Monday, 2 April 2012

Bristol Festival of Ideas 2012


Hurrah! The full line-up for the Bristol Festival of Ideas 2012 was unveiled this weekend, and here are a few of the things I am most excited about from the bill. However, there’s plenty of events I haven’t mentioned, so do please click here to check out the full listings – or pick up a brochure from zillions of Bristol arts venues.

Her memoir is the story of a life’s work to find happiness. It is the story of how the painful past that Jeanette thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother.

A two-day conference exploring the contribution of writers to the West Country. Featuring sessions from Arthurian legend to the Romantic poets and Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, and from dialect verse and folk song to the Bristol novels of Angela Carter, this conference celebrates and interrogates the region’s broad and diverse literary culture.

Bristol had some of the leading television and theatre writers working in the city and found that the BBC – especially in the series The Wednesday Play – was keen to explore social issues and attitudes, and bring them to the attention of a popular audience. These three films reflect this. Together they show a Bristol that in many cases no longer exists. Guests involved in the productions will introduce the films.

In The War of the Sexes, Paul Seabright argues that we must understand how the tension between conflict and cooperation developed in our remote evolutionary past, how it shaped the modern world, and how it still holds us back, both at home and at work. Drawing on biology, sociology, anthropology, and economics, Seabright shows that conflict between the sexes is, paradoxically, the product of cooperation. The evolutionary niche – the long dependent childhood – carved out by our ancestors requires the highest level of cooperative talent. But it also gives couples more to fight about.

What inspires people to become feminists? Bristol-based activist Sian Norris’ book The Lightbulb Moment seeks to answer this question. She asked women and men from up and down the UK to tell their stories of how they became feminists. The launch invites her and a range of contributors (including me!) to share their funny, moving and inspiring stories. The evening will conclude with a panel discussion on the Future of Feminism.

In 1872, a woman known only as ‘An Earnest Englishwoman’, published an open letter entitled ‘Are women animals?’. She protested that women were not treated as fully human, and that their status was worse than that of animals. Joanna Bourke, author of What it Means to be Human: Reflections from 1791 to the Present, talks about what it means to be ‘human’ rather than ‘animal’.

There’s an aching hole in the comedy circuit where women should be. All too often, panel shows like Have I Got New For You? or Mock The Week have (at best) one woman on a line-up of five or six, while live comedy nights very rarely feature women. What the Frock! changes this. Hosted by Kate Smurthwaite, entertainment for the night is provided by Tiffany Stevenson, Dana Alexander and Zahra Barri. While it’s an all-women line-up, absolutely everybody is welcome in the audience.

A festive and entertaining evening to celebrate the winners of our Foyles Best Book of Ideas 2012 and the Best Bristol Idea (in association with BBC Bristol and Bristol Evening Post). Join the writers, contestants and judges at a Bristolian supper including a unique ‘Festival’ Pie from Pieminister.

James Sallis is the author of the popular Lew Griffin books and the recent novel Cypress Grove, as well as countless short stories, poems, essays and works of literary criticism. His novel Drive was made into the 2011 film starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, in which Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a getaway driver. Sallis talks about the novel and the film before a screening of the film.

1 comment:

  1. OH MY GODDDDDDD!!!!! I WANT TO COME TO ALL OF THESE THINGS!!!!!!! :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

    Life is not fair.

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