Hay in a day #hayinaday

Day 9 #hayinaday

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 00:51:00 +0100


Sun, 05 Jun 2016 18:52:00 +0100

Speaking about his late wife Linda, to whom he was married for 59 years, Tom Jones welled up with tears. She passed away eight weeks ago to the day. “I realised that she's always been very important to me, throughout my life, but I now I realise she might have been the most important thing in my life – and she still is.”


Sun, 05 Jun 2016 16:19:00 +0100

Award winning author David Mitchell mesmerised Hay-goers with the hauntingly beautiful words in his novel ‘Slade House’. His rhythmic poetry, which he describes as “word-nerdery”, sparked conversation on language, imagination, morality and ‘Star Wars’. “Fiction is a harmless, accident-proof playground for thought experiments. Art can be found anywhere and shouldn’t be pigeonholed,” he said.


Sun, 05 Jun 2016 16:18:00 +0100

Italian Instagram gastro star, Eleonora Galasso, cooked her famous meatballs on stage on the hottest day of the year and revealed the secrets of some of ther recipes in her book, ‘La Dolce Vita’. A ll the ingredients for their cooking session were sourced from local delis, meaning the interactive flavour fusion was a true cultural coming together of Mid Wales and rustic Rome.


Sun, 05 Jun 2016 15:23:00 +0100

What happens after Happily Ever After? “Love is no more complicated than landing a plane or performing surgery,” said author and essayist Alain de Botton at a Hay Festival event. His latest novel, ‘The Course of Love’, is his first in 20 years, and is as much a work of philosophy as fiction.

A most unusual election

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 14:35:00 +0100

Is this the most unusual American Presidential election in history? This was the theme of a lively debate at Hay Festival. “In America usual is the unusual; we have a track record for unusual elections. Is it the most unusual in recent history? Yes. Social media has contributed to a seismic shift and the way candidates now communicate with the public. Clinton, a woman, is also a candidate which in itself is an unusual thing.” – Sarah Churchwell, Professor of American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities at University of East Anglia (pictured).

Sex by Numbers

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 14:34:00 +0100

Sex is a delightful activity that we love to talk about, but are we getting enough of it? “Today you’re going to get the numbers,” David Speigelhalter told the Hay Festival. The statistician has pulled together data from research into sex to answer all our erotic quandaries with hard facts. If you couldn’t make it to Hay, be sure to pick up a copy of ‘Sex by Numbers’, and get statistically sex-wise.

My Family and Other Communists

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 14:18:00 +0100

“Communism offered a series of answers for my father,” journalist David Aaronovitch told a Hay Festival audience in a talk on his new book, ‘Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists’. Both Aaronovitch’s parents were staunch Communists, and the book explores the ups and downs of his upbringing. “We knew whose side we’d been on in every struggle going back to the cavemen, and we thought all the things we supported were good things to support. Everybody bought in, and it was constant politics.”


Sun, 05 Jun 2016 14:05:00 +0100

“There is no shortcut to skill. Building is necessary,” said Anders Ericsson, author of ‘Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise’. His book explores the idea of the expert and discusses whether it is the innate talent of an individual, or the relentless practice devoted to their craft, that leads to success.

Near and Distant Neighbour

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 14:05:00 +0100

We still don’t know the identity of Stalin’s most prolific British spy, revealed historian Jonathan Haslam, at the Hay Festival. Although Guy Burgess, Kim Philby and Donald Maclean have passed into popular folklore for their treachery against Britain on behalf of the Soviet Union, it was really “Agent Dolly” who provided the most documents, while working in the War Office in the 1940s.


Sun, 05 Jun 2016 13:10:00 +0100

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North-East Somerset said in the Brexit event at Hay: “The fundamental reason I want to leave the EU is democracy. Currently, we are constrained by the unelected commission of the EU. This is the big question: is your country the heavy-handed autocracy of the EU? Or is it the democratic United Kingdom where you get to choose your government?”


Sun, 05 Jun 2016 13:04:00 +0100

In his book, ‘How Did We Get Into This Mess?’, George Monbiot argues that you can’t give someone freedom without taking it away from someone else. Freedom from regulations results in poisoned rivers; freedom from taxes results in a lack of redistribution of wealth; freedom from trade unions results in exploitation of the workforce.

Bestsellers 4 June

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 11:12:00 +0100

The bestsellers in the Hay Festival Bookshop on Saturday 4 June were:

  • 1. ‘Caspar Lee’ by Caspar Lee
  • 2. ‘Doodle A Day’ by Chris Riddell
  • 3. ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’ by Michael Morpurgo
  • 4. ‘The Bolds to the Rescue’ by Julian Clary and David Roberts
  • 5. ‘Girl on a Plane’ by Miriam Moss


  • 1. ‘The Gap of Time’ by Jeanette Winterson
  • 2. ‘Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age’ by Tom Fletcher
  • 3. ‘The Lightless Sky: An Afghan Refugee Boy’s Journey of Escape to a New Life in Britain’ by Gulwali Passarlay
  • 4. ‘Moonstone, The Boy Who Never Was’ by Sjon
  • 5. ‘Redeemable’ by Erwin James

The Health Gap

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 10:36:00 +0100

“Anyone can start from Chapter One, I’m going to start from Chapter Six,” Professor Michael Marmot told a Hay Festival audience, keen on getting to the nitty gritty of his profound data analysis. His most recent book ‘The Health Gap’, is rich in detail about the social intricacies across cultures that lead to unequal healthcare. For a decade, he has been collecting information to support his view that our health is often a function of our social class. “We are all involved,” he said.

Mad Girl

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 10:35:00 +0100

Bryony Gordon told a Hay Festival audience she had grown up dreaming the dreams of an average girl, like marrying a member of Take That. But her life did not work out as average, since she suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, bulimia and depression. ‘Mad Girl’ is the successful journalist’s raw memoir about her constant battle with her mental health and her journey to self-acceptance.

Frears at Hay

Sun, 05 Jun 2016 09:59:00 +0100

As Rosie Boycott introduced “arguably the greatest Director we have in Britain” at the Hay Festival, Stephen Frears buried his head in his hands and humorously replied: “what a ridiculous claim”. They poignantly began their discussion with a video commemorating Muhammed Ali, then went on to discuss Frears’ personal connection with the boxer (the subject of his 2013 film, ‘Muhammed Ali’s Greatest Fight’, about Ali’s refusal to fight in the Vietnam war).


Sat, 04 Jun 2016 20:25:00 +0100

“The UK is the only country in the EU that allows indefinite detention,” poet and teacher David Herd at Hay. A collaborative project, ‘Refugee Tales’ is an anthology of stories from detainees as told to writers, inspired by the format of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. Maintaining the comparison, there will be a five-day walk from Canterbury to Westminster, 3-8 July, when tales will be read at overnight stops. The walk is open to everyone to join; visit refugeetales.org.

Censorship and the bard

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 20:08:00 +0100

Shakespeare gave us some of our greatest works in drama and politics. But how have adaptations of ‘Hamlet’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and others challenged our prejudices? How have centuries of censorship revealed contemporary political thinking, both in the UK and across the world? To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Hay Festival in partnership with Index on Censorship explored Shakespeare’s politics and how they had been reflected over the years in theatrical adaptations.


Sat, 04 Jun 2016 20:07:00 +0100

"Slow Fashion is about quality, not speed,” said Safia Minney, pioneer of ethical fashion and founder of the People Tree brand. "As consumers we can buy more second-hand, upcycled and vintage items, and with the money we’ve saved buy sustainably produced clothes. Fast fashion is not fast. Polyester, for example, is made from oil, which takes a long time to process, at a cost to the climate and the land.” 'Slow Fashion' is also the title of her book.

The Idealist?

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 20:06:00 +0100

“When asked about the idea of writing Henry Kissinger’s biography, I hesitated,” Niall Ferguson, historian and author of ‘Kissinger: The Idealist, 1923-1968’, told the Hay Festival. “I was at a drinks party in London, and suddenly I was introduced to Kissinger, and he said the one thing that puts any young academic writer at ease – ‘I’ve read one of your books’."

Be careful online

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 18:08:00 +0100

“The computer was born to spy,” Gordon Corera told his eager audience at the Hay Festival. In a fascinating talk, Corera mapped out the ever-evolving world of computing, taking us from World War One to Bletchley Park to iPhones and finally to terror groups such as ISIS and how they use the internet to their advantage.

Hay Medal for Doran

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 17:22:00 +0100

Gregory Doran described Shakespeare to a Hay Festival crowd as having been the “great passport of life”. Doran’s engaging and lively talk ended with him being presented the Hay Festival Medal for Drama; an award that reflects his inexhaustible originality and his enthusiasm and passion for Shakespeare. Find other Hay Shakespeare events here.


Sat, 04 Jun 2016 17:22:00 +0100

Talking about Shakespeare, Jeanette Winterson commented on the lack of great parts for actresses today, whereas Shakespeare was way ahead in depicting strong women, evil women and larger-than-life women – Goneril and Regan “hyenas in lipstick”, Lady Macbeth, Mistress Quickly. This despite the fact that female characters were played by males, as women were banned from the stage. She quoted a view that “The only good marriage in Shakespeare is the Macbeths – at least they talk to each other”.

Stonehenge revealed!

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 17:21:00 +0100

An enraptured Hay Festival crowd joined Mike Parker Pearson as he explored the latest research into the mysterious Stonehenge; a site that has entranced and enchanted generations. Parker Pearson revealed that some of the stones have been tested and their exact origin found. This origin happens to be…you guessed it; WALES! Some of the stones came from Carn Goedog in Pembrokeshire.

Clary comes to Hay

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 17:15:00 +0100

There’s nothing wilder than a child’s imagination, as entertainer-cum-writer Julian Clary demonstrated when talking about his latest novel, ‘The Bolds to the Rescue’. Speaking at this year’s Hay Festival, Clary explained how he came to create The Bolds, the tale of two hyenas who disguise themselves as humans and escape from Africa. Find more children’s events here.

Wicked Boy

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 16:19:00 +0100

“Dark, deceitful and dishonest”. This is the description of the Coombes family, from one of its neighbours. Thirteen-year-old Robert pleaded guilty to the 1895 murder of his mother, whose corpse rotted in their house for ten days while their father was away at sea. Intrigued by the puzzling juvenile criminal, award-winning author Kate Summerscale investigated the thrilling tale in her book ‘The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer’, and came to the Hay Festival to talk about it.

The Pier Falls

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 16:06:00 +0100

“Fiction allows you to live out these fantasies,” said Mark Haddon, author of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ and ‘The Red House’. He came to the Hay Festival to discuss his latest work, ‘The Pier Falls: And Other Stories’, a book comprised of nine individual short stories. Find more of the festival’s literature events here.

Morpurgo and Friends

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 15:14:00 +0100

Michael Morpurgo was joined on stage by actress Natalie Walter, award-winning cappella group ‘Voices at the Door’, and his wife Clare, as he gave the audience at the Hay Festival an interactive, fun-filled performance of his much loved story, ‘Where My Wellies Take Me’. Find other children's events here.

Gordon Brown in Hay

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 14:34:00 +0100

Gordon Brown came to the Hay Festival to make a “positive, progressive, patriotic, yes, and principled” argument for Britain to remain in the European Union. In a wide-ranging, fluent and witty speech that ranged from Nelson Mandela and Amy Winehouse, to Albert Einstein and Margaret Thatcher, he argued passionately for cooperation with the world. Find more Europe events here.

My Precious!

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 12:22:00 +0100

When Chris Riddell became Children’s Laureate, he received a medal. “I keep my medal on my mantelpiece,” he said. “And if I ever need encouragement, I’ll just go up and stroke it. I might even say ‘My Precious’.” Riddell entertained a Hay Festival crowd by live-drawing the answers to questions written and submitted by the children. Find more of our children's events here.

A Lightless Sky

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 12:21:00 +0100

Listening to Gulwali Passarlay, you’d be mistaken for thinking his heart-wrenching tales of sleeping in chicken coops, being hung upside down from an upper-storey window and regularly beaten by policemen was a work of fiction. It’s not. Passarlay came to the Hay Festival to describe the very real journey he made to reach safety in the UK, and which thousands of refugees are making every day.

The Lubetkin Legacy

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 12:04:00 +0100

“If it doesn’t make you laugh, you can have your money back!” said Marina Lewycka, award-winning author of ‘A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian’. Hay-goers were treated to a reading from her new book ‘The Lubetkin Legacy’, a twin narrative which caused laughter at every pause. Find more of our literature events here.

Shazia Mirza at Hay!

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 11:53:00 +0100

Comedian Shazia Mirza had the audience in stitches at the Hay Festival as she performed her stand-up routine, ‘The Kardashians Made Me Do It’. Mirza explored being brought up a Muslim and the pressure to marry. She described how a friend asked her if she’d ever considered becoming a Jihadi bride, to which Mirza replied: “they wouldn’t have me, they’re not looking for an in-house comedian”.

Remembering Christopher Hitchens

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 11:44:00 +0100

Rocking up at the Hay Festival in a t-shirt and tracksuit, outspoken journalist David Aaronovitch opened his talk with an apology: “I hope you’ll excuse the lack of tuxedo, but I am very glad to see that a great proportion of you are even worse dressed than I am”. He was in Hay to deliver the annual ‘Christopher Hitchens Lecture’, and gave a heart-felt tribute to the close friend after whom the talk is named.

Tom Bullough at Hay

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 11:37:00 +0100

“A book evolves really. You discover it as you go along,” said Tom Bullough of his writing process. He was speaking at the Hay Festival about his latest novel ‘Addlands’. The epic novel spans seventy years, from January 1941 to December 2011, and tells the story of two generations of the Hamer family working on the Funnon Farm in Radnorshire. The audience were treated to a selection of readings from ‘Addlands’, centred around Oliver, the novel’s main character.

Bestsellers 3 June

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 11:35:00 +0100

The bestsellers in the Hay Festival Bookshop on Friday 3 June were:

  • 1. ‘Private Peaceful’ by Michael Morpurgo
  • 2. ‘Supertato Veggies Assemble’ by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
  • 3. ‘The Shadow Keeper’ by Abi Elphinstone
  • 4. ‘Strange Star’ by Emma Carroll
  • 5. ‘My Brother Is A Superhero’ by David Solomons


  • 1. ‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates
  • 2. ‘The Silk Roads: A New History of the World’ by Peter Frankopan
  • 3. ‘Friend For Life: The Extraordinary Partnership Between Humans and Dogs’ by Kate Humble
  • 4. ‘Not In Your Genes: The Real Reasons Children Are Like Their Parents’ by Oliver James
  • 5. ‘Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation’ by James Runcie


Sat, 04 Jun 2016 11:33:00 +0100

Book lovers who are also singletons were given a boost to their prospects at a Country Living event on dating in the countryside at Hay Festival. The magazine that launched The Farmer Wants a Wife campaign 15 years ago, resulting in 18 marriages and 20 babies, has entered the digital world with their new dating website, country-loving.co.uk. On the panel giving advice were (from left) Catherine Gee, Lucy Pinney (aka Imogen Green in Country Living Magazine), Bridget Manzoor and Duncan Cunningham of The Dating Lab.


Fri, 03 Jun 2016 20:56:00 +0100

William Sitwell, author of ‘Eggs or Anarchy’, believes that “The Second World War was not a government victory; it was a Lord Woolton victory”. He was a “master of PR, an intelligent retailer and a sharp tradesman,” he said to Rosie Boycott, journalist and Mayor of London's Food Advisor.

‘Poetry Pie’

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 20:42:00 +0100

Veteran poet Roger McGough’s latest release ‘Poetry Pie’ is a whimsical collection of over 50 poems for children. Ranging from food, animals, school, the earth and many more. Wit, wisdom and wordplay galore. Find more poetry events here.

Standard Issue

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 20:41:00 +0100

The media isn’t always a nice place for women, as award-winning comedian Sarah Millican found out at the BAFTAs a couple of years ago. Millican was the victim of an onslaught of abuse for her choice of outfit, and it was then the penny dropped: “They weren’t celebrating the awards (that women won), but celebrating their dress sense,” Millican said at the Hay Festival. Find more gender-themed and comedy events.

Bruno the Hero

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 20:40:00 +0100

Giordano Bruno was a “hero of free speech”, according to SJ Parris about the historical figure who she brings to life in her series of thrilling novels. Bruno was indeed a champion of free speech, which led to him challenging the Catholic Church’s view of the universe which tragically resulted in him paying “the ultimate price for freedom of ideas” – being burnt at the stake (sorry for the spoiler). Find more of our literature events here.

Radio 3's Guitar Jam

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 19:26:00 +0100

“We can try to make it sound like raindrops,” said Morgan Szymanski, as he tried to guide his group of Hay Festival guitarists into creating a rainforest soundscape. His group of participants, a mixed bag, of young and old, men and women, advanced players and beginners, were collaborating on an improvised piece (purely from guitars) to be featured in BBC Radio 3’s ‘Lunchtime Concert’. See more music events.

War Horse

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 19:19:00 +0100

“I stood on the peaceful farmland and tried to understand. What do we do with this history? An entire generation has passed in sepia photographs or flickering black and white film. How do we remember? What do we learn from it?” asked Michael Morpurgo, author of ‘Private Peaceful’ and ‘War Horse’ at a Hay Festival event. Find more war-themed events here.


Fri, 03 Jun 2016 19:12:00 +0100

“The reason I do so many jobs is that I’m not very good at any of them,” said James Runcie, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a visiting professor at Bath Spa University, a commissioning editor for Radio 4 Arts, and the author of 'The Grantchester Mysteries', of which the latest title is ‘Sidney Chambers and The Dangers of Temptation’.


Fri, 03 Jun 2016 18:50:00 +0100

Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates has collected more than 120,000 submissions to the Everyday Sexism Project, which is now global. As a result, she has had threats from people saying they’re not only going to rape her, they’re going to rape her family, too. In her new book, ‘Girl Up’, she speaks to a generation who still aren’t taught what a clitoris is in sex education, a generation who receive unsolicited dick pics on a daily basis.


Fri, 03 Jun 2016 17:18:00 +0100

Kate Humble was joined on stage by her Welsh sheepdog Teg. “What’s Teg currently working on?” inquired Miles Jupp. “World domination. She has recently been in a programme for the BBC about the history of the Welsh sheepdog breed, and she even gets an executive producer credit,” was the reply.

“Can a singer change the world?”

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 15:41:00 +0100

“No,” answered singer-songwriter and left-wing activist Billy Bragg, speaking in front of a packed tent of Hay-goers yesterday. “It’s the singer’s job to make the audience feel as though they can change the world…I like to send them off with recharged batteries after a gig.”


Fri, 03 Jun 2016 15:17:00 +0100

Why do children curl, flex or play with their spare hand while sucking their thumb or breastfeeding? How does doodling or fidgeting help our listening experience? Why do we use hand gestures while we talk? Why do we snack while watching a film despite not being hungry? These are questions Darian Leader addresses in his book ‘Hands: What We Do With Them, And Why’.

Silk Roads

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 14:48:00 +0100

Brits’ failure to understand world history, and our obsession with their own past to the exclusion of all else, is handicapping our attempts to remain relevant in a fast-changing world. In a passionate and spell-binding Hay Festival talk, Oxford University’s Peter Frankopan railed against our myopic view, and begged his audience to think bigger. For more history events click here.

Horrible at Hay!

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 12:56:00 +0100