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The Charleston Festival follows, from 20-30 May. See www.charleston.org.uk. Highlights (taken from a Festival e-mail and the website) include:

  • an appearance by Sir Tim Berners-Lee;
  • Jeanette Winterson on The Gap of Time, her response to Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Echoing the original play, the book is a contemporary story of betrayal, paranoia and redemption. We are to expect a zestful performance;
  • Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, cosmologist and space scientist, and Ian McEwan, one of our most science-savvy novelists, discuss the future of our planet;
  • Award-winning author, Rose Tremain, talks about her new novel, set in the lead-up to WW2. The Gustav Sonata revolves around the relationship between two Swiss boys and follows them through to old age;
  • Jane Austen versus Charlotte Brontë: who better to try to resolve the contest than Claire Harman, current biographer of Charlotte Brontë and John Mullan, Professor of English Literature and author of What Matters in Jane Austen? The audience will have the final say. Moderator Virginia Nicholson, social historian, will be entirely impartial.