You're viewing an archived page from a previous Festival of Ideas. See this year's festival »
Parenting and marriage in the modern world can be overwhelming concepts. While Zoe Williams explores the never-ending and intense parenting advice that divides everyone from psychologists and politicians to scientists and salesmen, leaving the parents themselves with a terrible headache as a result. Tim Dowling, a husband of some twenty years, asks what it takes to make a husband, and looks to his own married life to provide the answer.*
*Anything resembling advice should be taken at the viewer’s own risk.
Journalist Tim Dowling was born in Connecticut and moved to the UK at the age of 29. He is the author of four books (so far) including a novel, The Giles Wareing Haters' Club. For the last five and a half years his popular weekly Guardian column has charted the ups and downs of family life, and his largely unsuccessful attempts to be recognised as a competent father and husband, combining self-deprecating humour with a perverse optimism.
Zoe Williams was born in 1973 in London. She attended Godolphin and Latymer school in Hammersmith and went on to read modern history at Lincoln college, Oxford. She currently lives in Camberwell with her partner and their son and daughter.
Williams is a columnist for the Guardian, Spectator and New Statesman. She is most well known for her political and cultural commentary, but her journalism extends into popular culture, parenting, and transport with publications in Now! magazine, London Cyclist, and the Evening Standard. She has also worked as a restaurant reviewer for the Sunday Telegraph.
Prior to meeting her current partner Williams wrote 'Diary of a single woman' as a regular column for the Guardian. Since having children Williams has published her first book What not to expect when you're expecting, which emerged out of her 'Anti-natal' column. Originally published in 2010 under the title Bringing it on Baby, the republication of the book in 2012 under the new title brought it critical acclaim.
In addition to her prolific journalistic contributions, Williams also makes regular television and radio appearances. Her participation in the BBC 4 documentary 'Teenage kicks: the search for sophistication' was praised by Clive James as "A short piece to camera that was almost an Aria". Williams also presented the radio documentary 'Inside Academy school revolution', and BBC Radio 4's 'What the papers say'.
A supporter of the British Humanist Association, Williams describes her political views as left wing, and also tackles feminist issues in much of her writing. When asked about her chosen profession, Williams described writing as an accident rather than a choice - "Everyone grows up writing. Writers are just people that don't stop".
Williams' career continues to grow, and in 2012 she was long-listed for the Orwell prize. In 2010 she was named columnist of the year at the Workworld media awards.