John Berger discusses Spinoza, drawing, Marxism, storytelling and his new book Bento's Sketchbook —"a book about looking at the actual world in which we live today, which is both horrific in many ways and also at moments incredibly beautiful" — with Gavin Esler for BBC Newsnight.
The Bristol Festival of Ideas announced today Dan Hind's The Return of the Public as the winner of its Best Book of Ideas prize, "awarded annually to the book which presents new, important and challenging ideas, and which is engaging, accessible and rigorously argued." The prize was announced as part of the sixth annual festival, which ends on 31 May. The prize, worth £7,500, is awarded in association with Arts & Business.
The Return of the Public beat five other shortlisted titles, which were: Kat Banyard's The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today; Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism; Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences; David Shenk's The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genes, Talent and Intelligence is Wrong; and Gary Younge's Who Are We - And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?
Andrew Kelly, festival director, said today:
The books submitted this year were of very high quality. It was difficult to select the shortlist and even harder to choose the outright winner, but, as always, it has been an exhilarating experience as well as a challenging one.
Dan Hind has emerged as a worthy successor to Nick Davies (2009) and Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson (2010). The Return of the Public offers both an analysis of and solutions to a crisis we currently face in our ability to engage in truly democratic decision making.
Specifically, Hind articulates the idea of a society that is informed by a news agenda developed by publically commissioned journalists and researchers which breaks free of the twin stranglehold of government spin and self-interested media corporations.
Visit The Return of the Public blog to read more by Dan Hind.
Radio New Zealand is broadcasting Tariq Ali's Douglas Robb lectures.
In a changing world with American military power transcending US economic weaknesses, the amazing rise of China and the continuing occupations in the Arab world and South Asia, what are the likely outcomes? Is it the case, as many argue, that the US empire is now in irretrievable decline? Will China flex its military muscles one day?
The bookshop at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem is known worldwide for being the best place to buy English-language bookshops in Israel or Palestine. Its owner Munther Fahmi has run the bookshop for 13 years, but now faces deportation despite being born in Jerusalem. In addition to the injustice of this, the closure of the bookshop would impoverish the cultural life of Jerusalem, and to debate and dissent in Israel. Please sign the petition to stop Munther being deported.
Munther Fahmi is a well-known figure in Jerusalem's diplomatic community and among the city's foreign press corps. A visit to his small bookstore at the American Colony Hotel is a must for anyone seeking to immerse himself in the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Among his many and well-known patrons are ambassadors, authors and politicians, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
But it appears all the connections in the world are no match for Israel's Interior Ministry, which is now seeking to have Fahmi deported.