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Emily Maitlis talks to Hannah MacInnes

Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News

Hay Festival 2019, 

The Newsnight presenter takes us behind the camera and onto the newsroom floor: “The things that are said on camera are only part of the story. Behind every interview there is a backstory. How it came about. How it ended. The compromises that were made. The regrets, the rows, the deeply inappropriate comedy. Making news is an essential but imperfect art. It rarely goes according to plan.

I never expected to find myself wandering around the Maharani of Jaipur’s bedroom with Bill Clinton or invited to the Miss USA beauty pageant by its owner, Donald Trump. I never expected to be thrown into a provincial Cuban jail, or to be drinking red wine at Steve Bannon’s kitchen table or spend three hours in a lift with Alan Partridge. I certainly didn’t expect the Dalai Lama to tell me the story of his most memorable poo. 

The beauty of television is its ability to simplify. That’s also its weakness: it can distil everything down to one snapshot, one sound bite. Then the news cycle moves on.”

Emily Maitlis talks to Hannah MacInnes

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Michael Holroyd

A Book of Secrets: Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers

Hay Festival 2011, 
The biographer (George Bernard Shaw, Lytton Strachey, Augustus John) discusses the treasure-trove of hidden lives, uncelebrated achievements and family mysteries in this masterly inquiry into the biographer’s art.

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Josephine Hart talks to Fiona Shaw

Story: The Truth About Love

Hay Festival 2009, 
This is not a tale about romantic, idealised love, the kind that comes with soaring strings and sweeping gestures, but about a more dangerous kind of love: real, raw love, the sort of passion that can neither be controlled nor packaged.

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Francine Stock, Tim Robey, William Nicholson and Bruce Robinson

Nobody’s Perfect: Golden Words From the Silver Screen

Hay Festival 2015, 

What makes a great screenplay? Structure? Dialogue? Can it take us places a novel can’t reach? Francine Stock of The Film Programme, Tim Robey, The Telegraph film critic, Oscar-winning (Gladiator) playwright of Mandela, Shadowlands and Les Miserables, Bill Nicholson and the legendary director and screenwriter of Withnail and I, Jennifer 8 and The Rum Diaries debate the strengths of their favourite film scripts and recommend a top ten screenplays of all time list. To join the conversation and make your own arguments for favourite movie scripts, please post on Hay Festival’s Facebook page or Twitter @hayfestival #nobodysperfect.

Francine Stock, Tim Robey, William Nicholson and Bruce Robinson

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Sinclair McKay and Thomas Briggs

Bletchley and Enigma

Hay Festival 2016, 

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.

Sinclair McKay and Thomas Briggs

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Toby Wilkinson

The Nile: A Journey Downriver Through Egypt’s Past and Present

Hay Festival 2014, 

The award-winning Egyptologist tells a story of ancient gods, pharaohs, emperors, adventurers, archaeologists and historians whose fates were all entwined with the river. Chaired by Paul Greatbatch.

Toby Wilkinson

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Tristram Hunt

The Frock-Coated Communist

Hay Festival 2009, 
The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, huntsman and author of The Communist Manifesto.

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Anabel Inge talks to Sameer Rahim

The Making of a Salafi Muslim Woman: Paths to Conversion

Hay Festival 2017, 

Many young British women are actively choosing to embrace Salafism’s (or Wahhabism’s) literalist beliefs and strict regulations, including heavy veiling, wifely obedience and seclusion from non-related men. How do these young women reconcile such demands with their desire for university education, fulfilling careers and loving relationships? Drawing on more than two years of ethnographic fieldwork in London, Inge examines the attractions of Salafism.

Anabel Inge talks to Sameer Rahim

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Sarah McIntyre

Hay Festival 2013, 

Superkid is the brilliant Sarah McIntyre’s latest creation – the cartoon kid with superspeed, x-ray vision and bravery by the bagload. Find out if you have special secret powers too…

Duration 45 mins.

5+ years

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Ali Sparkes

Unleashed

Hay Festival 2013, 

Action fans will enjoy this in-depth session about the pulse-pounding series starring teengers with special powers.

9+ years

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Richard Fortey

Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth

Hay Festival 2008, 
The palaeontologist introduces his scintillating long view of evolution and cataclysm.

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Richard Dawkins talks to Rosie Boycott

The God Delusion

Hay Festival 2007, 
The geneticist eviscerates religion, intelligent design, and the idea of a supreme being.

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Simon Armitage

Seeing Stars

Hay Festival 2010, 
The poet introduces his new collection.
Simon Armitage

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Huw Bowen, Katharine Olson, Chris Evans

New History of Wales 4: Global Nation

Hay Festival 2011, 
Isolated provincials or a global people? Where is Wales in the world?

Duration 45 minutes.

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Rob Penn

The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees

Winter Weekend 2015, 

Rob Penn cut down an ash tree to see how many things could be made from it. Journeying from Wales and Ireland across Europe to the USA, he finds that the ancient skills and knowledge of the properties of ash, developed over millennia making wheels and arrows, furniture and baseball bats, are far from dead. He chronicles how the urge to appreciate trees still runs through us like grain through wood.

Rob Penn

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Charlie Higson

The Sacrifice

Hay Festival 2013, 

The fourth in the nail-biting series described as ‘Lord Of The Flies With Zombies’ is every bit as tense, bloody and action-packed as fans could wish.

13+ years

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David Wengrow

What Makes Civilization?

Hay Festival 2011, 
The archaeologist relates the ‘birth of civilization’ in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq) to other more recent attempts at reshaping the world order to an ideal image.
 

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Laura Cumming

A Face To The World: On Self-Portraits

Hay Festival 2010, 
In this lavishly illustrated talk the Observer art critic investigates the drama of the self-portrait from Dürer, Rembrandt and Velázquez to the present day, considering what these images reveal about the artist’s innermost self and how they relate to us all in strange and intimate ways.

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Ulinka Rublack

Cambridge Series 14: Dressing Up – Cultural identity in Renaissance Europe

Hay Festival 2011, 
The historian will show why clothes made history and history can be about clothes. Her research imagines the Renaissance afresh by considering people’s appearances: what they wore, how this made them move, what images they created, and how all this made people feel about themselves.
 
Read a review of Dressing Up www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/

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Luke Harding

A Very Expensive Poison

Hay Festival 2016, 

1 November 2006, Alexander Litvinenko is brazenly poisoned in central London. Twenty-two days later he dies, killed from the inside. The poison? Polonium; a rare, lethal and highly radioactive substance. His crime? He had made some powerful enemies in Russia. Harding, foreign correspondent of the Guardian, argues that Litvinenko’s assassination marked the beginning of the deterioration of Moscow’s relations with the west and a decade of geo-political disruptions: from the war in Ukraine, a civilian plane shot down, at least 7,000 dead, two million people displaced and a Russian president’s defiant rejection of a law-based international order. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.

Luke Harding

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Simon Schama

Belonging: The Story of the Jews 1492-1900

Hay Festival 2018, 

In our own time of anxious arrivals and enforced departures, the Jews’ search for a home is more startlingly resonant than ever. Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. From the Jews’ expulsion from Spain in 1492 it navigates miracles and massacres, wandering, discrimination, harmony and tolerance; to the brink of the twentieth century and, it seems, a point of profound hope. Schama tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in 19th- century Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California.

Simon Schama

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Richard Davenport-Hines

Titanic Lives

Hay Festival 2012, 
Who were the 1,500 people who died on 14 April 1912 in the Arctic waters? A floating microcosm of Edwardian society - Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew.

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Geraldine McCaughrean talks to Philip Reeve

Hay Festival 2007, 
Two award-winning and eminent writers in conversation with Daniel Hahn. Philip’s novel Here Lies Arthur gives a new truth to the famous legend; Geraldine has written Peter Pan in Scarlet, the sequel to JM Barrie’s classic.

Hay Fever 10 yrs +

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Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet

Hay Festival 2019, 

The world is messing with our minds. Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious? After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.

Matt Haig

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Peter Melchett and Julian Rose

Heart to Heart 2007: Farming for a Future

Hay Festival 2007, 
The Penrhos Trust’s annual symposium on organic food production is led by the Soil Association’s pioneering agronomists.