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Reflecting on Love, Laughter and Friendship

44 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 15 March 2014

This week The Forum is at the London School of Economics as part of their Space for Thought Festival 2014, and we’re playing it for laughs, with a little heart-ache thrown in. Tim Marlow is joined by award-winning writers Tracy Chevalier and Daniyal Mueenuddin, who both read from their most recent work; and by neuroscientist and part-time stand-up comedienne Professor Sophie Scott, who explains why and how we laugh. We also hear the views (and the giggles) of an international audience in the Sheikh Zayed Theatre.

Photos by Nigel Stead


3 items
  • Tracy Chevalier

    Tracy Chevalier - photo by Nigel Stead

    Tracy Chevalier is the author of 7 novels. Her second novel, Girl with a Pearl Earring, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, sold 4 million copies worldwide, and was made into a film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.  Her characters often strike up unlikely friendships, and in her most recent novel The Last Runaway, a young Quaker woman who comes to make a new life in the US in the 19th century makes friends with an outspoken milliner.

    Photo by Nigel Stead

  • Sophie Scott

    Sophie Scott - photo by Nigel Stead

    Sophie Scott is Professor of Psychology at University College London, where she is also Deputy Director of the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience.  Her work addresses the neurobiology of human vocal behaviour and vocal communication from sound to speech.  She’s very interested in laughter as the only positive universal human emotion, and says that wherever laughter is seen, it is associated with bonding, and it seems to be a very important signal of positive social interactions.

    Photo by Nigel Stead

  • Daniyal Mueenuddin

    Daniyal Mueenuddin - photo by Nigel Stead

    Daniyal Mueenuddin is a writer and farm-owner who was brought up in Lahore, Pakistan and Elroy, Wisconsin.  He won the 2010 The Story Prize, for his debut short story collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, most of which were set in Pakistan, but he’s currently writing a novel based in the United States.  Love is a major theme in his work, and he’s particularly interested in the complications of love, and the imbalances in power in a romantic relationship.

    Photo by Nigel Stead


  • Presenter Tim Marlow

    Tim Marlow - photo by Nigel Stead

    Presenter Tim Marlow.

    Photo by Nigel Stead

  • In Next Week’s Programme:

    Social Mobility: does it really exist? With Gregory Clark, Thomas Piketty & Alan Bairner


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