Sean Borodale’s outstanding Bee Journal brings a hive to life in poetry, while Steve Benbow is one of the UK’s urban beekeepers. And Tim Dee is one of the UK’s foremost writers on birds. Between them they examine the natural world and its inhabitants with brio and panache in conversation with Stephanie Cross.
Can we all wander at will through our great cities? How different is the experience for men and women, and how does our landscape alter throughout the day? Three ambulatory experts illuminate.
In partnership with the Institut Français
What drives us to extremes? How do humans and animals co-exist in myriad landscapes? How does exploration in the 21st century compare with the impulses that moved explorers such as Alexander von Humboldt?
Will scrutinises ordinary working lives in his most recent novel and Tendai wonders why we mention landscape at all given the novel’s interiority; they are joined by award-winning Sarah Hall whose novel The Wolf Border takes us into a more violent wilderness.
Ruth Potts and Molly Conisbee from bread, print & roses lead a walk around South West London.
The Ballad of Balham: The Power and Poetics of the Urban Lanskip
Join the Bread, Print and Roses collective as we uncover Balham’s radical roots, diverse social histories and utopian experiments (Yes, really). Just as, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf, there are no such thing as ordinary lives there are also no ordinary places. Balham abounds with tales of enclosure resistance, grisly murder, satanic mills and poor law defiance, played out against a fast-changing lanskip from Saxon settlement to assimilation into London’s octopus.
The walk will last around 75 minutes. It is an easy, pavement walk, but please wear comfortable shoes.
China Miéville skewers the picturesque in a talk specially written for the festival, followed by a Q&A session.
What is the picturesque? What is its role in our psyche and how does it work? And just what is that work? Why is the cosy and charming so often so unsettling? China Miéville looks askance at the quaint – and reveals how it’s always looking menacingly askance right back at us.