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Event: Top line-up at Cambridge Literary Festival

Join the literati glitterati this month at the much-loved Cambridge Literary Festival. Velvet previews five events

Breadsong – Kitty and Al Tait

Saturday 23 April, 4-5pm, University Arms

Enjoy the uplifting account of how baking transformed the lives of father and daughter Al and Kitty Tait. Breadsong shares the story of Kitty who had been a chatty and full-of-life 14-year-old until an onslaught of depression and anxiety caused her to withdraw from the world. All changed the day that Kitty and her dad, Al, mixed together flour, water, yeast and salt to turn it into something magical that changed everything – Kitty had learnt to bake bread. Enjoy the bread-making duo chatting to food writer Bee Wilson about the past and present – which includes The Orange Bakery that father and daughter now run in their hometown of Watlington.

Soar: My Journey from Council Estate to the House of Lords – Simon Woolley

Thursday 21 April, 8-9pm, University Arms

When Simon Woolley became Head of Homerton College, Cambridge on 1 October 2021, he also became the first Black man to head an Oxbridge College. Soar tells his exceptional story from his upbringing raised by loving white foster parents on an impoverished council estate in Leicester, to becoming a member of the House of Lords in 2019. Join Simon and critic Alex Clark in this reflection on remaining positive despite the challenges of institutional racism, honouring heritage and being your own role model when no others have been available to you.

39 Ways to Save the Planet –Tom Heap

Friday 22 April, 2-3pm, Baillie Gifford Stage at The Old Divinity School

Hear inspiring discussion about real world solutions to climate change. Tom Heap, the creator and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s flagship climate change podcast introduces his new and optimistic climate book that highlights the ingenuity and resourcefulness of humanity. This is just the job for anyone in need of a climate pick-me-up by shining a light on solutions to reducing climate change across energy, nature, farming, society, transport, waste and industry. Come and hear Tom talk about what we can really do to save the planet with New Statesman’s Environment Correspondent, India Bourke.

Intact – Clare Chambers

Saturday 23 April, 2-3pm, Baillie Gifford Stage at The Old Divinity School

Clare Chambers, Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, speaks in defence of the unmodified body making a passionate case for why loving the body we were born with is a radical act and the body a site of political importance. In her book Intact, she asks ‘What would it take for your body to be good enough?’ analysing the power dynamics of a society that pressure us to alter our bodies, filter our photographs and surgically-enhance our features. Professor Chambers will be in conversation with Rachel Cunliffe, Senior Associate Editor, New Statesman.

Some Body to Love – Alexandra Heminsley

Saturday 23 April, 6-7pm, University Arms

The author of Some Body to Love is familiar with overcoming challenges – and writing about the process. Previous examples include Running Like a Girl, where she addressed her dislike of exercise to become a successful runner and Leap in where she gets to grips with wild swimming. This latest book wasn’t quite as expected – shortly after the birth of her first child, Alexandra was told that her then husband was going to transition. Some Body to Love is a memoir about losing a husband but gaining a best friend. Alexandra is in conversation with Claire Armistead.

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