Let’s Talk About What Really Matters

Podcasts are brilliant and TV and radio are great for keeping up with what’s going on in the world. But you can’t beat the first-hand experience of being in the room with someone who’s lived and breathed their subject and has been in the thick of it.

At The Bath Festival we’ve invited key people to share that lived experience. We’ve paired them up with interviewers with gravitas and insight, to bring our audiences the very best of current affairs discussions – LIVE!

Here are some of our live events when we’ll be looking at what really matters:

The Blazing World and Charles

The monarchy. As the nation crowns King Charles III we ask, what will happen next to this ancient institution? Historian Jonathan Healey’s account of the 17th century in The Blazing World examines how the English Civil War split the country, with fatal consequences for everyman and for the king himself. ‘The institution of kingship, the Commons declared in 1649, “is unnecessary, burdensome and dangerous to the liberty, safety and public interest of the people,” a view to which Britons may one day return.’ (The New York Times review) Join Healey and the current King Charles’ biographer Catherine Mayer, on Sunday 14 May, 1.30pm in a discussion chaired by BBC World Service journalist Anu Anand.

Rafael Behr

If you’ve found yourself shouting at the Today programme or ranting at Question Time, come and hear award-winning journalist Rafael Behr, on how to stay engaged with politics without getting enraged. He’ll be giving a restorative talk surrounding his wise book, Politics: A Survivor’s Guide, in the company of fellow journalist John Harris. Wed 17 May, 5pm.

Henry Dimbleby

What’s eating up the Earth? Henry Dimbleby, government adviser on our nation’s food supply and founder of the Leon restaurant chain will be sharing his insider’s knowledge of the global machinations behind what we eat, as explained in his new book Ravenous: How to get ourselves and our planet into shape. Thurs 18 May, 5pm.

Vince Cable

What’s it like to lead a national political party? Vince Cable, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, reveals candid stories about his life in British politics in How To Be A Politician, Thurs 18 May, 7.30pm. With Bath & North East Somerset Council having a Lib Dem majority and a Liberal Democrat MP in Wera Hobhouse, this event will have particular interest for Bathonians.

Hope in the Dark

Hope in the dark: Ukraine. Dr Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor and NHS campaigner who has been a popular speaker at past festivals. Dr Clarke will be joined by Guardian journalist Charlotte Higgins and pioneering neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, who were all in Kyiv at the start of the Russian bombardment. In this one-off event for Bath Festivals they will be talking about their experiences, reflecting on the courage of the people they met and offering hope, fostered through human connections. Sat 20 May, 7.30pm.

Gary Younge

From Nelson Mandela to Black Lives Matter. Journalist Gary Younge has for three decades reported on the people and the changes, interviewing key Black figures along the way, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou, Stormzy and Mandela. Younge, the author of Dispatches from the Black Diaspora will be in conversation with Colin Grant (I’m Black So You Don’t Have To Be) about how much change is possible, Sat 20 May, 5pm.

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