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Reflecting on Love, Laughter and Friendship

Are we really looking for reflections of ourselves in love, friendship and through laughter? With Tracy Chevalier, Daniyal Mueenuddin and Sophie Scott.

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

Available now

41 minutes

Last on

Mon 17 Mar 2014 03:06GMT



  • Neuro-scientist Sophie Scott

    Why and how humans (and rats) laugh

    Duration: 14:49

  • Writer Daniyal Mueenuddin

    An exclusive reading from his new work-in-progress

    Duration: 08:11

  • Author Tracy Chevalier

    A good friend is crucial to my characters’ development

    Duration: 13:57

Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier

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

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

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

Presenter Tim Marlow

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


  • Sat 15 Mar 2014 22:06GMT
  • Sun 16 Mar 2014 10:06GMT
  • Mon 17 Mar 2014 03:06GMT