© 2019 Swindon Spring Festival


KENNETH BAKER – On the Seven Deadly Sins.


Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon SN1 4BJ
Tel: 01793 524481
12.30pm ~ 10th May ~ £9 (£8) 

Do you know what they are, the SDSs? Who still thinks of them, today? In their heyday, the Middle Ages, sinners really believed they’d go to Hell. Who thinks so now, when Envy can be seen as the mainstay of the global advertising industry encouraging everyone to improve their lives; Sloth can be seen as an amiable weakness; Gluttony less a sin and more a destructive ailment;  and as for Lust, well, it was ever thus.
In his lavishly illustrated and fascinating book, On the Seven Deadly Sins, Lord Kenneth Baker, former Cabinet Member, serving as Education and Home Secretary,  explores how Pride, Anger, Sloth, Envy, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust have shaped history since Greek and Roman times, and considers what they do today.

ALICE JOLLY – with a fictional found memoir that gives voice to silenced women of the past. 


Central Library, Regent Circus, Swindon SN1 1QG
Tel: 01793 466454
7pm ~ 10th May ~ £6 (£5) 

As the nineteenth century draws to a close, Mary Ann Sate, a maidservant, sets out to tell the truth. She writes of the place she loves and tells a story that brings to life a period of strife and rapid social change. It recreates history as seen from a woman’s perspective.
Alice Jolly, author of Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, is a novelist and playwright. She published a memoir in 2015 called Dead Babies and Seaside Towns which won the Pen Ackerley Prize.

Alice has been commissioned to write a short story for Swindon Reading Groups. This is a chance to meet her! 

‘O, had I but followed the arts!’, said W. Shakespeare. 

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PETE ETCHELLS – on why we play video games and the good they can do us.


Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon SN1 4BJ
Tel: 01793 524481
6.30pm ~ 10th May ~ £9 (£8) 

What is the chief attraction of the virtual world? Why are video games so popular? What do they really mean to us? Is the World Health Organisation right or wrong to classify ‘game addiction’ as a danger to public health? Under what area of popular culture should we classify video games, harmful or beneficial?
Dr Pete Etchells is Reader in Psychology and Science Communication at Bath Spa University. In his book Lost in a Good Game, he journeys through the history and development of video games – from Turing’s chess machine to mass multiplayer online games, and looks into the highs and lows of playing and players’ relationships with games. 

DOUBLE TICKET for Pete Etchells and Mike Berners-Lee ~ £15

MIKE BERNERS-LEE – on what we should do to live better and well.

Presented in association with the Swindon Philosophical Society and Swindon Climate Action Network.

Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Swindon SN1 4BJ
Tel: 01793 524481
8pm ~ 10th May ~ £9 (£8) 

We have the chance to live better than ever before. But, as we become ever more powerful and ‘advanced’, can we avoid blundering into disaster?
Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics – the list of concerns seems endless. But what is most pressing and what should we do first? Do we all need to become

vegetarian? How can we fly in a low-carbon world? Should we frack? How can we take control of technology? Does it all come down to population? And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do? 
Fortunately, in his book There is No Planet B Mike Berners-Lee, professor and fellow of the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University and director of Small World Consulting, has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is practical and even enjoyable.