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Book cover for "The Girl from the Channel Islands"
Harper Collins

Inspired by true events, "The Girl from the Channel Islands" by Jenny Lecoat tells the riveting story of a young Jewish woman trapped on the occupied island of Jersey during World War II.

In June 1940, the Channel Islands are occupied by Hitler’s forces. Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish woman who fled from Vienna to escape the Anschluss. She finds herself once more trapped by the Nazis, on the tiny island of Jersey. Concealing her racial status, Hedy finds work with the German authorities as a translator and embarks on acts of resistance.

Book cover for "Northern Spy" by Flynn Berry
Viking

Flynn Berry, the Edgar Award-winning author of "Under the Harrow," has established herself as one of the best new voices in suspense. Her latest, "Northern Spy," is a thriller about the contemporary IRA, and two sisters who find themselves caught in the middle of the re-escalating sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

Book cover art for "Raceless" by Georgia Lawton
Harper Collins

From The Guardian’s Georgina Lawton comes "Raceless," a moving examination of how racial identity is constructed through the author’s own journey grappling with secrets and stereotypes, having been raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black.

In the aftermath of her father’s death and propelled to action by her grief, Georgina decided to unravel the truth about her parentage and the racial identity her family had long denied her. She left England and the strained dynamics of her home life to live in black communities around the world. It was in these countries that Georgina was able to explore her identity and learn what it meant to navigate the world as a black woman.

Elizabeth George is one of the most acclaimed mystery writers of the last two decades. The books in her Inspector Lindley series are mainstays on bestseller lists across the country, with each installment garnering rave reviews, an incredible feat for an American writer tackling British crime fiction.

Her ability to create characters who grow and evolve over two dozen novels develop scenes that take readers into a picture ask English setting and construct intricate plot twists that make her novels the definition of a page turner that has cemented her as one of the great crime novelists writing today at events Elizabeth George is often asked: "How do you do it?"

So, in her new book, "Mastering the Process: From Idea to Novel," she shares her method to creating one of the most beloved mystery series ever written.

Patrick Radden Keefe, a staff writer for the New Yorker, is the author the best-selling: “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.” In it, Keefe looks at the disappearance of Jean McConville, a widowed young mother of ten children and explores the broader context of the terrorism and counterterrorism campaigns in Northern Ireland over the course of the Troubles, and what happened to the perpetrators and the victims of this crime.

Erik Larson is known for expertly transporting readers to past worlds; even stories we think we know come to life in a different way in his hands.

His latest, “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” takes us into the heart of war-torn England for the period of May 10, 1940, through May 10, 1941, which was Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister.

Petina Gappah is an award-winning and widely translated Zimbabwean writer. She is the author of two novels and two short story collections. Her work has also been published in, among others, The New Yorker, Der Spiegel, The Financial Times, and the Africa Report. For many years, Petina worked as an international trade lawyer at the highest levels of diplomacy in Geneva where she advised more than seventy developing countries from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America on trade law and policy. Petina has also been a DAAD Writing Fellow in Berlin, an Open Society Fellow and a Livingstone Scholar at Cambridge University. She has law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University in Austria, and the University of Zimbabwe.

In her latest novel, "Out of Darkness, Shining Light," she imagines the captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone's body, his papers and maps, fifteen hundred miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England.

On Thursday, October 10, Bard College will feature author Isabella Tree presenting her new work “Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm,” winner of the 2019 Richard Jefferies prize for nature writing and chosen by Smithsonian as a top 10 science book for 2018.

The event takes place at 5 p.m., in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center and is is sponsored by the Bard Center for Civic Engagement, Office of Sustainability, Environmental and Urban Studies Program, and Lifetime Learning Institute.

Isabella Tree writes for publications such as National Geographic, Granta, and the Guardian, and is the author of five nonfiction books. Her latest book charts the story of the pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex where she lives with her husband.

Author Aatish Taseer was born in the UK, the son of prominent Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and Pakistani politician, Salmaan Taseer. For his new book, "The Twice Born: Life and Death on the Ganges," Taseer traveled to Benares, the spiritual home of Hinduism for an up-close look at what the caste system means in India today.

Taseer says caste, the social and religious hierarchy of Hinduism, can have profound impacts on the trajectory of a person's life and governs any number of social interactions. It remains resilient in modern India, and Taseer considers its link to the rise of the Hindu nationalism.

John Lanchester is the author of five novels, including his latest, "The Wall," the best-selling "Debt to Pleasure," and "Capital," as well as several works of nonfiction, including "I.O.U." and "How to Speak Money."

"The Wall" is a novel of a broken world and what might be found when all is lost. It blends the issues of our time, rising waters, rising fear, rising political division, into a suspenseful story of love, trust, and survival.

During his regular days in London, Kenneth Grahame sat behind a mahogany desk as Secretary of the Bank of England; on weekends he retired to the house in the country that he shared with his fanciful wife, Elspeth, and their fragile son, Alistair, and took lengthy walks along the Thames in Berkshire.

The result of these pastoral wanderings was his masterful creation of "The Wind in the Willows," the enduring classic of children's literature; a cautionary tale for adult readers; a warning of the fragility of the English countryside; and an expression of fear at threatened social changes that, in the aftermath of the World War I, became a reality.

"The Man in the Willows: The Life of Kenneth Grahame" is by Matthew Dennison; the author of several critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, including "Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter."

Artists Joseph Mallord William Turner and John Constable rose to prominence as landscape painters in early nineteenth–century England. Their choices of subjects and the way in which they composed their views, together with innovative brushwork, helped elevate a traditionally overlooked genre.

The Clark’s exhibition “Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape” features more than fifty oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints and will be on view in Williamstown, Massachusetts through March 10. Curator Alexis Goodin leads us on a gallery tour.

Since the sixteenth century we have been fascinated by Henry the VIII and the man who stood beside him. Guiding him, enriching him, and enduring the Kings sensational appetites and violent outbursts untill Henry ordered his beheading in July 1540.

After a decade of sleuthing in the Royal Archives, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch has emerged with "Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life" A new understanding of Henry's machariel chief minister. History has not been kind to the son of a Putney brewer who became the architect of England's split with Rome. However, MacCulloch unveils a more sympathetic figure. Was Cromwell the villain of history or the victim of its creation? 

Apple Records former U.S. manager Ken Mansfield was the famous "man in the white coat" seen in footage of The Beatles' famous rooftop concert in 1969.

He was on the scene in the days, weeks, and months leading up to this monumental event. He shares his insights into the factors that brought them up onto that roof and why one of the greatest bands of all time left it all on that stage.

Ken Mansfield's book is "The Roof: The Beatles' Final Concert."

Rachel Kadish’s new novel The Weight of Ink is set in London. It is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect – one an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; the other an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

When Prince Harry of Wales took his American girlfriend, Meghan Markle, to have tea with his grandmother the queen, avid royal watchers had a hunch that a royal wedding was not far off. That prediction came true on November 27, 2017, when the twosome announced their engagement to the world. As they prepare to tie the knot in a stunning ceremony on May 19, 2018, that will be unprecedented in royal history, people are clamoring to know more about the beautiful American who captured Prince Harry’s heart.

In "American Princess," Leslie Carroll provides context to Harry and Meghan’s romance by leading readers through centuries of Britain’s rule-breaking royal marriages.

Thomas E. Ricks is an adviser on national security at the New America Foundation, where he participates in its "Future of War" project. He was previously a fellow at the Center for a New American Security and is a contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, for which he writes the prizewinning blog The Best Defense. A member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, he covered U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

His newest book, "Churchill and Orwell: The Fight For Freedom," is now available in paperback.

Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930's and if they'd died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time, Churchill was a politician on the outs and Orwell was a mildly successful novelist. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly against totalitarian threats.

Across the pond, Brits have scoffed that Americans are ruining the English language. Here in the U.S., Americans fawn over British accents and giggle at the preposterous syllables in gobsmacked and kerfuffle.

As an American linguist teaching in England, Professor Lynne Murphy is on the linguistic front line. In her new book, "The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English," she explores the fiction and reality of the special relationship between British and American English.

Acclaimed writers Madeleine Thien and Peter Ho Davies join us this week to share their stories of Chinese heritage and the human experience. Thien’s latest work is “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” and Peter Ho Davies’ novel is “The Fortunes.”

Robert Lacey is the historical consultant to the Netflix series "The Crown," having worked previously with Peter Morgan on his Oscar-winning movie "The Queen."

As a renowned British historian and the author of numerous international bestsellers, including "Majesty," his pioneering biography of Queen Elizabeth II, Robert has been writing about the Queen and her extraordinary life for more than 40 years.

Season 2 of "The Crown" will be on Netflix on 12/8. Lacey's new book is "The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955)."

In 1989, Ken Follett published the historical epic The Pillars of the Earth, a departure for the bestselling writer which was praised for its ambitious scope and unforgettable cast of characters. It reached #1 on bestseller lists around the world, and has since become Follett’s most popular novel.

Ten years ago, Oprah selected The Pillars of the Earth for her Book Club, and Follett published the second book in the Kingsbridge series, World Without End.  The two books in the series have sold 38 million copies.

The saga now continues with Follett’s new epic, A Column Of Fire, coming tomorrow, which will introduce readers to a world of spies and secret agents in the sixteenth century, the time of Queen Elizabeth I. 

A Column Of Fire begins in 1558 where the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love. We can read the book tomorrow – we talk with best-selling author Ken Follett this morning. 


  Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong has been doing so on Broadway since March of this year.

 

In the play, it’s opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines) - the mad-cap romp meticulously disintegrates at The Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play, The Play That Goes Wrong is directed by Mark Bell and written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. Lewis, Sayer, and Shields also star -- and two of the actor/co-creators -- Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer - sat down with us in New York City.

The terror attack in Northern England has reignited debate over national security.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Union College political science professor Brad Hays speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Caroline O'Connor and John Bolton in Anastasia
Joan Marcus

The new Broadway musical Anastasia features a book by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally and a lush, new score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak directs a cast that features Christy Altomare, Derek Klena, John Bolton, Ramin Karimloo, Tony Award nominee Mary Beth Piel, and our guest: Caroline O’Connor -- who has been nominated for a Drama League award and an Outer Critic Circle Award for her portrayal of Countess Lily.

This marks O’Connor’s third Broadway show - she’s performed on the West End, at the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Some of her signature roles include Edith Piaf, Judy Garland, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Anita in West Side Story and Mabel in Mack & Mabel.

She’s well known in certain circles for playing Nini in Baz Luhrman’s 2001 film, Moulin Rouge!

  On a hot summer day some twenty years after he was famously converted to kindness, Ebenezer Scrooge still roams the streets of London, spreading Christmas cheer, much to the annoyance of his creditors, nephew, and his employee Bob Cratchit. However, when Scrooge decides to help his old friend and former partner Jacob Marley, as well as other inhabitants of the city, he will need the assistance of the very people he’s annoyed. He’ll also have to call on the three ghosts that visited him two decades earlier. By the time they’re done, they’ve convinced everyone to celebrate Christmas all year long by opening their wallets, arms, and hearts to those around them.

Written in uncannily Dickensian prose, Charlie Lovett’s The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is both a loving and winking tribute to the Victorian classic, perfect for readers of A Christmas Carol and other timeless holiday tales.

Kenneth Clark's thirteen-part 1969 television series, Civilisation, established him as a globally admired figure. Clark was prescient in making this series: the upheavals of the century, the Cold War among others, convinced him of the power of barbarism and the fragility of culture. He would burnish his image with two memoirs that artfully omitted the more complicated details of his life.

Now, drawing on a vast, previously unseen archive, James Stourton reveals the formidable intellect and the private man behind the figure who effortlessly dominated the art world for more than half a century: his privileged upbringing, his interest in art history beginning at Oxford, his remarkable early successes.

At 27 he was keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean in Oxford and at 29, the youngest director of The National Gallery. During the war he arranged for its entire collection to be hidden in slate mines in Wales and organized packed concerts of classical music at the Gallery to keep up the spirits of Londoners during the bombing. WWII helped shape his belief that art should be brought to the widest audience, a social and moral position that would inform the rest of his career.

Simon McBurney in The Encounter
Robbie Jack

The Encounter - conceived of, directed by, and starring, Simon McBurney is currently running at the Golden Theater in New York City. McBurney is a multi-Olivier Award-winning, Tony and SAG Award-nominated actor, writer, director and one of Europe’s most original theater makers. He is co-founder and artistic director of Complicite.

The one-man play tells the true story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre in 1969 - lost in Brazil as he encounters the Mayoruna - a remote people whose ancient traditions are uninfluenced by the western world. In The Encounter, McBurney also shares the story of the creation of this unique piece of theater.

Molding and stretching the classic artform of storytelling, McBurney and The Encounter team use specific and immersive binaural audio technology and sound design. Each member of the audience wears headphones which create an experience that uses their ears to trick their brain into telling their body and comprehension that events are happening that - in reality - aren’t; a voice from over your shoulder, a mosquito in your face, a fire nearby, a warm breath a little too nearby.

  In 1961, a thief broke into the National Gallery in London and committed the most sensational art heist in British history. He stole the museum’s much prized painting, The Duke of Wellington by Francisco Goya. Despite unprecedented international attention and an unflagging investigation, the case was not solved for four years, and even then, only because the culprit came forward voluntarily. 

Alan Hirch's book is The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation.

  The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice promotes the human voice as an instrument of healing, peace and artistic expression through presenting world class performances in Phoenicia, New York and surrounding areas.

This year’s festival - running August 4th through the 7th – celebrates Shakespeare and the British Isles.

We are joined by world renowned opera singers, Executive Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director Louis Otey. 

Brexit - Tina Packer

Jun 24, 2016

  One of our favorite Brits, Tina Packer - founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA -  joins us to share her thoughts and feelings on the Referendum of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union.

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