2021 PROGRAMME

Big Book Weekend 2021 broadcast live for free on BBC Arts on 20-21 March. If you joined us, thank you and let us know what you thought! If you missed out, some sessions are still available for catch-up here, and the complete archive of sessions and transcripts will be uploaded to watch for free, here on bigbookweekend.com, very soon. in the meantime you can still see the full programme below or download our print-friendly PDF. More from us to come! ✨ 📚 🎉

March 20, 2021
10:30 am
Conversation

THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES: WHY WE LOVE A LIAR

Ian Rankin, Adele Parks, Alexandra Wilson, Alex Clark

The cheque’s in the post. I’m stuck in traffic. You look great in that. We tell lies all the time and hope nobody notices. But every time we lie, we give little clues away. What are those signs and how can we spot them? And why can’t we get enough of liars and unreliable narrators in our favourite stories? Three authors – one of crime fiction, one of domestic thrillers, the other a criminal barrister – discuss the art of deception, the differences between personal and professional lying, and how to spot a liar yourself.

March 20, 2021
12:00 pm
DEBATE

IS IT TIME TO BIN THE BOOKS ON PARENTING?

Candice Brathwaite, Gill Sims, Matt Coyne, DJ ACE

Dr Spock, Gina Ford, Philippa Perry… every new parent is bombarded with wisdom on the dos and don’ts of parenthood, with each expert contradicting the next. In a world glutted with books, blogs and Instagram posts, how do we learn from others’ experience and expertise without becoming overwhelmed, insecure and disconnected from our own instincts? Three authors confront the question: have we reached peak parenting advice?

March 20, 2021
1:30 pm
Conversation

NEW HEROES: A SEARCH FOR ROLE MODELS IN DIFFICULT TIMES

Irenosen Okojie, Frank Gardner, Shahidha Bari

Politics is broken. The arts is riddled with fallen heroes. With a new scandal breaking every day discrediting the great and the good, where can we look to for our new role models? Author Irenosen Okojie and BBC war correspondent Frank Gardner talk with Shahidha Bari about the characters – both real and fictional – that have inspired them, and discuss who they think should be held up as the inspiring icons of our troubled times.

 

March 20, 2021
3:00 pm
Conversation

HOW TO BE A MAN

Alex Wheatle, Russell Kane, Guvna B, DJ ACE

With gender roles collapsing, gender identities exploding and toxic masculinity being called out on social media daily, what does it mean nowadays to ‘be a man’? Bestselling author Alex Wheatle explores the challenges of modern masculinity with comedian Russell Kane and rapper Guvna B. Together they discuss the men who have shaped their lives, the values they live by, and the fictional and real role models they believe should inspire a new generation of boys.

March 20, 2021
4:30 pm
Conversation

THE SECRETS OF GOOD SEX

Bolu Babalola, Naoise Dolan, Kate Davies, Shahidha Bari

Sex in books is notoriously tricky. Who gets it right? And how do you write about love and romantic relationships without lapsing into sentimentality or cliché? Three authors discuss the challenges and joys of writing truthfully about love, relationships and sex – and which authors make them swipe right… or left.

March 20, 2021
6:00 pm
Interview

A BIG BOOK CHAT WITH… VAL MCDERMID

Val McDermid, Alex Clark

The queen of crime, Val McDermid, discusses the enduring appeal of crime fiction, her passion for reading and why she thinks we all need stories that get under our skin.

March 21, 2021
12:00 pm
DEBATE

BRITISH VILLAGE LIFE: HEAVEN OR HELL?

Ayisha Malik, Julie Ma, Amanda Craig, Alex Clark  

Covid has seen thousands of urbanites flee from our cities in search of a country idyll. But does village life live up to the hype? Is it a truly green and pleasant land where happy families raise prize-winning organic veg – or a hotbed of petty resentments populated by small-minded racists in wellington boots? Ayisha Malik, Julie Ma and Amanda Craig, who have all written novels set in rural Britain, discuss the realities of modern village life.

March 21, 2021
1:30 pm
Conversation

DIGGING IN: HOW OUR FOOD SHAPES OUR LIVES

Grace Dent, Ruby Tandoh, Jack Monroe, Shahidha Bari

What does the food we eat tell us about ourselves, our roots, and our society? Three brilliant food writers talk about their personal relationship to food – and how, whether we like it or not, what we put on our plate has become a political act.

March 21, 2021
3:00 pm
Interview

A BIG BOOK CHAT WITH… DOUGLAS STUART

Douglas Stuart, Alex Clark

This year’s Booker prize winner Douglas Stuart explains what it was like to grow up gay in a hard man’s world, explores why working-class stories matter, and discusses the power of a good teacher to save a lost kid’s life.

March 21, 2021
4:00 pm
Conversation

THESE BOOKS MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE: BRILLIANT READS FOR BLEAK TIMES

Ella Berthoud, Greg Davies, Molly Flatt

Ella Berthoud’s The Novel Cure offers reading remedies for all life’s aches and pains. She offers bibliotherapy to the actor and comedian Greg Davies and, with the help of Big Book Weekend co-founder Molly Flatt, asks viewers to share their problems and prescribes some extraordinary novels that might help us all navigate the dark days of lockdown.

March 21, 2021
5:00 pm
Interview

A BIG BOOK CHAT WITH…. SIR LENNY HENRY

Sir Lenny Henry, Kit de Waal

Legendary comedian and author Sir Lenny Henry talks to Big Book Weekend co-founder Kit de Waal about the books that have made him, the stories that he still wants to tell, and why we all have to get angry – and active – in improving the diversity of TV, films, books and beyond.

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