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Michael Sheen

The Aneurin Bevan Lecture

Hay Festival 2017, 

The Welsh actor has made some of the most articulate interventions in political debates of the past years. Now returned home from Hollywood to Port Talbot, he talks about culture and society and the humane vision and tradition that Bevan inspires. Chaired by Phil George.

Michael Sheen

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Monty Don and Nigel

My Family and Other Dogs

Hay Festival 2017, 

The Gardeners’ World star and social media sensation will bring his human best friend onstage to talk about dogs and love and family. #woof

Monty Don and Nigel

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Jeremy Bowen

Our Man in the Middle East

Hay Festival 2017, 

The BBC’s Middle East Editor returns home to bring the news from Mosul, Gaza and Jerusalem. His 25-part series for Radio 4 about the region’s history starts on 15 May. He combines first-hand accounts from the front line with analysis of the politics, economics and societies he’s reported on since he first arrived in the Gulf in 1990. Chaired by Peter Florence.

Jeremy Bowen

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Owen Sheers

Reformations 11: Men

Hay Festival 2017, 

Questions of masculinity have been at the heart of Sheers’ writing for 20 years, in his plays Mametz and The Two Worlds of Charlie F, in his fiction Resistance and  I Saw A Man, and in his poetry – most clearly in Pink Mist. In 2012 he was also artist in residence with the Welsh Rugby Union. Here he interrogates ideas of masculinity in essay form, and reimagines a man’s world. 

Owen Sheers

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Matthew Hall and Eve Myles talk to Guto Harri

Keeping Faith ~ Un Bore Mercher

Hay Festival 2018, 
Hall’s compelling drama series, shot in both Welsh and English language versions, has been one of the greatest successes of the year with over five million viewers. The series tells the story of lawyer, wife and mother Faith (Myles) as she fights to find the truth behind the sudden disappearance of her husband. The writer and star come together to give an insight into the Pembrokeshire-set story, the twists of crime drama and the benefits of each language (the versions are subtly different!)
Matthew Hall and Eve Myles talk to Guto Harri

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Bonnie Greer, Leanne Wood, Merryn Williams, Daniel Williams and Stefan Collini

The May Day Manifesto

Hay Festival 2017, 

It is 50 years since the publication of the May Day Manifesto, edited by Raymond Williams. The manifesto reflected the growing disillusionment on the Left with what the authors argued to be the surrendering of socialist principles by the Labour Party. The panel explores the making of the manifesto and examines its relevance today.

Stefan Collini is Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at the University of Cambridge, Bonnie Greer is a playwright, author and judge for this year’s Orwell Prize, Leanne Wood AM is the Leader of Plaid Cymru, Merryn Williams is a critic, poet, and daughter of Raymond Williams and Daniel G. Williams is Professor of English Literature at Swansea University.

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Nigel Owens, Sam Warburton and Martyn Phillips talk to Carolyn Hitt

Grand Slams, Game Plans, Tight Calls and Balance Sheets

Hay Festival 2019, 

Rugby is a serious global business that is scaling up, and facing regional and global challenges and revolutions. WRU CEO and Chair of GlobalWelsh Martyn Phillips, Sam Warburton, the former Wales, Lions and Cardiff Blues captain and THE ref Nigel Owens discuss all aspects of the sport: its challenges, both on and off the field, and the culture that underpins the essence of the game, in conversation with Carolyn Hitt, author of Wales Play in Red.

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The Keep

The Genius of the Marches

Hay Festival 2016, 

An entertainment: a constellation of writers, artists and photographers of the Welsh Marches celebrate the first issue of The Keep, Hay’s new literary and arts magazine, with an evening of readings, stories and pictures, under the editorial baton of Iain Finlayson.

With Owen Sheers, Ben Rawlence, Nina Lyon, Jasper Fforde, Soma Ghosh, Oliver Balch, Tom Bullough, Dix and Marsha Arnold.

The Keep

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Shazia Awan, Laura McAllister, Auriol Miller, Leanne Wood, Clare Critchley

Wales Women and Public Life

Hay Festival 2018, 

IWA Director Auriol Miller, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, equality activist Shazia Awan and politics professor Laura McAllister discuss with Clare Critchley the challenges, frustrations and joys of being a woman in Welsh public life. This event launches issue 60 of the welsh agenda, magazine of the Institute of Welsh Affairs.

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Horatio Clare

Myths & Legends of the Brecon Beacons

Hay Festival 2017, 

Discover the magic and myths hidden in the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons. Find Arthur and his knights sleeping away the decades in a cave, and go on the search for the White Lady of Tretower Court with the award-winning author of Down To The Sea In Ships, The Prince’s Pen and Orison for a Curlew. Chaired by Peter Florence.

Horatio Clare

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Tracey Evans, Warren Fauvel, Andy Middleton

Adventures in Health

Hay Festival 2016, 

The costs of preventable physical and mental health challenges in Wales are already unmanageable and getting worse. The gross cost to the NHS of treating mental health is £7.2bn a year. There are multiple, proven links between the benefits of active time outdoors, increased wellbeing and reductions in the social cost of health solutions. Wales’ outdoor industry is poised to become a Natural Health Service that improves health with active time in nature. Evans is the CEO of The Outdoor Partnership, Fauvel is co-founder of Nudjed, which works with public health bodies aiming to effect change. Chaired by entrepreneur and adventurer Andy Middleton.

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Abbie Ross, Julia Forster and Crystal Jeans talk to Gwen Davies

Debuts

Hay Festival 2016, 

Three debut authors talk to New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies about childhood and the nostalgia of popular culture in memoir and fiction, and about getting that first book written and published. Abbie Ross’ memoir Hippy Dinners is set in north Wales; Julia Forster’s debut novel What a Way to Go is set in the Midlands; and Crystal Jeans’ novel Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise is set in Cardiff.

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Hywel Francis, John Gaventa, Helen Lewis, Richard Greatrex, Mair Francis

After Coal: Debate - Swansea University Series

Hay Festival 2016, 

How can cultural exchange inform community regeneration?  In 1974 John Gaventa met Hywel Francis and initiated an exchange between Welsh and Appalachian coalfield communities. This work was expanded by researcher Helen Lewis, cinematographer Richard Greatrex, and community organiser Mair Francis. Tonight they discuss the benefits, pitfalls and insights gained from a long-term cultural exchange over four decades. They are in conversation with Dai Smith.


You can book this event together with events [33] and [40] at a discounted price of £12. Please call the Box Office on 01497 822629 to proceed with this offer, and we will remove the £3 booking fee.

Hywel Francis, John Gaventa, Helen Lewis, Richard Greatrex, Mair Francis

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Ed Thomas, Ed Talfan and David Wilson

Hinterland

Hay Festival 2017, 

The producers of the cult noir film thriller are joined by photographer David Wilson to talk about the silent character in the hit TV show: the landscapes of Ceredigion. Wilson has captured these landscapes for the new book Hinterland Landscapes and the panel will reflect on what the settings have brought to the show, and the impact the show has had on this quiet part of Wales. Chaired by Jon Gower.

Ed Thomas, Ed Talfan and David Wilson

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Oliver Balch talks to Georgina Godwin

Under the Tump: Sketches of Real Life on the Welsh Borders

Hay Festival 2016, 

After living in London and Buenos Aires, what will the journalist make of moving to Hay, a tiny, quirky town on the Welsh-English border? To help guide him, he turns to Francis Kilvert, the Victorian diarist who captured the bucolic rural life of his day. Does anything of Kilvert’s world still exist? And could a newcomer ever feel they truly belong? With empathy and humour, Balch joins in the daily routines and lives of his fellow residents. What emerges is a captivating, personal picture of country life.

Oliver Balch talks to Georgina Godwin

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Simon Brooks, Angharad Closs Stephens, Jasmine Donahaye, Daniel G Williams with Michael Sheen

Wales After Brexit

Hay Festival 2018, 

Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales voted to leave the EU. Is this an indication that the radical distinctiveness of Wales has eroded with the Welsh language or are there distinctive factors underlying the leave vote in Wales? Given the EU’s response to the referendum in Catalonia, was the Welsh Nationalist vision of ‘Wales in Europe’ built on wishful thinking? Is Wales on the verge of a final assimilation into an increasingly nationalist and isolationist England? Or is this far too dramatic a prognosis? What might be the ways ahead for Wales, Britain and Europe? Chaired by Welsh internationalist, actor and activist Michael Sheen.

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Damian Walford Davies, Siwan Rosser, Carrie Smith and Tomos Owen

The Gwyn Jones Event - Roald Dahl: Wales of the Unexpected

Hay Festival 2016, 

Contributors to a ground-breaking new book, Roald Dahl: Wales of the Unexpected, discuss the vital presence of Wales in the work of ‘the world’s number one storyteller’. This is Dahl wonderfully defamiliarised in his centenary year through the lens of the country of his birth and early life.

Presented by The Welsh Academy 

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Katie Hill, Gareth Jones and Nick Davies talk to Andy Middleton

The Best for Wales Project

Hay Festival 2017, 

How can we shift from ‘doing better’ to ‘doing what’s needed’ and doing it now across Wales? Best for Wales will celebrate and inspire sustainable innovation. Hill is CEO of B Lab UK; Jones is Founder of Welsh ICE and Davies is founder of Neighbourly. Chaired by maverick thinker Andy Middleton from TYF.

Katie Hill, Gareth Jones and Nick Davies talk to Andy Middleton

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Louise Gray, Steve Ormerod and Tony Davies talk with Katie-Jo Luxton

The Nature of Brexit: challenges and opportunities for wildlife and farming

Hay Festival 2017, 

In 2016 over 50 organisations came together across the UK to produce and publish the second State of Nature report. It shows that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. The long-term future of farming is at stake if the natural systems on which it is based are depleted. Our panel looks at what the next 30 years could look like if the natural environment was placed at the centre of farming policies post-Brexit. Poet Martin Daws will open and close this event.

Louise Gray, Steve Ormerod and Tony Davies talk with Katie-Jo Luxton

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Simone Cuff

Could Viruses Be Good For You? - Cardiff University Series 1

Hay Festival 2017, 

We all know that ’flu is bad for you. And Ebola. And Zika.  Why on earth are there so many viruses that cause such terrible diseases? And what does current research teach us about the fascinating rabbit-hole that is the world of virology?

Simone Cuff

Hay Player

Martin Griffiths

Dark Land, Dark Skies

Hay Festival 2018, 

The astronomer subverts conventional astronomical thought by eschewing the classical naming of constellations and investigating Welsh and Celtic naming. Ancient peoples around the world placed their own myths and legends in the heavens, though these have tended to become lost behind the dominant use of classical cultural stories to name stars. In many cases it is a result of a literary culture displacing an oral culture. Griffiths has researched past use of Welsh heroes from the Mabinogion in the naming of constellations and his new book is both an interesting, provocative combination of a new perspective on Welsh mythology and an astronomy guidebook.

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Richard Parks

Extreme Adventuring

Hay Festival 2017, 

Parks describes his inspiring recovery from the shattering injury that ended his international rugby career. He tells of his commitment to his pioneering and world-first expeditions in the most extreme environments on earth.

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Matthew Stevens, Louise Miskell and Sam Blaxland talk with Martin Johnes

Welsh Legends…Or Are They Myths?

Hay Festival 2017, 

The panel questions three of the big legends in Wales. They start with the image of medieval Wales as a nation conquered by England and then briefly set free by Owain Glyndwr. Stevens argues that the Welsh were a people rather than a single nation and that Glyndwr was no national redeemer. The second legend is modern Wales as a land made by coal. Miskell looks at how Welsh industry was far more diverse than this in the late 19th century. The third legend is the idea of Wales as a victim of Conservative oppression. Blaxland shows how the Tories have always enjoyed a strong base of Welsh support and argues that they were key architects of the devolved Welsh state.

Matthew Stevens, Louise Miskell and Sam Blaxland talk with Martin Johnes

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Srijato Bandopadhyay, Natalie Holborow, Arunhava Sinha, Sophie McKeand, Aniesha Brahma and Sion Tomos Owen

Hay Mela 1: And Suddenly You Find Yourself in India

Hay Festival 2017, 

The first of four events this afternoon and evening that celebrate the vibrant cultural exchange between Wales and India. The poets relate and perform their experience of the India Wales project 2017, Valley City Village: with words and pictures introduced by Gary Raymond.

Hay Player

Iain Bell, Emma Jenkins, David Antrobus

In Parenthesis - WNO

Hay Festival 2016, 

The composer and librettists of the WNO’s groundbreaking new opera introduce their adaptation of David Jones’ classic First World War poem and screen film clips of the production. Bell’s beautiful score combines traditional Welsh song with moments of other-worldliness, terror, humour and transcendence. David Pountney’s period production is both an evocation and a commemoration of the events of the Somme.

Iain Bell, Emma Jenkins, David Antrobus

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Mamta Sagar, Sian Melangell Dafydd, Anitha Thampi and Nia Davies

Hay Mela 2: Literature Across Frontiers

Hay Festival 2017, 

Sagar is a performance poet in the Kannada language, the Keralan poet Thampi writes in Malayalam. They’ve created a multi-lingual performance translating and writing together with the Cymraeg (Dafydd) and English-language (Davies) poets from Wales.

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Ursula Martin, Hannah Engelkamp, Gwen Davies

Three People Walk: One young woman for a cause, the second for the diversion, the toddler to pick up twigs from the path

Hay Festival 2018, 

Ursula Martin was diagnosed with ovarian cancer aged 31 and walked around Wales to raise money for a cancer charity: she recorded the experience in One Woman Walks Wales. Hannah Engelkamp’s book and film Seaside Donkey were based on her experience travelling with this companion around Wales. Hannah’s meanders are now accompanied by her toddler, Osian, who inspired her current writing on ‘wilding’ childhood and what the ‘dériving’ and colonialist habits of infants can teach us about travel. They talk to Gwen Davies.

Ursula Martin, Hannah Engelkamp, Gwen Davies

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Tom Hansell

After Coal: Screening - Swansea University Series

Hay Festival 2016, 

What happens when fossil fuels run out? How do communities and cultures survive? After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky and South Wales. Stories of coalfield residents who must create new careers illustrate the challenge of creating a sustainable future. Introduced by the film’s director.

You can book this event together with events [39] and [40] at a discounted price of £12. Please call the Box Office on 01497 822629 to proceed with this offer, and we will remove the £3 booking fee.

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Ifor ap Glyn & Gillian Clarke

The National Poet of Wales / Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru

Hay Festival 2016, 

In his first official event as National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn will discuss Welsh literature with his predecessor, Gillian Clarke. Both poets will read from their work and share their stories and thoughts on this thriving scene.

Yn ei ddigwyddiad cyntaf fel Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru, bydd Ifor ap Glyn yn trafod llenyddiaeth Cymru gyda’i ragflaenydd, Gillian Clarke. Bydd y ddau fardd yn trin a thrafod byd barddoniaeth ac yn taflu ambell gerdd i’r pair hefyd. 

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Mark Neale, Kingsley Aikins, Rachel Minto, Guto Harri

The Power of Diaspora – a Positive Force in a Post-Brexit Britain

Hay Festival 2018, 

The British government’s own analysis of the economic impact of Brexit forecasts a fall in gross domestic product of 9% for Wales. The role of non-resident Welsh people (the Welsh Diaspora) and their soft power, in bringing new wealth and prosperity to Wales, is of huge importance and could be transformational. With global engagement changing the fortunes of nations and exerting huge influence over many aspects of public life and economic development, it’s time Wales got serious about diaspora. Mark Neale, CEO and founder of Mountain Warehouse, Kingsley Atkins, the founder and CEO of Ireland’s Diaspora Matters, and Rachel Minto, an EU expert based at Cardiff University, talk to Guto Harri.

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Marc Rees, Owen Morgan Roberts, Owen Griffiths and Owen Sheers

Now The Hero - Preview

Hay Festival 2018, 
 
Nawr Yr Arwr \ Now The Hero is an immersive theatrical experience that will take the audience on an extraordinary journey through three intertwining narratives of war; from Celtic history, the First World War, and today’s conflicts.  Marc Rees’ bold production was inspired by Frank Brangwyn’s rejected WW1 memorial paintings, the exuberant British Empire Panels, housed in Swansea’s Guildhall.

Also drawing upon an epic poem and an intimate portrait of a serving Swansea soldier, Nawr Yr Arwr \ Now The Hero brings the stories of war to life but counterpoints the tragic telling with hope.  At its heart is a site specific  Requiem, realised from a collaboration between the late Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhansson and Owen Morgan Roberts; with a libretto by BAFTA nominated writer Owen Sheers. Artist Owen Griffiths (Arts Council of Wales Creative Ambassador) will also join the conversation to discuss his contribution to the project – the creation of an edible landscape and harvest gathering, as featured in Brangwyn's paintings.

Rees introduces the concepts of Nawr Yr Arwr \ Now The Hero and discusses Sheers’ response to the ancient Celtic poem Y Gododdin; Roberts’ interpretation of this in musical form in a specific setting; and Griffiths unique interpretation of paintings as war memorials in contemporary landscape.

 Chaired by Jasper Rees.

Now The Hero is the highlight in Wales for the final year of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Marc Rees, Owen Morgan Roberts, Owen Griffiths and Owen Sheers

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Iwan Rhys Morus

Why The History of Science Matters

Hay Festival 2017, 

Science sometimes looks like a rather forbidding activity, carried out behind closed doors by mysterious, white-coated individuals, speaking their own incomprehensible language. But at the most basic level, the quest to understand the world around us is a fundamentally human activity. Science belongs, and has belonged, to all of us – and we all have a responsibility for it. That is what the history of science shows – and that’s why it matters very much indeed. Morus is the author of The Oxford Illustrated History of Science.

Photo: Marie Curie

Iwan Rhys Morus

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Matthew Francis

Mabinogi

Hay Festival 2017, 

Francis’ re-telling of the first four stories of the Welsh classic is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world: a baby is kidnapped by a monstrous claw, a giant wades across the Irish Sea to do battle, a wizard makes a woman out of flowers, only to find she is less biddable than he expected. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.

Matthew Francis

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Peter Lord

The Tradition: A New History of Welsh Art

Hay Festival 2016, 

The distinguished art historian presents his elegant and intriguing survey of the evolution of visual art in Wales from the Renaissance to the present day, told through landscape and portrait paintings, drawings and sculptures. Chaired by Jon Gower.

Hay Player

Lina Dencik

Social Justice in an age of Big Data - Cardiff University Series 3

Hay Festival 2017, 

We are living in a society increasingly driven by the technical ability to turn our activities and behaviour into data points that can be tracked and profiled. This is often said to advance responses to a range of social problems but these data processes can also affect individuals or entire communities that may be denied services and access to opportunities, or wrongfully targeted and exploited. What does this mean for fairness and equality? Lina Dencik is a Senior Lecturer at the Cardiff School of Journalism.

Lina Dencik

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Siobhan Campbell, Emily Blewitt, Rhiannon Hooson and Polly Atkin

The Seren 2017 Poetry Gala

Hay Festival 2017, 

Four poets read from new collections in this poetry platform. Campbell reads from her new collection Heat Signature. Blewitt reads from her Forward-commended This is Not a Rescue. Hooson reads from her collection The Other City. Atkin reads from Basic Nest Architecture.

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Kayo Chingonyi talks to Dai Smith

The 2018 International Dylan Thomas Prize

Hay Festival 2018, 

Join us to celebrate this prestigious literary prize for writers aged 39 and under, as the 2018 winner talks to Dai Smith, chair of the jury. The shortlist for the prize comprised Kayo Chingonyi, Carmen Maria Machado, Gwendoline Riley, Sally Rooney, Emily Ruskovich and Gabriel Tallent. 

The Zambian-born poet Kayo Chingonyi is announced as the winner of the 2018 Prize.

Guardian profile HERE

Kayo Chingonyi talks to Dai Smith

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Mike Parker Pearson

Stonehenge: The Welsh Connection

Hay Festival 2016, 

Excavation of two quarries in the Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire by a UCL-led team of archaeologists and geologists has confirmed that they are sources of Stonehenge’s ‘bluestones’ and shed light on how they were quarried and transported. “We have dates of around 3400 BC for Craig Rhos-y-felin and 3200 BC for Carn Goedog, which is intriguing because the bluestones didn’t get put up at Stonehenge until around 2900 BC,” says Professor Parker Pearson. “It could have taken those Neolithic stone-draggers nearly 500 years to get them to Stonehenge, but that’s pretty improbable in my view. It’s more likely that the stones were first used in a local monument – somewhere near the quarries – which was then dismantled and dragged off to Wiltshire. Stonehenge was a Welsh monument from its very beginning. If we can find the original monument in Wales from which it was built, we will finally be able to solve the mystery of why Stonehenge was built and why some of its stones were brought so far…”

Mike Parker Pearson

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Sophie Howe talks to Jane Davidson

One Year In–Making Progress?

Hay Festival 2017, 

The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015 came into full force in April 2016. It puts a legal responsibility on the Welsh public sector, including the Welsh Government, to consider sustainability in all of its actions. The potential for this to change the private sector too is huge but how much progress has been made during the first year of implementation? Environment Minister, Davidson was the original architect of this Act. Howe is the Commissioner currently responsible for delivery.

Sophie Howe talks to Jane Davidson

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Jon Anderson

Establishing a Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands – Cardiff University Series

Hay Festival 2016, 

Introducing a new literary geography based on the assumption that novels and stories cannot be confined by the covers of a book, but through the reader’s imagination become part of the lived experience of the world around us. Explaining how this new cartography of page and place will be developed is Jon Anderson from the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University.

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Phil Forder, Graham Hartill, William Muir and Janet Wallsgrove

Hay in the Parc

Hay Festival 2017, 

The inspirational teacher, Phil Forder, brings the two writers in residence and the Director of HM Parc Prison, Bridgend to discuss the literary programme he’s pioneered and our sister Festival there that’s now in its ninth year. They discuss the impact of education and empathy, literacy and literature, and offer a vision of a successful reformation of prison experience. They talk to Peter Florence.

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Jessica Seaton

Gather Cook Feast: Recipes from Land and Water

Hay Festival 2017, 

Seaton, the founder of TOAST, is inspired by the food from our seas, our rivers, our farmland, our gardens and our wild places. Her new cookbook is full of simple, seasonal and nourishing recipes such as braised short ribs with horseradish, courgette fritters with minted yoghurt, mackerel escabeche with wild fennel and kale, and roast vegetable and barley salad with crisped artichokes. She shares her love of food and landscape with Kitty Corrigan.

Jessica Seaton

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Alan Llwyd, Aled Eirug, Mererid Hopwood

Marwolaeth Heddwch (The Death of Peace)

Hay Festival 2018, 

As Wales marks the centenary of the end of the Great War, author of the Oscar-nominated film Hedd Wyn, and a number of volumes on the Welsh literature of the Great War, Professor Alan Llwyd of Academi Hywel Teifi and Dr Aled Eirug, Morgan Academy, author of two forthcoming publications on the opposition to the War in Wales, will discuss the Welsh response to the call to arms and the effect of the War on the calls for peace. The discussion will be chaired by one of Wales’ leading poets, broadcaster and leading member of Cymdeithas y Cymod (Welsh Fellowship of Reconciliation) Professor Mererid Hopwood, who is also a member of the campaign for the establishment of a Wales Peace Academy.

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Jay Griffiths talks to Rosie Boycott

Tristimania: A Diary of Manic Depression

Hay Festival 2016, 

A raw and poetic account of a mind lost in madness, and how the author found her way back from the wilderness. In 2013, while completing work on her book Kith, Jay suffered a devastating, year-long episode of hypomania. She gives a lyrical and painfully honest account of that year. Lost in the depths of her illness, she eventually decided to walk the Camino de Santiago. Undertaking this ancient pilgrimage in her fragile condition against medical advice, she was determined to find a cure for her torment. Jay is the 2015-2016 Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Cymru Greadigol – Gwyl y Gelli/Creative Wales International Hay Festival International Fellow.

Jay Griffiths talks to Rosie Boycott

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Ifor ap Glyn

The Empty Chair: The National Poet of Wales on Hedd Wyn

Hay Festival 2017, 

2017 marks 100 years since the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele. One of those who fell in battle was Ellis Humphrey Evans, the poet from Meirionnydd whose Bardic name was Hedd Wyn. He died before being announced winner of the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead. The empty chair was draped in black, and Hedd Wyn is still remembered throughout Wales, as he is in Flanders, as a potent symbol of bloodshed and loss. Ifor ap Glyn will talk about the life, work and remarkable legacy of Hedd Wyn.

Ifor ap Glyn

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Gillian Clarke with Peter Florence

Talking About Shakespeare: Of Lear and Language and Poetry

Hay Festival 2016, 

The great poet discusses her experience of Shakespeare and her long relationship with Lyr, the subject of her masterpiece full-length poem The King of Britain’s Daughter. That poem itself was commissioned by the festival as an exploration of the words and ideas she began to play with in the 1989 Poetry Squantum, held upstairs in the back bar of the British Legion club in Hay.

Gillian Clarke with Peter Florence

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Meltem Arikan, Menna Elfyn, George Gumisiriza, Rebecca John, Eric Ngalle Charles, Ben Rawlence

Wales PEN Cymru: Speaking for Ourselves

Hay Festival 2018, 

The focus of the PEN chapter this year is to defend and support minority languages within ethnic communities in Wales. When we are given the confidence and liberty to speak for ourselves in our mother tongues as much as in our acquired speech, we demonstrate the diversity, persistence and vitality of language. Three Welsh and three refugee writers are here to speak for themselves and to invite you into the local and global PEN alliance of writers working to promote international freedom of expression and linguistic equality.

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Guy Gunaratne talks to Dai Smith

The 2019 International Dylan Thomas Prize Winner

Hay Festival 2019, 

Join us to celebrate this prestigious literary prize for writers aged 39 and under as the 2019 winner talks to Dai Smith, chair of the judging panel and Emeritus Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University. The short-list comprised Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Zoe Gilbert, Guy Gunaratne, Louisa Hall, Sarah Perry and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma.
The 2019 Winner has been annouced as Guy Gunaratne with his book 'In Our Mad and Furious City'.

Guy Gunaratne talks to Dai Smith

Hay Player

Angelina Sanderson-Bellamy

Food Certifications – Are They Worth the Paper They are Written on? - Cardiff University Series 4

Hay Festival 2017, 

We are all familiar with an array of certificates found on our food: Rainforest Alliance, Marine Stewardship Council, Fairtrade, Organic etc.  This certification is meant to reassure us that food is produced in a more ecologically friendly way or improves animal welfare. But does it? Come and join an interactive session that will help formulate better understanding and communication. Sanderson-Bellamy is a Research Associate at the Sustainable Places Research Institute.

Angelina Sanderson-Bellamy

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Hugh Lupton with Daniel Morden

Fictions: The Assembly of the Severed Head

Hay Festival 2018, 

13th Century Wales. A small monastic outpost is rocked to its core when a gruesome discovery is made on the nearby shoreline: a severed human head, the first of several to wash up along the surrounding coast. Not long after, the holy brothers stumble across the smouldering ruins of a bardic school and within, a pile of decapitated bodies – all that is left of King John’s brutal massacre. But one man, barely alive, is found hiding among the carnage. He is Cian Brydydd Mawr, the greatest bard of his age, who holds in his head all the ancient stories of his land… So begins Lupton’s masterful new novel which tells the story of the making of the Mabinogion, the ancient Welsh myth cycle which existed in oral form for generations before it was set down in writing. In Lupton’s re-telling, we witness these stories of spirits and shape-shifters, giants and time-travellers, curses and spells being told as they originally would have been in the ancient bardic tradition. He introduces the tales and talks to his fellow storyteller Daniel Morden.

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Hugh Purcell

Up Top

Hay Festival 2018, 

Up Top was the name given locally to the Mid Wales Mental Hospital above Talgarth; a double meaning like 'round the bend', which often located asylums elsewhere – out of sight and out of mind. Purcell’s hitherto untold history, based on archives and oral testimony from staff and patients, shows how mentally ill people were treated through the 20th century. At first the ‘lunatic asylums’ relied on a strict regime of fresh air and bromide. Then they became ‘mental hospitals’, trying desperate measures like leucotomy, deep sleep narcosis and electro convulsive therapy. Then the word ‘mental’ was dropped and ‘psychiatric hospitals’ moved into the era of heavy drugs and psychotherapy. Finally, community care took over.  The history of the Mid Wales’ was typical of many institutions that lie as ruined monuments to our attempts to help the mentally ill.

Hugh Purcell

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Eric Ngalle Charles and Owen Sheers

The Last Ritual

Hay Festival 2018, 

A performance of the new one-man play by the Cameroon-born playwright and actor, now a Creative Wales Fellow, is followed by a conversation with Owen Sheers about the work and Charles’ extraordinary life. The Last Ritual is based on the author’s last days in the village of Small Soppo in Buea, Cameroon. It looks at love and ultimate betrayal, exploring the theme of witchcraft and the practice of it.

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Alex Beard, Ben Rawlence, Kirsty Williams

Hay Festival 2018, 

From schools to universities to industry, the voices calling for more creativity in UK classrooms are getting louder. Research is conclusive that creative activities have outsize impacts on well-being, self-esteem and other cognitive abilities. In a new book, Natural Born Learners, Alex Beard examines the frontline of 21st century schools from Silicon Valley and learning with robots to his own experience in an inner-city London school. He offers suggestions of a different way forward. Black Mountains College is a project to create a new kind of liberal arts university and teacher training college in Powys to meet the challenges of future generations and a warming planet. It proposes a radically different kind of undergraduate experience – its director, Ben Rawlence, will explain. They are joined by Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education in the Welsh Government. Chaired by Rosie Boycott. 

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Phil George, Rachel Trezise, Tomos Owen and Friends

The Library of Wales

Hay Festival 2018, 

The hugely ambitious Parthian press project to gather in one imprint the greatest Welsh writing in English of the past 100 years has now reached 50 titles – from Raymond Williams and Margiad Evans to Rachel Trezise and Leonora Brito. Phil George leads a conversation about the scope and scale, impact and treasures of Welsh literature. What do we learn from these modern classics? What might the next 50 books be? And how might they be selected? 

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Tyler Keevil and Eluned Gramich talk to Dylan Moore

Fictions: Wales

Hay Festival 2018, 

A conversation about place and story, language and resilience. Keevil has two new books out. The first is a novel called No Good Brother – a high stakes Canadian adventure of love and morality, introducing two unlikely outlaws. Hometown Tales: Wales pairs two stories: Last Seen Leaving, a gripping account of the days following the disappearance of a local man by Keevil and The Lion and the Star by Eluned Gramich, a vivid retelling of the Welsh language protests that electrified Cardiganshire in the 1970s.

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Bethan Elfyn, Rhian E Jones, David Melding and Rachel Trezise talk to Dylan Moore

IWA Platform: Cool Cymru, Twenty Years Ago Today

Hay Festival 2019, 

It’s twenty years since the Welsh Assembly opened its doors for the first time, instituted in a referendum with a marginal majority on a low turnout, but backed with a formidable soundtrack of contemporary rock music. The Institute of Welsh Affairs brings together politicians and cultural figures to reflect on how ‘Cool Cymru’ helped create an atmosphere for a ‘Yes’ vote, and on what has and hasn’t been achieved in the two decades since 1999. David Melding has been a Conservative Assembly Member since 1999. Bethan Elfyn joined BBC Radio 1 and has now been a champion of new Welsh music for over two decades. Rachel Trezise won the first Dylan Thomas Prize and has become one of the leading writers of prose and plays in post-devolution Wales. Writer Rhian E Jones’s article on the relationship between politics and culture at the time of Cool Cymru appears in the latest issue of the welsh agenda. Dylan Moore is the editor of the welsh agenda and the current Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Cymru Greadigol Hay Festival / Hay Festival Creative Wales International Fellow.

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Heiða Ásgeirsdóttir and Steinunn Sigurðardóttir

Heiða: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World

Hay Festival 2019, 

Heiða is a solitary farmer with a flock of 500 sheep in a remorseless area bordering Iceland’s highlands. It’s known as the End of the World. One of her nearest neighbours is Iceland’s most notorious volcano, Katla, which has periodically driven away the inhabitants of Ljótarstaðir ever since people first started farming there in the 12th century. This portrait of Heiða written with wit and humour by one of Iceland’s most acclaimed novelists, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, tells a heroic tale of a charismatic young woman who at twenty-three walked away from a career as a model in New York to take over the family farm.

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Roy Noble talks to Carolyn Hitt

Down the Road and Round the Bend

Hay Festival 2018, 

Roy Noble is a Welsh legend – a consummate broadcaster, mischievous raconteur and collector of tales. His new book, launched today, is a glorious weft of fact, fiction and fancy – always moving and hilarious, elegantly told and often true. Pull up a chair…

Roy Noble talks to Carolyn Hitt

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Helen Fulton, Geraint Evans, Gillian Clarke and Jon Gower

The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature

Hay Festival 2019, 

The earliest surviving Welsh poetry was forged on the battlefields of post-Roman Wales and the ‘Old North’ of Britain, and the Welsh-language poets of today still write within the same poetic tradition. In the early 20th century, Welsh writers in English outnumbered writers in Welsh for the first time, generating new modes of writing and a crisis of national identity. The editors of the new Cambridge history are joined by the great poet Gillian Clarke and novelist and historian Jon Gower to celebrate one of the oldest continuous literary traditions in Europe.

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Mike Kenny, Eluned Morgan and Adam Price chaired by Guto Harri

Cambridge Series 11: Brexit and the Politics of National Identity in Wales and the UK

Hay Festival 2019, 

What are the Brexit implications for Wales and for the coherence of the United Kingdom? Kenny is Co-director of the British Academy’s ‘Governing England’ programme, and is a member of an external experts panel convened by the Scottish Parliament to advise on the constitutional implications of Brexit. Morgan is Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language. Price is leader of Plaid Cymru.