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The Cambridge Literary Festival’s winter edition, in association with the New Statesman, features Booker Prize-winners and shortlistees (Roddy Doyle, Ben Okri, Fiona Mozley, Ali Smith), sharp-tongued comedians (Armanda Iannucci, Sarah Milican), sporting and music legends (Henry Blofeld, Brian Eno) and political pundits (Evan Davis, Matthew d’Ancona), as well as the highlights below, chaired by New Statesman staff. The full line-up is here.
How to Stop Brexit
7-8pm | The Babbage Lecture Theatre | £15/£10
Brexit is the most divisive issue the UK has faced in recent years and extricating Britain from Europe will be the greatest challenge it has faced since the Second World War. As EU negotiations expose the hollow referendum promises many Brexiteers now wish to reverse their decision. Join former Leader of the Liberal Democrats and one of the UK’s most outspoken Remainers, Nick Clegg, as he makes the case for why we must and how we can stop Brexit. Can we really pull together in response to this challenge, re-unite our country and prevent national decline? Come along and find out. Chaired by Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor, New Statesman. Book tickets.
12-1pm | Union Chamber | £15/£10
From Footlights to Peep Show to national newspaper columnist, Robert Webb is a household name. Join him in conversation with Helen Lewis of the New Statesman as he looks back over his life and shares his thoughts on masculinity and manhood. From schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) and learning to make people laugh, to losing his mother and becoming both a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life. Heartbreakingly funny. Book tickets.
A Life of My Own
12-1pm | Palmerston Room | £13/£10
Having covered most of the literary greats including Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft – acclaimed literary biographer Claire Tomalin now shines the spotlight on her own fascinating life. Come and see what happens when the tables are turned. In conversation with Tom Gatti, Culture Editor, New Statesman. Book tickets.
Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker
10-11am | Old Divinity School | £10/£8
Award-winning biographer and celebrated novelist, A. N. Wilson, presents his radical reappraisal of the most controversial scientist of modern times. In Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker,Wilson tells the story of a charming, shy naturalist who arguably created a myth as powerful as the Bible, at the same time reflecting on the intellectual life of the West over the last two centuries. Join us at the evolution of a stimulating and controversial conversation. In conversation with Michael Prodger, Assistant Editor, New Statesman. Book tickets.
Jess Phillips, Steve Richards & Johnny Mercer
New Statesman Politics Briefing Room
10-11am | Union Chamber | £12/£10
What’s the future of the Labour party under Corbyn? How long will Theresa May hang on? And where the hell is Brexit taking us? The New Statesman Deputy Editor Helen Lewis will be joined by Labour MP Jess Phillips (author of Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth), Conservative MP and former Army officer Johnny Mercer (author of We Were Warriors: One Soldier's Story of Brutal Combat) and the broadcaster and commentator Steve Richards (author of The Rise of the Outsiders: How Mainstream Politics Lost its Way) to discuss these and the other burning political issues of the day. Book tickets.
The Man Who Built The Brooklyn Bridge
11.30am-12.30pm | Old Divinity School | £10/£8
The Brooklyn Bridge, now over 130 years old, is loved and recognised around the world. It is as much a part of New York as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Yet iconic though it is, its builder is almost forgotten. New Statesman contributing editor, former Literary Editor of The Times and twice a judge of the Man Booker Prize, Erica Wagner, brings to life one of the heroes of American civil engineering, Washington Roebling. In conversation with author and Festival Patron Ali Smith. Book tickets.
The Goldsmiths Prize
5.30-6.30pm | Old Divinity School | £10/£8
What does it mean for fiction to be ‘daring’? Why should writers try to push the boundaries of the novel? The Goldsmiths Prize was co-founded by Goldsmiths University and the New Statesman in 2013 to reward ‘fiction at its most novel’ – the prize has so far been awarded to Eimear McBride, Ali Smith, Kevin Barry and Mike McCormack. The 2017 winner – to be chosen from a shortlist inlcuding Will Self, Nicola Barker and Jon McGregor – will be announced on 15 November. Join them, in discussion with Tom Gatti, Culture Editor of the New Statesman, to talk about this year’s most exciting new fiction. Book tickets.