How can we ensure there is public benefit from re-wilding the countryside? Rural commentator Rob Yorke discusses big cats and beavers, food production and flood prevention with Minette Batters, NFU Deputy President; Julia Aglionby, Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land; and Sophie Wynne-Jones, trustee of the Wales Wild Land Foundation.
The tax avoidance practices of multinational companies have recently been at the forefront of political and economic news. To highlight the unfairness of the current situation, a group of small businesses in Crickhowell, Wales, decided to adopt the offshore tax avoidance tactics of large companies. They have branded this movement the ‘Fair Tax Town’ and now intend to export it to other small businesses all over the UK. We explore the rise of algorithm-based companies such as Facebook, Uber and Deliveroo, and show how their offshore status allows them to extract value from countries in a similar manner to the East India Company in the C17th.
Discovering a new craft or skill, and doing it well, can give untold satisfaction. Two speakers on two very different topics are connected by a desire to drive positive change in everyday life. Join designer Alan Moore, author of Do Design: Why beauty is key to everything and local caterer/smallholder Jen Goss, co-author of Do Preserve: Make your own jams, chutneys, pickles and cordials, as they urge you to consider beauty and function in everything you produce. Introduced by Andy Fryers.
Bob Cole from Herefordshire was the long-distance Olympian who never got the chance to prove it. Eccentric and solitary, he competed on the professional circuit and was proclaimed world champion, but forever banned from the Olympics. Herington, author of a new biography, discusses the amazing story of a forgotten hero from the Chariots of Fire era.
The Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC discusses her current production. As a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and his great legacy, the production features local amateur companies in all 12 regions and nations of the UK playing Shakespeare’s Mechanicals alongside the professional cast. Erica shares her thoughts as the tour concludes in Cardiff and Belfast, and the company prepares to return to Stratford-upon-Avon for a final run featuring performances from all the amateur companies.
We are thrilled to launch the new novel by the bestselling author, who returns to Hay in the year that marks the 30th anniversary of her sensational debut bestseller, Lady of Hay.
Hay-On-Wye, 1400 – War is brewing in the Welsh borders, Catrin is on the brink of womanhood and falling in love for the first time. Her father is a soothsayer, playing a dangerous game manipulating the mixed loyalties and furious rivalries between Welsh princes and English lords. For two hundred years, the Welsh people have lain under the English yoke, dreaming of independence. And finally it looks as though the charismatic Owain Glyndwr may be the man legend talks of. In the walls of Sleeper’s Castle, Catrin finds herself caught in the middle of a doomed war as she is called upon to foretell Wales’s destiny… And what she sees, is blood and war coming closer…
Hay, 2015. Miranda has moved to Sleeper’s Castle to escape and grieve. Slowly she feels herself coming to life in the solitude of the mountains. But every time she closes her eyes her dreams become more vivid. And she makes a connection with a young girl, who’s screaming, who’s reaching out… who only Miranda can help. Is she losing herself to time?
The historians reveal unknown secrets of Bletchley’s wartime operation and the Enigma, and discuss the code-breaking challenges we face in today’s rapidly changing and technologically complex world. McKay is the author of the bestselling The Lost World of Bletchley Park and Bletchley Park - The Secret Archives. Bletchley Park’s Enigma expert, Thomas Briggs, brings a genuine, working Enigma machine to the Festival.
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.
A huge breeding programme is needed to produce the new varieties of English Roses. The Rosarian talks about the work involved and gives a behind-the-scenes look at making the David Austin Roses garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. Join us to launch the Roald Dahl Rose, in celebration of the writer’s centenary year.
Emma Bridgewater’s patterns are as quintessentially British as marmalade on toast – and they have made her distinctive homewares best-sellers across the world. Her inspiration is often deeply personal – a plate of belonging to her mother’s, a favourite children’s book – and as she tells the stories of each pattern’s creation, she reveals the intricate processes of research and collaboration behind the familiar designs she has stamped on our kitchenware – and our hearts – for the past 30 years. Chaired by Kitty Corrigan.
As people spend increasing proportions of their daily lives using social media such as Twitter and Facebook, they are being invited to support myriad political causes by sharing, liking, endorsing or downloading. Chain reactions caused by these tiny acts of participation form a growing part of collective action today, from neighbourhood campaigns to global political movements. Margetts is the Director of the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action.
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.
The dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the spread of perestroika throughout the former Soviet bloc was a sea change in world history, and two years later resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The acclaimed Russian historian examines precisely how that change came about and analyses the role of the leaders who held power: Gorbachev and Reagan, Walesa, Havel, and the Pope.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is famous as “The first programmer” for her prescient writings about Charles Babbage’s unbuilt mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. Biographers have focused on her tragically short life and her supposed poetic approach – in this talk we unpick the myths and look at her scientific education, what she really did, and why it is important, placing her in the rich context of nineteenth century science, and the contemporary misremembering of female scientists.
Ursula Martin CBE is a Professor in Mathematics and Computer Science in the University of Oxford, and leads Oxford’s project to digitize Lovelace’s mathematics.
Chernobyl is as much a symbol of nuclear risks as a distraction from other problems: some 70 years into the age of nuclear power, we do not have a single reactor that would have a chance without huge public subsidies. Nor do we have words for, or even a proper picture of, those who suffered most from Chernobyl and Fukushima: the people who clean up. Now that Britain is banking on a nuclear revival we need to learn about the long path to a new generation of reactors. Uekötter is a Reader in Environmental Humanities at University of Birmingham. He talks to journalist and author Mark Lynas.
Can new technology bring greater democracy and allow a wider range of voices to be heard? With Dr Sharath Srinivasan, Director, Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge; Mariéme Jamme, CEO, blogger, technologist and social entrepreneur; and Rob Burnet, CEO and Founder of Well Told Story.
Two great international chefs discuss their taste and imagination with John Mitchinson. Ghayour follows her iconic cookbook Persiana with Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours from the East. Rowe, who trained at Moro and later opened Konstam, has written Food for All Seasons - a touching and informative culinary journey exploring the way our lives and our food are intertwined.
Are businesses better able to address environmental issues than governments and NGOs? Where does genuine motivation to act responsibly need to be backed up by regulation? And how do we ensure that businesses ensure that sustainability isn't just another PR exercise from profit-hungry executives? IKEA’s Sustainability Director, the broadcaster and author Joanna Yarrow, and Good Energy CEO Juliet Davenport, talk to the Festival's Sustainability Director.
Ben Miller is, like you, a mutant ape living through an Ice Age on a ball of molten iron, orbiting a supermassive black hole. He is also an actor, comedian and approximately one half of Armstrong and Miller. He explores The Exciting and Extraordinary Science Behind Our Search for Life in the Universe.
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  and  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.
The classic London fogs, thick yellow pea-soupers, were born in the Industrial Age and remained a feature of cold, windless winter days until clean air legislation in the 1960s. Corton tells the story of the fogs, their dangers and beauty, and the lasting effects on our culture and imagination of these urban spectacles. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
Chevalier’s best-selling novel inspired many readers to look at Vermeer’s famous painting more closely. Now she has participated in a documentary film directed by Phil Grabsky – part of the pioneering series Exhibition on Screen. How did the writer help the award-winning film-makers to bring the work to life? How has the film affected her own understanding of a painting she thought she knew well?