The LBC talkshow host has become one of the most exacting and powerful voices calling out political lies and speaking truths to both power and prejudice. He discusses the weaponising of fake news and ignorance, the power of dialogue and the urgent need for journalistic vigilance and authority. O'Brien is writing a book on these issues entitled How to be Right, to be published by Penguin Random House in November 2018.
Since the publication of his first novel, The Boy in the Dress, David Walliams has seen ten years of global success as a children’s author. Hear about the inspiration for his best-loved characters, listen to him read excerpts from some of his books and get the chance to put your questions directly to him. David will be discussing his writing with Gemma Cairney.
“Centuries of writing and thinking about rape – as inflicted by men on women – have got us nowhere. There are those who, like Quentin Tarantino, think it is one of the most violent crimes in the world, and others for whom it is simply what happens when a woman endures sex she doesn’t want. Bestial or banal, a proven rape may carry a prison sentence of many years, even life, but very few rapes ever find their way into a court of law. The prosecution of a selected minority of cases seldom results in a conviction. The crucial issue is that of consent, which is thought by some to be easy to establish and by others as impossible. Rape statistics remain intractable. Again and again crime surveys tell us that one woman in five will experience sexual violence. Despite all efforts to root sexual assault out of workplaces and colleges, predatory individuals still inflict lasting damage with apparent impunity. The only result of desperate attempts to apportion blame and enact chastisement has been an erosion of the civil rights of the accused. Sexual assault does not diminish; relations between the sexes do not improve; litigation balloons. There has to be a better way.” Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
We are in the midst of a global refugee crisis. Sixty-five million people are fleeing for their lives. The choices are urgent, not just for them but for all of us. What can we possibly do to help? With compassion and clarity, Miliband shows why we should care and how we can make a difference. He takes us from war zones in the Middle East to the heart of Europe to explain the crisis and to show what can be done, not just by governments with the power to change policy but by citizens with the urge to change lives. Miliband is President of the International Rescue Committee.
"Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been a means to conquer the terrors of humanity through metaphor."
This is one of many challenging and thought-provoking observations made over a long career by Jack Zipes, one of the most eminent scholars of folklore, fairy tales and children’s literature, whose 80th birthday was celebrated last year. It identifies not only one of the key characteristics of ‘wonder tales’ but also proposes a much wider audience and more important function for such tales than is often recognised.
Joining Jack to discuss the past, present and future of the ‘wonder tale’ is Philip Pullman, one of the foremost writers of speculative fiction and author of Clockwork, the His Dark Materials trilogy, La Belle Sauvage and Daemon Voices; and Marina Warner, novelist, short story writer, mythographer, scholar and author of Stranger Magic, Fly Away Home, Once Upon A Time and Forms of Enchantment. Chaired by Hamish Fyfe.
The author of The Compatibility Gene introduces the revolutionary new science of the immune system with its breakthrough medical cures. He discusses how stress, sleep and ageing affect our health. “As David Attenborough opens our goggling eyes to the natural world without, so Daniel Davis brings us face to face with the stunningly clever and, yes, beautiful world within” – Stephen Fry. Davis is Professor of Immunology at the University of Manchester.
Chaired by the Adam Rutherford, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Inside Science.
A theologian and a neuroscientist explore the concept of consciousness: is it unique to humans? Are we all simply machines? Do we have free will? Can we invoke an enhanced collective consciousness? Bringing together findings from science and insights from religion they unpick what it means to be conscious. Williams is Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and a former Archbishop of Canterbury. Critchlow is named as a British Council's Top 100 UK Scientists for her work in communication and author of Consciousness: A LadyBird Expert book, which will be launched at Hay.
The novelist discusses his essay collection Dæmon Voices and his novel La Belle Sauvage with Daniel Hahn.
To celebrate the centenary of the Armistice of 1918, we have commissioned poets from the main protagonist nations to respond to a Great War poem from their own culture. We have poems in French, Russian, German, Welsh and several forms of English. The new poems will be read today for the first time, in the original language and in English translation alongside the works that inspired them, and other poems of the time. The full cast list will be announced on 20 May.
Facing economic stagnation, inequality and the vulnerability of liberal democracies to extremism, the economist proposes an aggressive and radical re-tooling of our political system with new constraints on both elected officials and voters. Moyo argues for extending politicians’ terms so as to match better the economic cycles; for increasing minimum qualifications for candidates; for introducing mandatory voting, and for implementing a weighted voting system. Moyo’s other books include Dead Aid, Winner Take All and How The West Was Lost. Chaired by Dharshini David.
The uncompromising and passionate rationalist calls on us to insist that reason take centre stage and that gut feelings, even when they don’t represent the stirred, dark waters of xenophobia, misogyny, or other blind prejudice, should stay out of the voting booth. He investigates a number of issues, including the importance of empirical evidence, and decries bad science, religion in the schools, and climate-change deniers. Dawkins has equal ardour for ‘the sacred truth of nature’ and renders with typical virtuosity the glories and complexities of the natural world. When so many highly placed people still question the fact of evolution, Dawkins asks what Darwin would make of his own legacy - 'a mixture of exhilaration and exasperation'– and celebrates science as possessing many of religion’s virtues – 'explanation, consolation, and uplift' – without its detriments of superstition and prejudice. Chaired by LBC's Matt Stadlen.
Webb has been a male for his whole life. As such, he has been a boy in a world of fighting, pointless posturing, and the insistence that he stop crying. As an adult man, he has enjoyed better luck, both in his work as the Webb half of Mitchell & Webb as an acclaimed actor and comedian, and as author of this part memoir, part call to arms.
Comedian, writer and performer Ruby Wax, with some help from monk Gelong Thubten and neuroscientist Ash Ranpura, has delved deeply into what it means to be human in an age obsessed with the latest technology. She now provides a manual to upgrade our minds so that they don’t get left behind. In this event Ruby, Ash and Thubten talk about brains, bodies and mindfulness.
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.
Major General Arthur Denaro commemorates the centenary of the death of Herefordshire’s only Great War recipient of the Victoria Cross, cited for exemplary leadership and ‘a splendid disregard of danger’ in single-handedly disabling enemy machine gun placements that had been enfilading his entire battalion at Ronssey during the Battle of Épehy.
The novelist talks about his writing and reading, and the translation of his books into film. The movie of On Chesil Beach is released on 18 May. Towards the end of this event McEwan will introduce the winner of the 2018 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers’ Award, Deepa Anappara. Her winning entry is a work of fiction called Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line.
At the age of 38, a Danish scientist, wife and mother of three, is struck down by an acute bout of bacterial meningitis. She awakes from a coma in intensive care to find herself locked in, unable to show she is conscious except by blinking her eye. It becomes her only form of communication as in the months that follow, Kjærgaard's husband Peter sits beside her helping to interpret every eye movement. She struggles with every basic of life – painfully learning how to breathe, move, eat and speak again. Despite being given a five per cent chance of survival, she works intensively to recover and to achieve every small breakthrough. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Hay stage with Bill Bryson, who has called this “the most spellbinding and harrowing story I believe I have ever heard”.
McGowan is a film-maker, thought leader and agent of change. Brave is her raw, honest, and poignant memoir/manifesto: a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account of the rise of a millennial icon, fearless activist, and unstoppable force for change who is determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry, dismantle the concept of fame, shine a light on a multibillion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny, and empower people everywhere to wake up and be BRAVE. Laurie Penny is author of Bitch Doctrine and Everything Belongs to the Future.
Europe, the richest economic area in the world, faces unprecedented challenges: a protectionist US administration, Russian interventions, a Chinese leader who has defied succession planning, and the parliamentary success of the far-right in Germany, Italy and Austria. And then there’s Brexit. Something must be done. But what? And how? And by whom? The distinguished diplomat Gourdault-Montagne is now Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry, Mountfield is a British QC, Schama is an historian. Chaired by the BBC’s Europe Editor.
The Director of Hay Festival talks to the author of War Horse and Private Peaceful. They discuss in particular his latest book Flamingo Boy, set during the Second World War in the Camargue region of France. The book is inspired by his grandson.
It's taken 18 months for a TV reality star to go from laughing-stock to leader of the free world. The BBC’s North America Editor has travelled the length and breadth of the United States, experiencing it from a perspective that most of us could only dream of: he has flown aboard Air Force One, interviewed President Obama and has even been described as ‘a beauty’ by none other than Donald Trump. Sopel sets out to answer our questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division and increasingly perverse beliefs. Chaired by Jim Naughtie.