bella Bathurst suddenly began to lose her hearing as an adult in 1997. Twelve years later, an operation enabled her to recover it. She has written a book about her experience, insights gained about listening and the science behind deafness.

2017 New Generation Thinker Daisy Fancourt researches the effect of the arts on immune response and public health.

New Generation Thinker Will Abberley has curated an exhibition exploring birds in British literature.

Director, screenwriter and composer Mike Figgis encourages writers to rethink plotting in his new book, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations.

Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found by Bella Bathurst is available now.
Stories on the Wing: British Birds in Literature runs at the Booth Museum in Brighton from 19 May to 21 September 2017. Free admission.
The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by Mike Figgis is published on 1 June 2017.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with academics to turn their research into radio and television. You can find more broadcasts and films on the Free Thinking website.

Producer: Karl Bos

Bernard Maclaverty. Immigration. Christian Destruction Of Classical World20170921

Author Bernard MacLaverty talks to Anne McElvoy about his new novel Midwinter Break.

The Northern Irish author of Cal and Grace Notes, Bernard MacLaverty talks to Anne McElvoy about his novel Midwinter Break, plus Clair Wills on her research into post-war immigration to Britain and the differing expectations and experience of migrants and European refugees. The daughter of Irish immigrants, she now teaches at Princeton University in USA. Joining in the discussion is Will Jones, who researches the politics of migration and is working on developing the idea of matching markets which would match refugee preferences with state priorities.
Anne also hears from Catherine Nixey, a young historian with a tale to tell of who did for the pagans. Nixey claims that the old story of Roman paganism dying of its own accord and Christianity moving into a void is one told by the victors. The Christians in fact annihilated belief systems across the Empire in a concerted attack on their philosophy, buildings and artworks.

Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty is out now in hardback.
Clair Wills's book is called Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain.
William Jones, Centre of International Public Policy, Royal Holloway University of London
The Darkening Age by Catherine Nixey is out now in hardback.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

The Northern Irish author of Cal and Grace Notes, Bernard MacLaverty talks to Anne McElvoy about his novel Midwinter Break plus Clair Wills on her research into post war immigration to Britain and the differing expectations and experience of migrants and European refugees. The daughter of Irish immigrants - she now teaches at Princeton University in USA.

Anne also hears from Catherine Nixey a young historian with a tale to tell of who did for the pagans. Nixey claims that the old story of Roman paganism dying of its own accord and Christianity moving into a void is one told by the victors. The Christians in fact annihilated belief systems across the Empire in a concerted attack on their philosophy, buildings and artworks.

Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty is out now in hardback.
Clair Wills book is called Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain.
The Darkening Age by Catherine Nixey out now in hardback.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Bernard-henri L\u00e9vy, Edith Hall And Simon Critchley20180606

Shahidha Bari talks to three philosophers about how their work applies outside university.

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Bernard-Henri Lévy is in London to perform a one-man play on Brexit. Simon Critchley's new book is What We Think About When We Think About Football, and Edith Hall's is Aristotle's Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life.

Shahidha Bari talks to each of them about bringing philosophy out of the academy.

Producer: Luke Mulhall.

Bhupen Khakhar, The City State Of London?20160602

Philip Dodd looks at the art of Bhupen Khakhar and the subjects he explored including class difference; desire and homosexuality; and his personal battle with cancer.

Also, Saskia Sassen, Jane Morris and Pat Kane discuss the emergence of London as a global city and what the economic and cultural ramifications might be for the rest of the UK.

Bhupen Khakhar is on show at Tate Modern from June 1st to September 6th.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod

Main image: Man Leaving (Going Abroad), 1970 by Bhupen Khakhar

Courtesy of Tapi Collection, India

(c) Estate of Bhupen Khakhar.

Black British History20161109

David Olusoga, Bernadine Evaristo, Keith Piper and Kehinde Andrews consider the question what it means to be Black British and how should a wider history be taught and reflected in literature. New Generation Thinker Nandini Das presents.

Kehinde Andrews is at Birmingham City University where his research includes looking at black activism. He is series editor of Blackness in Britain with Rowman and Littlefield International

David Olusoga's series Black and British: A Forgotten History is being screened by BBC Two on November wednesday evenings at 9pm.

Bernadine Evaristo is the author of prose and poetic novels including The Emperor's Babe and Mr Loverman. She teaches creative writing at Brunel University.

Keith Piper's exhibition Unearthing the Banker's Bones, in partnership with Iniva, is at Bluecoat in Liverpool and runs until 22 January 2017.

Bernardine Evaristo, Keith Piper, Miranda Kaufmann and Kehinde Andrews consider the question what it means to be Black British and how should a wider history be taught and reflected in literature. New Generation Thinker Nandini Das presents.

Miranda Kaufmann is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Her book Black Tudors will be published by Oneworld in autumn 2017.

Bernardine Evaristo is the author of prose and poetic novels including The Emperor's Babe and Mr Loverman. She teaches creative writing at Brunel University.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Main Image: Soldiers from a British colonial regiment at Chelsea Barracks in London prior to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, June 1897. Credit: London Stereoscopic Company / Hulton Archive / Getty Images).

Blade Runner. Ghost Stories.20171005

Matthew Sweet watches a vision of Los Angeles 2049 and visits haunted places in Portsmouth

Matthew Sweet goes on a ghost hunt in Portsmouth with Karl Bell and is joined by Susan Owens and Stuart Evers to look at hauntings and what they tell us about our fears through the ages. James Burton from Goldsmiths and New Generation Thinker Sarah Dillon watch a vision of Los Angeles in 2049 in the Blade Runner sequel.

Blade Runner 2049 directed by Denis Villeneuve starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling is in cinemas now.
Susan Owens has written The Ghost: A Cultural History
Karl Bell is a history lecturer at the University of Portsmouth who is involved in DarkFest Portsmouth - celebrating the darker corners of Portsmouth's imagination October 26th - November 30th
Stuart Evers has written a story for Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book Of Ghost Stories. His was inspired by Dover Castle.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Blithe Spirit, Strong Leadership20140318

Samira Ahmed presents a live edition from the pop-up studio at London's Southbank Centre where Radio 3 is broadcasting live all day every day for the last two weeks of March.

Angela Lansbury has returned to the London stage to star in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. Free Thinking has a first night review from theatre critic Susannah Clapp and novelist Nicola Upson.

As the international community debates the ongoing situation in Ukraine and Syria, kremlinologist and historian, Archie Brown, and military expert and author, Frank Ledwidge discuss whether strong leaders undermine rather than enhance the possibility of good leadership.

If you're in the area, visit the Radio 3 studio and performance space in the Royal Festival Hall Riverside Cafe to listen to Radio 3, ask questions and enjoy the special events.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Booker Winner, Weather And Twilight, The Kibbo Kift20151013

Matthew Sweet hears from Alex Clark direct from the 2015 Booker Award ceremony on this year's winning novel.

There's discussion of imaginative histories of Weather and Twilight with Alex Harris and Peter Davidson. They'll be explaining why painters first noticed the witching hour at the end of the 18th century, and why Anglo-Saxons only told stories about the winter, why April showers were precious in the middle-ages and fog was the novelists' weather of choice in the 19th century.

Plus the poet Michael Rosen, whose new anthology links anti-Semitism, fascism and war with the lives of his parents and grandparents, joins Matthew in the great outdoors to remember the Kibbo Kift Kin, the 1920s youth movement which combined woodcraft with cutting edge costume and art and arcane and possibly occult dreams of changing the world forever.

The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, a new book by Annebella Pollen accompanies Intellectual Barbarians, an exhibition at London's Whitechapel Gallery, marking the short but colourful history of an organisation which fell foul of both Right and Left.

Presenter: Matthew Sweet

Guest: Peter Davidson author of The Last of the Light: About Twilight

Guest: Alexandra Harris author of Weatherland: Writers and Artists Under English Skies

Guest: Michael Rosen author of Don't Mention the Children

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Borders: On The Ground, On The Map, In The Mind20170202

Garrett Carr travelled by foot and canoe along Ireland's border. Kapka Kassabova journeyed to what she calls "the edge of Europe". Frank Ledwidge's army career took him to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, Nikolas Ventourakis is fascinated by how to capture the abstract notion of borders in photographs. They talk to Anne McElvoy about the essence of edges, notions of the other and the challenges of invisible borders which come and go like the smile of the Cheshire Cat.

The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland's Border by Garrett Carr looks at a landscape which has hosted smugglers, kings, runaways, soldiers, peacemakers, protesters and terrorists

Border: A journey to the Edge of Europe, Kapka Kassabova explores the rich human history in the wild borderlands of Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece.

Nikolas Ventourakis Project: Defining Lines

Frank Ledwidge barrister, writer, Losing Small Wars and Investment in Blood

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Botticelli Reimagined, A New Biography Of Hitler20160303

As a best-selling German biography of Hitler is published in English Anne McElvoy explores the way German historians view Hitler now and reviews Botticelli Reimagined at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Botticelli Reimagined runs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from 5 March - 3 July 2016.

Hitler by Volker Ullrich is now published in English.

Brazilian Culture, Saying The Unsayable, Addiction20160714

Anne McElvoy looks ahead to the Rio Olympics discussing Brazilian culture talking to author, politics lecturer and former National Secretary for Public Security Luiz Eduardo Soares and with Dr Edward King from the University of Bristol. This summer the RSC is exploring saying the unsayable this summer with a season of plays, Anne talks with the writer and the director of one of those plays, 'Fall of the Kingdom, Rise of the Foot Soldier' - Somalia Seaton and Nadia Latif. And neuroscientist Marc Lewis explains why he is convinced that addiction is a behavioural problem and not a disease.

Rio de Janeiro: Extreme City by Luiz Eduardo Soares is out now.

Digital Technologies in Argentine and Brazilian Culture by Edward King explores the use of science fiction in literature and graphic fiction from Argentina and Brazil.

The Biology of Desire: why addiction is not a disease by Marc Lewis is out now

'Fall of the Kingdom, Rise of the Foot Soldier' runs from 27th July at the RSC in Stratford

Producer: Ruth Watts.

Breaking Free - How The Reformation Changed British Daily Life2017050320171221 (R3)

Rana Mitter discusses research into the way life changed in Britain after the Reformation.

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

What chewing cloves had to do with sermons, the significance of a giant fish with vast teeth and the poignant histories and perilous journeys undertaken by nuns who lost their homes and workplaces. Rana Mitter looks at new research into the way daily life changed in Britain after the Reformation for Radio 3's series of programmes exploring Martin Luther's Revolution. His guests are:

Alec Ryrie, Professor in Religion and Theology at the University of Durham and author of: Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World 201;
Tom Charlton, New Generation Thinker is currently studying the history of Protestant nonconformity at Dr Williams's Library, London
Elizabeth Goodwin from the University of Sheffield and Birmingham is an expert on Nuns in the Reformation
Tara Hamling from the University of Birminghamb is the author of Decorating the Godly Household: Religious Art in Protestant Britain c.1560-c.1660.

Producer Jacqueline Smith.

Breaking Free - How The Reformation Changed British Daily Life20171221

Rana Mitter discusses research into the way life changed in Britain after the Reformation.

What chewing cloves had to do with sermons, the significance of a giant fish with vast teeth and the poignant histories and perilous journeys undertaken by nuns who lost their homes and workplaces. Rana Mitter looks at new research into the way daily life changed in Britain after the Reformation for Radio 3's series of programmes exploring Martin Luther's Revolution. His guests are:

Alec Ryrie, Professor in Religion and Theology at the University of Durham and author of: Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World 201;
Tom Charlton, New Generation Thinker is currently studying the history of Protestant nonconformity at Dr Williams's Library, London
Elizabeth Goodwin from the University of Sheffield and Birmingham is an expert on Nuns in the Reformation
Tara Hamling from the University of Birminghamb is the author of Decorating the Godly Household: Religious Art in Protestant Britain c.1560-c.1660.

Producer Jacqueline Smith.

Breaking Free - Martin Luther's Revolution2017050220171219 (R3)

Peter Stanford, Ulinka Rublack and Diarmaid MacCulloch discuss Martin Luther.

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Martin Luther - Fundamentalist, Reactionary or Enlightened Creator of the Modern World? Peter Stanford, Ulinka Rublack and Diarmaid MacCulloch join Anne McElvoy to explore the question.

The discussion was recorded in front of an audience at the LSE Literary Festival for Radio 3's Breaking Free series of programmes exploring Martin Luther's Revolution.

500 years ago Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation when he nailed a sheet of paper to the door of a church in a small university town in Germany. That sheet and the incendiary ideas it contained flared up into religious persecution and war, eventually burning a huge hole through 16th century Christendom. And yet the man who sparked this revolution has somehow been lost in the glare of events.

Peter Stanford is the author of a new biography of Luther
Ulinka Rublack is the author of Reformation Europe
Diarmaid MacCulloch's most recent book is All Things Made New - Writings on the Reformation

Producer Zahid Warley.

Peter Stanford Ulinka Rublack and Diarmaid MacCulloch discuss Martin Luther.

Peter Stanford, Ulinka Rublack and Diarmaid MacCulloch join Anne McElvoy to explore the question Martin Luther - Fundamentalist, Reactionary or Enlightened Creator of the Modern World?

The discussion was recorded in front of an audience at the LSE Literary Festival for Radio 3's Breaking Free series of programmes exploring Martin Luther's Revolution.

500 years ago Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation when he nailed a sheet of paper to the door of a church in a small university town in Germany. That sheet and the incendiary ideas it contained flared up into religious persecution and war, eventually burning a huge hole through 16th century Christendom. And yet the man who sparked this revolution has somehow been lost in the glare of events.

Peter Stanford is the author of a new biography of Luther
Ulinka Rublack is the author of Reformation Europe
Diarmaid MacCulloch's most recent book is All Things Made New - Writings on the Reformation

Producer Zahid Warley.

Breaking Free - Martin Luther's Revolution20171219

Peter Stanford, Ulinka Rublack and Diarmaid MacCulloch discuss Martin Luther.

Martin Luther - Fundamentalist, Reactionary or Enlightened Creator of the Modern World? Peter Stanford, Ulinka Rublack and Diarmaid MacCulloch join Anne McElvoy to explore the question.

The discussion was recorded in front of an audience at the LSE Literary Festival for Radio 3's Breaking Free series of programmes exploring Martin Luther's Revolution.

500 years ago Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation when he nailed a sheet of paper to the door of a church in a small university town in Germany. That sheet and the incendiary ideas it contained flared up into religious persecution and war, eventually burning a huge hole through 16th century Christendom. And yet the man who sparked this revolution has somehow been lost in the glare of events.

Peter Stanford is the author of a new biography of Luther
Ulinka Rublack is the author of Reformation Europe
Diarmaid MacCulloch's most recent book is All Things Made New - Writings on the Reformation

Producer Zahid Warley.

Breaking Free - Martin Luther's Revolution: New Research Into The Reformation20170503

Rana Mitter discusses research into the way life changed in Britain after the Reformation.

Rana Mitter looks at new research into the way daily life changed in Britain after the Reformation for Radio 3's series of programmes exploring Martin Luther's Revolution. His guests are:

Alec Ryrie, Professor in Religion and Theology at the University of Durham and author of: Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World 201;
Tom Charlton, New Generation Thinker is currently studying the history of Protestant nonconformity at Dr Williams's Library, London
Elizabeth Goodwin from the University of Sheffield and Birmingham is an expert on Nuns in the Reformation
Tara Hamling from the University of Birmingham is the author of Decorating the Godly Household: Religious Art in Protestant Britain c.1560-c.1660.

Producer Jacqueline Smith.

Breaking Free: Karl Kraus20170105

American author Jonathan Franzen's interest in the Austrian satirist and journalist resulted in him publishing The Kraus Project. He joins Philip Dodd, novelist Lawrence Norfolk and literary historian, Heide Kunzelmann for a programme exploring the writing and politics of Karl Kraus (1874-1936) - whose artistic achievements include 700 one man performances of works by Brecht, Goethe, Shakespeare and others - plus performances of Offenbach's operettas, accompanied by piano and singing all the roles himself; whose magazine Die Fackel published Oskar Kokoschka, Adolf Loos, Heinrich Mann, Arnold Schönberg, August Strindberg and Oscar Wilde and whose support for other artists included assisting Frank Wedekind in staging his controversial play Pandora's Box.

In 1915 Kraus began writing a satirical play about World War One called The Last Days of Mankind which mixes dialogue drawn from contemporary documents with fantasical expressionist scenes of apocalypse. A dramatisation featuring actors Giles Havergal and Paul Schofield was broadcast by BBC Radio 3.

Part of Radio 3's Breaking Free series of programmes exploring music and culture in Vienna.

Producer: Zahid Warley

(Karl Kraus archive clip courtesy of the Austrian Mediathek).

Brecht's Life Of Galileo, John Knox, Joanne Paul20170518

Philip Dodd discusses speaking truth to power and the beliefs of John Knox and Galileo.

As dramas about John Knox and Galileo open at theatres in Edinburgh and London, Philip Dodd talks to Fiona Shaw and Mark Ravenhill about performing and staging Brecht and to Edinburgh Lyceum artistic director David Greig. He's also joined by 2017 New Generation Thinker Joanne Paul, from the University of Sussex, who researches the idea of parrhesia or 'speaking truth to power'. And satirist Nev Fountain and stand-up comedian Simon Evans explore the impact that comedy can have in deflating the powerful.

Bertold Brecht's Life of Galileo directed by Joe Wright in a translation by John Willlett runs at the Young Vic Theatre in London from May 6th - July 1st.
Glory on Earth runs at the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh from May 20th to June 10th. Written by Linda McLean the drama is directed by David Greig and stars Jamie Sives.

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with academics to turn their research into radio and television. You can find more broadcasts and films on the Free Thinking website.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Britain's Economy: Will Hutton, Luke Johnson, Wendy Carlin, Richard Davies20150212

Will Hutton joins Anne McElvoy for a programme focusing on economics and wealth in Britain. We're used to hearing about the state of the economy, but what about the discipline of economics itself? Anne McElvoy is joined by three leading practitioners to discuss the latest developments in the field, and what they can tell us about the world today.

Will Hutton's new book offers a diagnosis of where we are now and offers suggestions about where we should go next. Wendy Carlin is Professor of Economics and Macroeconomics at UCL, and claims it's time for a thorough overhaul of the way her subject is taught. Richard Davies is Economics Editor at The Economist, and has studied how new ideas in economics are being made to work for business. Luke Johnson is the Chairman of Risk Capital Partners and the former Chairman of Channel 4 Television. He is an entrepreneur who argues it's risk, not textbooks, that keeps the economy going.

They'll discuss the state of economics today, from the seminar room to the trading floor.

Producer: Luke Mulhall

Editor: Robyn Read.

British Conceptual Art, Smart Thinking20160413

Philip Dodd is joined by artist Bruce McLean and critic Sarah Kent to consider the history and politics of British Conceptual Art on show at Tate Britain. Also Richard Nisbett gives his view on how "smart thinking" can help us improve our lives.

Richard Nisbett is Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished Professor of Social Psychology and Co-director of the Culture and Cognition programme at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He is cited by Malcolm Gladwell as an influence and is the author of a book called "Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking"

Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979 runs at Tate Britain from 12 April - 29 August 2016

The exhibition includes works by Keith Arnatt, Art and Language, Conrad Atkinson, Victor Burgin, Michael Craig-Martin, Hamish Fulton,Margaret Harrison, Susan Hiller, John Hilliard, Mary Kelly, John Latham, Richard Long, Bruce McLean, David Tremlett and Stephen Willats.

British New Wave Films Of The '60s20180410

Matthew Sweet evaluates the legacy of the film company behind A Taste of Honey and The Knack

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Matthew Sweet talks to the painter, Maggi Hambling about Cedric Morris one of British art's lost masters and evaluates the impact and legacy of Woodfall Flims - the company that gave Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Rita Tushingham their first breaks and introduced us to films such as Look Back in Anger, A Taste of Honey, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and The Knack.

The BFI is having a season focusing on Woodfall films, which are also being released on DVD.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Matthew Sweet evaluates the legacy of the film company behind A Taste of Honey and The Knack

Radio 3's festival of ideas, with interviews, talks, debates, drama and live performance

Matthew Sweet talks to the painter, Maggi Hambling about Cedric Morris one of British art's lost masters and evaluates the impact and legacy of Woodfall Flims - the company that gave Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Rita Tushingham their first breaks and introduced us to films such as Look Back in Anger, A Taste of Honey, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and The Knack.

The BFI is having a season focusing on Woodfall films, which are also being released on DVD.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Britten And Radio.20171101

BBC Historian David Hendy and others discuss Britten and radio at Aldeburgh.

David Hendy, Glyn Maxwell, Kate Kennedy and Lucy Walker with Philip Dodd and an audience at Aldeburgh in a discussion exploring Britten's relationship with radio in Britain and in America, with his subjects as varied as mountaineering (with words from Christopher Isherwood), a dramatisation of Homer's Odyssey and short stories by D.H. Lawrence (with a young W.H. Auden). But why was Britten so reluctant to accept a job at the BBC's Music department in the 1930s?

David Hendy is a historian of the BBC and Professor of Media and Cultural History at the University of Sussex.
Glyn Maxwell is a poet and librettist who has traced the journey of Auden and MacNeice to Iceland.
Kate Kennedy is a biographer and editor of the forthcoming 'Literary Britten',
Lucy Walker is Director of Programmes and Learning at the Britten-Pears Foundation.

Recorded in front of an audience as part of the Britten on the Radio weekend at the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings.

Producer: Fiona McLean.

Burns The Radical; Exploration20180125

Humboldt as Ecuadorian explorer, plus the territory between Scotland and England.

From Ecuador to the Scottish borders: Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough meets Maren Meinhardt and Graham Robb who explore the land on their doorsteps and also follow in the footsteps of others from Humboldt the naturalist and explorer to the forgotten territory of the Debatable Land. They'll be joined by novelist Natasha Pulley whose fascination with Victorian exploration and empire building is reflected in her latest novel The Bedlam Stacks which took her to Peru.

Another Burns night and Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough discusses the new radical ways in which Scotland's artists and writers are approaching and getting inspired by the man who almost invented the term National Bard. Burns Unbroke is a festival designed to showcase how Robert Burns speaks to Scotland's creators today and two of the featured artists are David Mach, sculptor, installation artist and poet, and Kevin Williamson of Neu! Reekie! Williamson has been exploring how Robert Burns might have performed his own poetry while David Mach reflects on why he's still in two minds about a poet who was also a tax collector who still speaks powerfully to a Scottish present.

Graham Robb's book The Debatable Land is out in February.
Maren Meinhardt's book A Longing For Wide and Unknown Things: The Life of Alexander Humboldt is published in January.
Natasha Pulley The Bedlam Stacks is out now.

Burns Unbroke - contemporary arts inspired by Robert Burns - 25 January - 10 March 2018 at Summerhall, Edinburgh

Independent Minds: New Poetry by HMP Kilmarnock ed. Kevin Williamson published by Luath Press.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith

Main Image: Alexander von Humboldt, *1769-1859+, German naturalist and geographer - by Joseph Stieler, c1843 Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images.

Calling To Account: Bronwen Maddox, Margaret Hodge, Matthew Parris20161215

Are public enquiries good government? At the end of a year where we have seen the Hillsborough and Chilcot reports are these the best way of calling to account? Margaret Hodge and Bronwen Maddox join Anne McElvoy to discuss. Plus, Matthew Parris considers the concept of scorn and those who are best at pouring it.

Matthew Parris has written an updated version of Scorn: The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History

Margaret Hodge has written Called To Account: How Corporate Bad Behaviour and Government Waste Combine to Cost Us Millions.

Bronwen Maddox is Director of the Institute for Government

Producer: Craig Smith.

Canada 150: Identity20170628

New Generation Thinkers Shahidha Bari and Laurence Scott on Canada in TV, poems and art.

Shahidha Bari and Laurence Scott look at images of Canada from First Nations art through Anne of Green Gables on TV to poems and art posted on Instagram and Twitter by Rupi Kaur. Their studio guests are author Alison MacLeod, Robbie Richardson and Deborah Pearson. Plus film maker Kevan Funk.

Rupi Kaur has published a book called Milk and Honey and you can find images of her art via her website https://www.rupikaur.com/

Robbie Richardson from the University of Kent is writing a book about the connections between representations of First Nations people in 18th-century British literature and the rise of modern British identity.

Kevan Funk's film Hello Destroyer is on a tour of UK cinemas along with other films from the Canada Now Festival and it is also available from Curzon Home Cinema.

Alison MacLeod has published a short story collection all the beloved gh-osts.

Deborah Pearson's documentary History History History is screening as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from August 5th to 10th.

Anne of Green Gables, the 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, has recently been remade for TV in a CBC-Netflix adaptation

Part of Canada 150: a week of programmes marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the nation. You can find links to concerts and other broadcasts on the Radio 3 website.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

Canada 150: Robert Lepage, Katherine Ryan20170627
Canada 150: Sydney Newman And British Tv, Vahni Capildeo20170629

Matthew Sweet discusses the Canadian producer who transformed British TV drama.

Matthew Sweet looks at the Canadian influence on British TV drama in the early 1960s, with director Alvin Rakoff, Sydney Newman biographer, Ryan Danes, and Graeme Burk, contributor to the publication of Newman's memoirs. Newman was instrumental in setting up Armchair Theatre, The Avengers and Doctor Who and The Wednesday Play at a time when broadcasting was in an excitingly fluid state.

The British-Trinidadian poet Vahni Capildeo on her Forward Prize winning collection Measures of Expatriation and a new Poetry Prize for Second Collections, the Ledbury Forte Prize.

Artists Larissa Sansour and Jonathan May discuss the Survival of the Artist as this year's Shubbak, London's festival of Contemporary Arab Culture opens.

Presenter: Matthew Sweet
Guests:
Graeme Burk 'Head of Drama: The Memoir of Sydney Newman' by Sydney Newman (Author), Ted Kotcheff (Foreword, Contributor), Graeme Burk (Contributor) out in September
Ryan Danes 'The Man Who Thought Outside the Box: The Life and Times of Doctor Who Creator Sydney Newman' out now
Vahni Capildeo 'Measure of Expatriation' out now.

The Ledbury Poetry Festival 30th June to 9th July 2017

The Survival of the Artist presented by The Mosaic Rooms, at the British Museum July 2nd, part of Shubbak, London's Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture 1-16 July 2017.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

Profile of Sydney Newman is Part of Canada 150: a week of programmes marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the nation. You can find concerts and other broadcasts on the Radio 3 website.

You can find more links to discussions about TV history focusing on Dr Who, The Avengers and an interview with Tony Garnett on the Free Thinking website. They are all available to download as Arts and Ideas podcasts.

Caravaggio, Bob Dylan, Dario Fo, Lenin's Train Journey20161013

The award of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan is discussed by writer Toby Litt and by Anthony Wall, the Editor of BBC TV's Arena series who co-produced the Martin Scorsese documentary about Dylan: No Direction Home and who has made several other films with and about Dylan. As the death of Italian playwright and activist Dario Fo is announced, David Greig Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh is joined by playwright Anders Lustgarten to reflect on Dario Fo's plays. Caravaggio's art explored by curator Letizia Treves, New Generation Thinker Joe Moshenska and playwright Anders Lustgarten. Plus, historian and Russologist Catherine Merridale on her latest book about Lenin's journey from exile in Zurich back to Russia on the eve of the 1917 Revolution. Anne McElvoy presents.

Beyond Caravaggio runs at The National Gallery 12 Oct 2016 To 15 Jan 2017.

Anders Lustgarten's play The Seven Acts of Mercy is at the Royal Shakespeare Company from November 24th to February 10th

Joe Moshenska is the author of A Stain In The Blood and teaches at Cambridge University. He is on the New Generation Thinkers scheme run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics who can turn their research into radio.

Mexican writer √?lvaro Enrigue's novel is called Sudden Death. It's translated by Natasha Wimmer. You can find more about fiction in translation in a collection on our website http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p047v6vh

Catherine's Merridale's account of Lenin's journey from Zurich to Petrograd is Lenin On The Train.

(Image: Interior with a Young Man holding a Recorder, Oil on canvas 103 x 139.5 cm, Cecco del Caravaggio 1615-20, (c) Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford).

Caribbean Culture20170131

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro and Kei Miller join Matthew Sweet to discuss Caribbean history and Jamaican culture.

Kei Miller's novel is called Augustown.

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro's non fiction exploration is called Island People The Caribbean and The World.

Producer: Zahid Warley.

Caryl Phillips, Stanley Wells, Ah, Wilderness!20150421

Caryl Phillips talks to Matthew Sweet about his new novel The Lost Child which re-imagines Heathcliff the young boy adopted by Mr Earnshaw and sets that history against the struggles of a contemporary single mother in Leeds.

The Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells will be discussing his new book, Great Shakespearean Actors, which maps the careers of actors from Burbage and Kemp in Shakespeare's day to contemporary actors including Kenneth Branagh and Simon Russell Beale.

Two weeks ago the University of Cape Town removed a statue of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes after student protests. Elsewhere in South Africa a statue of Queen Victoria has been vandalised and, in Ukraine, statues of Lenin have been toppled. The writer Lesley Lokko joins Matthew to discuss the events in South Africa.

And a first night review of Eugene O'Neill's only comedy Ah, Wilderness! at London's Young Vic theatre.

Producer: Fiona McLean.

Celebrating Buchi Emecheta20180207

Shahidha Bari leads a discussion of Nigerian-born novelist Buchi Emecheta (1944-2017).

Buchi Emecheta explored child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education in over 20 books. Born in 1944 in an Ibusa village, she lost her father aged eight, travelled to London and made a career as a writer whilst bringing up five children on her own, working by day and studying at night for a degree. Shahidha Bari talks to her son Sylvester Onwordi, to New Generation Thinker Louisa Egbunike and to other writers and publishers taking part in a day long series of discussions and performances at the Centre of African Studies at SOAS, University of London, on Saturday 3rd February.

Buchi Emecheta's career took off when she turned her columns for the New Statesman about black British life into a novel In The Ditch which was published in 1972. It depicted a single black mother struggling to cope in England against a background of squalor. Two years later Allison and Busby published her book Second-Class Citizen, which focused on issues of race, poverty and gender. Now, a year after her death, the Omenala Press is re-issuing editions of her work.

Producer: Robyn Read

Main Image: Buchi Emecheta (Photograph by Valerie Wilmer, courtesy of Sylvester Onwordi (c)).

Chalke Valley History Festival: Heroism V Failure20150716

Should we spend more time studying the failures of history, and less time on the heroes? David St