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Bryony Dixon and Francine Stock with music by Neil Brand

The BFI Presents: Dickens Before Sound

Hay Festival 2012, 
A magical series of pre-1914 silent short films from Dickensian sources includes Scrooge, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist and DW Griffith’s The Cricket on the Hearth with live accompaniment.

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William Hague

William Wilberforce

Hay Festival 2007, 
The charismatic Parliamentarian celebrates the great abolitionist.

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Sol Campbell talks to Jasper Rees

Not a Normal Memoir

Hay Festival 2014, 

The authorised biography of the Tottenham, Arsenal and England defender is a frank and often blistering account of a life lived between the soaring heights of celebrity football and the despairing depths of personal trauma. He talks to the author of Wenger.

Sol Campbell talks to Jasper Rees

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Robbert Dijkgraaf

The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

Hay Festival 2017, 

The Director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton replays and updates his predecessor, Abraham Flexner’s classic 1939 treatise, which describes a great paradox of scientific research: the search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also to the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs.

Robbert Dijkgraaf

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Marcus Brigstocke & guests

The Early Edition 6

Hay Festival 2008, 
The brilliant corduroy comedian takes apart the day’s papers and media.

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Charity Gala

Hay Festival 2008, 
Festival favourite Sandi Toksvig MCs this year’s Variety rattle-bag of ideas, arguments, stories and poetry. Full line-up will be announced on 24 May.

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Adam Rutherford

Creation: Past And Future

Hay Festival 2013, 

The geneticist decodes a four-billion-year journey of discovery to explain what life is, where it came from and in what form it first appeared. Now, our mastery of genetics allows us to create entirely new life-forms within the laboratory – goats that produce spider silk in their milk, bacteria that excrete diesel, cells that identify and destroy tumours.

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Kevin McCloud, Solitaire Townsend, and Juliet Davenport

Small is Beautiful…Or is it Anymore?

Hay Festival 2018, 

‘Small is beautiful’ was the rallying cry of the early environmental movement, whilst cynics dismissed it as a lot of hippy dreaming. Now small, it seems, is back and going Big. Small scale renewable energy technologies like solar and wind, along with the huge progress in battery storage, are now fast becoming some of the cheapest sources of electricity on the planet. How long before every home becomes its own power plant, every home owner their own power company? And how long before local green energy sources combine with digital technologies and 3-D printing to revive local manufacturing? Can small really stay beautiful, or will big prove to be best? Chaired by Writer and Green Futurist, Martin Wright.

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Fiona Caldicott, Nick Partridge and Tony Calland talk to Jonathan Montgomery

Big Data, Safe Data

Hay Festival 2017, 

The NHS collects people’s confidential data to provide their care but how else is it used? Should people be able to opt out of uses of their health data for purposes such as medical research, improving public services or commercial uses? Dame Fiona Caldicott is the National Data Guardian for Health and Care in England; Sir Nick Partridge is the former CEO of the Terence Higgins Trust and Dr Tony Calland is a former GP in Wales. Chaired by Professor Jonathan Montgomery, Professor of Health Care Law at University College London.

Fiona Caldicott, Nick Partridge and Tony Calland talk to Jonathan Montgomery

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Emily Perkins and Jhumpa Lahiri

Hay Festival 2008, 
The dazzling New Zealand writer launches her compelling Novel About My Wife. The Pulitzer Prize-winning short story writer Lahiri launches her new collection Unaccustomed Earth. Chaired by Ariane Koek of the Arvon Foundation.

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Sheila Hale talks to Georgina Godwin

Titian

Hay Festival 2013, 

A portrait of the great Venetian artist of the Renaissance, his life and times and context.

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Alison and Laurence Matthews

Zoom Control

Winter Weekend 2013, 

Reimagine life and work and look again at your preconceptions. Learn to spot Trojan Horse assumptions by looking at the really big picture. It’s liberating, simple and inspiring – and might unlock a saner future. ‘Hopeful, realistic and original’ – Rowan Williams.

Alison and Laurence Matthews

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Gareth Stedman Jones

Cambridge University Series 12: Inventing Necessity - The Strange Genesis of C20th Political Authori

Hay Festival 2015, 

Ideas about states of emergency went back to the politics of Ancient Rome in which it was said that ‘necessity knows no law’. This idea took on a series of different meanings during the early modern period and was employed by the Jacobins during the invasion scare of 1793–94. In 1848 the idea was employed again to justify emergency rule after the June uprising in Paris, but in its later usages, particularly by Marx, the idea was inverted. It was no longer emergency that justified dictatorship. Rather, dictatorship was posited as a desirable outcome in a transition to new forms of society.

Gareth Stedman Jones

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Holly Smale

Geek Girl

Hay Festival 2016, 

The award-winning author as she discusses her best-selling Geek Girl titles, the ups and downs of her previous career as a model and why she loves writing for YA readers. In conversation with Emily Drabble.

12+ 
Holly Smale

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Rose Tremain

Fictions – The American Lover

Hay Festival 2015, 

The award-winning novelist, author of Restoration, The Road Home, Music and Silence, and The Colour, awakens the senses in this diverse collection of short stories. In her precise yet sensuous style she lays bare the soul of her characters– the admirable, the embarrassing, the unfulfilled, the sexy and the adorable – to uncover a dazzling range of human emotions and desires. She reads, and talks to Peter Florence.

Rose Tremain

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Will Smith and Roberto Ampuero

Fictions – Thrillers

Hay Festival 2015, 

Mainlander is the thrilling debut set on Jersey from comedy writer Will Smith (Veep, The Thick of It) – a novel about loneliness, about not belonging and about the corroding effects of keeping secrets. Evocative and romantic, Ampuero’s The Neruda Case spans lies and truth, travelling between uneasy peace and political coup, from life to death. Brulé, a daydreamer and reluctant detective, is lost among Latin America’s uncertainties, venality and corruption while his first case introduces one of the great characters of international crime fiction. They talk to Rosie Goldsmith.

Will Smith and Roberto Ampuero

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Elif Shafak and Anjali Joseph talk to Gaby Wood

Fictions – Migrations

Hay Festival 2012, 
Honour is a powerful, brilliant and moving account of murder, love and family set in Kurdistan, Istanbul and London; Another Country charts a young woman’s twenties in Bombay, Paris and London.

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Stephen Harris

What Have Plants Ever Done for Us?

Hay Festival 2016, 

Which tree is often used in the treatment of cancer? Which everyday condiment is the most widely traded spice on the planet? Plants are an indispensable part of our everyday lives. From the coffee bush and grass for cattle (which give us milk for our cappuccinos), to the rubber tree that produces tyres for our cars, our lives are inextricably linked to the world of plants. The Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria identifies the plants that have been key to the development of the western world.

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Kathleen Taylor

The Fragile Brain: The Strange, Hopeful Science of Dementia

Hay Festival 2017, 

Taylor presents the newest research into the cause and cure of the life-changing neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s and dementia. She focuses on insights arising from the relatively new field of neuro-immunology: the increasing recognition of the important role of the immune system in the brain. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.

Kathleen Taylor

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Ed Bullmore

Cambridge Series 19: Inflamed Mind: A Radical new Approach to Depression

Hay Festival 2018, 

Bullmore reveals the breakthrough new science on the link between depression and inflammation of the body and brain. He explains how and why we now know that mental disorders can have their root cause in the immune system, and outlines a future revolution in which treatments could be specifically targeted to break the vicious cycle of stress, inflammation and depression. The Inflamed Mind goes far beyond the clinic and the lab, representing a whole new way of looking at how mind, brain and body all work together in a sometimes-misguided effort to help us survive in a hostile world. Bullmore is currently Co-Chair of Cambridge Neuroscience, Scientific Director of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre, and Head of the Department of Psychiatry.

Ed Bullmore

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Tim Parker talks to Francine Stock

Trust

Hay Festival 2015, 

What and who do we trust with our sense of nationhood? The NHS, the BBC, the PM, the EU? The new chair of the National Trust has been a CEO and board director of many of Britain’s most successful international companies, and he owns the British Pathé Film Archive. He discusses the ideas of ownership, national identity, the interplay of the public, private and third sectors, and the ethical concerns that drive business in an age of social media.

Tim Parker talks to Francine Stock

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Göran Rosenberg talks to Philippe Sands

A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz

Hay Festival 2015, 

On 2 August 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town to begin his life anew. Having survived the ghetto of Lodz, the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the harrowing slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany, his final challenge is to survive the survival. In his intelligent and deeply moving book, Rosenberg returns to his own childhood in order to tell the story of his father; walking at his side, holding his hand, trying to get close to him again. It is also the story of the chasm that soon opens between the world of the child, permeated by the optimism, progress and collective oblivion of postwar Sweden, and the world of the father, darkened by the long shadows of the past.

Göran Rosenberg talks to Philippe Sands

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Victoria Hislop talks to Lisa Dwan

The Thread

Hay Festival 2012, 
The novelist discusses her epic Greek romance set across C20th Thessaloniki. Hislop is the best-selling author of The Island, The Return and One Cretan Evening.

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Matthew Haley

Electrifying The Art Business

Hay Festival 2013, 

Bonhams’ Head of Books, Maps and Manuscripts appreciates books as artefacts and looks at the effect of the electronification of books.

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Stefan Collini

Cambridge Series 10 - What Are Universities For?

Hay Festival 2012, 
When the future of higher education lies in the balance, a discussion of just why universities matter – to everyone.