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Fintan O’Toole

The 2019 Christopher Hitchens Lecture: Heroic Failure

Hay Festival 2019, 

O’Toole examines how trivial journalistic lies became far-from-trivial national obsessions; how the pose of indifference to truth and historical fact has come to define the style of an entire political elite; how a country that once had colonies is redefining itself as an oppressed nation requiring liberation; the strange gastronomic and political significance of prawn-flavoured crisps; the dreams of revolutionary deregulation and privatisation that drive Arron Banks, Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg; and the silent rise of English nationalism, the force that dare not speak its name. O’Toole is an investigative journalist, historian, biographer, literary critic and political commentator. His acclaimed columns on Brexit for the Irish Times, the Guardian and the New York Review of Books have been awarded both the Orwell Prize and the European Press Prize. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.

Fintan O’Toole

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Holly Smale and Arabella Weir

Geek Girl and Tabitha Baird

Hay Festival 2015, 
Holly Smale, creator of the award-winning and bestselling Geek Girl books, talks about All That Glitters, the latest in the series starring accident-prone heroine Harriet Manners. She is joined by actress, writer and comedian Arabella Weir whose novel The Endless Trials of Tabitha Baird, second in this popular series, has also recently been published. A lively and irreverent discussion guaranteed.
10+ years
Holly Smale and Arabella Weir

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Peter Sawyer

Vikings

Hay Festival 2013, 

In this sumptuously illustrated lecture the historian asks: were the Vikings, as contemporary description had it, a ‘valiant, wrathful and purely pagan people’ who swept in from the sea to plunder and slaughter? Or, in the words of a Manx folksong, ‘ware-wolves keen in hungry quest’, who lived and died by the sea and the sword? Or were they unusually successful merchants, extortionists and pioneer explorers?

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Julia Hailes, Ben Law, Janet Cotterell

Greening Buildings

Hay Festival 2013, 

Grand Designs icon Ben Law discusses a more sustainable approach to buildings with Passivhaus expert Janet Cotterell and Green Consumer guru, Julia Hailes. Chaired by Hay-on-Earth Director Andy Fryers.

 

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Antonio Muñoz Molina, Josep Pons, Cuarteto Avanti and Jesús Ruiz Mantilla

Translating music

Segovia 2012, 
To what extent can music be described in words? Many works of literature have inspired music compositions and vice versa. But has the result ever been anything more than merely abstract? Josep Pons, Musical Director of the Liceu and writer Antonio Muñoz Molina discuss each of the art forms in a dialogue chaired by Jesús Ruiz Mantilla. The Cuarteto Avanti opens and closes the event with variations on the theme.
 
Co-organized with the Junta de Castilla-León and the Fundación Lara.

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Axel Scheffler

Pip & Posy

Hay Festival 2012, 
The beloved illustrator of The Gruffalo joins us to launch the adorable Pip & Posy:The Big Balloon. Storytelling, live-drawing and a very special visit from best friends Pip and Posy. A complete treat.
 
Duration 45 mins.  3-5 years  

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Jenny Lees talks to Corisande Albert

Arabian Dreams

Hay Festival 2015, 

A conversation with the owner of Pearl Island Arabians based in Herefordshire, one of the most successful stud farms in the world, breeding from pure Bahraini bloodlines. She talks about her work with horses and her racy novels in the Seven Bands of Gold series, which recall the bestselling tales of Harold Robbins. Jenny is a member of the Hay Writers Circle. She talks to Corisande Albert, producer of the Horsetales documentaries.

Jenny Lees talks to Corisande Albert

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Linda Davies

Fictions: Longbow Girl

Winter Weekend 2015, 

Join Linda Davies for an exploration of her new young adults novel – a rip-roaring time-slip adventure set in the Black Mountains of Wales. This is a must-read for anyone who loves strong heroines, history, ponies and captivating storytelling – and the author might even bring her longbow along…

11+ years
Linda Davies

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Alex Monroe

Two Turtle Doves: A History of Making Things

Hay Festival 2014, 

Growing up in 1970s Suffolk in a crumbling giant of a house with wild, tangled gardens, the celebrated jeweller was left to wreak havoc by invention. Without visible parental influence but with sisters to love him and brothers to fight for him, he made nature into his world. Creation became a compulsion, whether it was go-karts and guns, cross-bows and booby-traps, boats, bikes or scooters. And then it was jewellery. He talks to Georgina Godwin.

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Antonia Fraser

Love and Louis XIV

Hay Festival 2007, 
The historian examines the women in the life of the Sun King.

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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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Rosalind Rickaby, Nicole Grobert and Alicia El Haj

The Royal Society Platform: The Next Big Things 2017

Hay Festival 2017, 

From nanomaterials and ancient oceans to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, three Royal Society Research Fellows introduce and discuss their work at the forefront of science with climatologist and broadcaster Gabrielle Walker.

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Ben Cort

Monstersaurus

Hay Festival 2012, 
What do you get if you mix together bright green slime, a smelly sock, some mouldy cheese and strawberry jelly? It’s time to get inventing with the bestselling team behind Aliens and Dinosaurs Love Underpants. Plus a visit from a very special intergalactic guest.
 
3+ years

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Steve Jones

Did God Evolve?

Hay Festival 2014, 

The author of The Serpent’s Promise, Almost Like A Whale, The Language of the Genes and In the Blood conducts an evolutionist’s exploration.

Steve Jones

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Justin Griffiths-Williams

Baby Doc Duvalier and Fort Dimanche

Hay Festival 2015, 

The award-winning photo-journalist has been documenting the island of Haiti for the past 15 years and has produced an astonishing record of one of the world’s most extreme cultures and natural environments, racked by civil war, climatic catastrophe and violent deprivations. He shows his images and discusses his work with Oliver Balch.

Justin Griffiths-Williams

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Phil Hammond

Staying Alive: How To Get the Best Out of the NHS – Advice From a Doctor

Hay Festival 2015, 

The NHS is our most treasured institution, but even caring doctors have too many patients and too little time, while patients often feel too overwhelmed, embarrassed, intimidated or ill to ask the right questions. Dr Hammond will show you how to get your GP to listen to you and take your symptoms seriously, how to get hold of your patient records so you can ensure they’re correct, how to get a second opinion and, most importantly, how to get better (and in turn help make the NHS better too).

Phil Hammond

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Helen Rappaport

Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs

Hay Festival 2008, 
Ninety years on, and just as the recently discovered bodies of Alexei and Mariya are re-interred with the family in St Petersburg, Helen Rappaport reviews the murder of the Russian imperial family. Chaired by Peter Guttridge.

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Valerie Grove and Frances Osborne

Private Lives

Hay Festival 2008, 
Valerie Grove introduces her biography of the irrepressible John Mortimer and Frances Osborne profiles her great-grandmother The Bolter: Idina Sackville—The Woman Who Scandalised 1920s Society and Became White Mischief ’s Infamous Seductress.

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Robert McCrum

Globish

Hay Festival 2010, 
The editor and writer re-examines the linguistic power of the Anglo-American imperium, and stacks up his C21st equation: English + Microsoft = Globish.

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Matt Dickinson

Mortal Chaos

Hay Festival 2012, 
Ever wanted to climb Everest? Or film a heart-stopping adventure? Join the author of this gripping thriller for an edge-of-your-seat event. Matt was also the fifth British climber to summit the North Face of Everest!
 
10+ years

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Jessie Childs

God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England

Hay Festival 2014, 

The Catholics of Elizabethan England did not witness a golden age. Their Mass was banned, their priests were outlawed, their faith was criminalised. In an age of assassination and Armada, those Catholics who clung to their faith were increasingly seen as the enemy within. It is a tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies. Chaired by SJ Parris.

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Frieda Hughes

The Name and Nature of Poetry The Housman Lecture 2008

Hay Festival 2008, 
Given by the poet whose collections include Stonepicker Waxworks and Forty-Five.

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Marian Keyes

This Charming Man

Hay Festival 2008, 
‘Everybody remembers where they were the day they heard that Paddy de Courcy was getting married’…

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Danielle Fuller

Citizen Reader

Hay Festival 2013, 

Fuller studies the phenomenon of mass participation in reading events, through book clubs, city reads, festivals and online reading communities.

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Heart to Heart 2008

Terry Jones, Martin Orbach and Jon Snow

Hay Festival 2008, 
Python and gastro-pioneer Terry Jones joins Abergavenny Food Festival founder Martin Orbach and broadcaster Jon Snow to discuss marketing for small farmers.