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This week in Tortoise: Morpurgo, Pinker, and ThinkIns galore

This week in Tortoise: Morpurgo, Pinker, and ThinkIns galore

The ThinkIn, we like to say, is the engine of our journalism. An exercise in organised listening. An attempt at understanding together. This week, we hope to do plenty of that.

It begins with a conversation with the children’s author Michael Morpurgo, who wrote, of course, War Horse and also last month’s When Fishes Flew. It’s at 6.30pm BST tonight in our newsroom at 22 Berners Street, London – and, of course, you can join digitally too. All ages welcome.

Tomorrow night at 6.30pm, we hold our Open News meeting. We’ll talk about the institution of the Catholic Church, to which an Anglican bishop recently defected, just as a report estimates that, in France, some 216,000 children have been sexually abused by its priests since 1950. We hope that we’ll also talk about the stories and issues you bring to the meeting.

Then, on Wednesday morning at 8.30am, Steven Pinker, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and fact-based optimists, will drop by to talk about nothing less than rationality – what it is and why it matters. Later, on Wednesday evening, Helen Joyce and Julie Burchill will join us to discuss another big subject: pulp and be damned – are we living in a new era of censorship in publishing?

As always, these in-person ThinkIns will also be available digitally: so even if you can’t come to our newsroom physically, you can join us live on Zoom – or even watch the video afterwards.

Besides, there are two ThinkIns this week that will be digital-only. On Thursday, we’ll speak to Fiona Hill, the foreign policy advisor respected for her knowledge of Russia and lionised after testifying in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. And on Friday, ten days from the start of the Cop 26 summit in Glasgow, we discuss one of the key questions on the road to Net Zero: can Asia kick its coal addiction?

As part of our new Friend of Tortoise membership tier – to which you can upgrade here – a number of our members and editors will be off later this week to a private preview screening of Wes Anderson’s new film, The French Dispatch, followed by a visit to a set recreation and drinks at a very Parisian-style cafe. You can view details of that screening here.

Whichever membership tier you belong to, you’ll always get advance, ad-free access to our podcasts from within the Tortoise app – so please do listen out for the latest episode of our Slow Newscast, Circus: The Tragedy of Gabby Petito, which we’ll publish tomorrow in the app and on our website. It concerns the murder of a social media star who went missing while travelling across America during the summer, and the dreadful failures of policing that have occurred since, as well as the often-counterproductive ways social media communities have tried to intervene in the case.

Finally, the bittersweet task of saying farewell to our cartoonist Edith Pritchett, who is in her last week with us before joining the GuardianBitter because, over the course of almost three years, Edith, her near-daily cartoons and the colourful explosion that she calls a desk have become such an intrinsic part of Tortoise – and we shall miss her greatly. Sweet because we’ll all still get to laugh at her gags in the paper where one of Edith’s heroes, Posy Simmonds, cartooned for so many years.

If I could, I’d capture the feeling in a Venn Diagram. But, failing that, all I can say from all of us is a big thank you to Edith.

Wishing you a very good week.

Allbest.

James Harding
Editor & co-founder