With the winter edition of Cambridge Literary Festival soon to land, Miriam Balanescu catches up with speakers Kate Mosse, Seirian Sumner and Abi Morgan, to hear more about their new books
November is always a good time to nestle in with a new read. As the days get shorter and the evenings longer, there are few better ways to spend them than with a book. For those seeking their next read, the Winter Cambridge Literary Festival, from 17 to 20 November, is a stomping ground for leading literary lights and up-and-coming authors.
“We’re always on the lookout for astonishing writers and any important conversations across genres,” says festival director Cathy Moore, “and this winter we have both in abundance.”
With household names such as Nadiya Hussain and Hugh Bonneville on their roster, as well as giants of the literary world Ian McEwan and Kamila Shamsie, this year’s edition won’t disappoint. The ever-evolving festival brings an exciting new line-up in the opulent surroundings of the University Arms, including a lunch, soirée and afternoon tea – providing an opportunity to sit down with your favourite authors while tucking into delicious food.
“Cambridge is a honeypot for brilliant, creative and unique minds,” Cathy says. “It’s an inspiring place to live and has a thriving local scene of which the Literary Festival plays a significant role.”
Taking Out the Sting
Wasps, compared to beloved counterparts bees, seem to be universally maligned – even though they beat them to existence by 100 million years and carry out vital pollination. It’s an entrenched attitude Seirian Sumner, professor of behavioural ecology at University College London, is trying to budge.
“The reason we don’t like wasps is because we don’t really have a good understanding of what they do,” says Seirian. “People looking for something that’s unattractive and unpopular – they come back to wasps all the time.”
Through her first non-academic work, Endless Forms: The Secret World of Wasps, Seirian is hoping to persuade readers otherwise. “I’ve wanted to write a book for about ten years, and have always had a vested interest in trying to break down those barriers between scientists and the public,” she says on her various projects, as well as talks, which spread the word about wasps. “The power of a bit of information could persuade people that they should be looking more favourably on these insects. I realised I could change people’s perceptions, but didn’t want to be doing that one village hall at a time.” […]
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