José María Lasalle, State Secretary of Culture, begins the Hay Festival Segovia tribute to the literary figure of Roberto Bolaño with the reading of Nocturno de Chile (Anagrama), punctuated by the anecdotes about the author made by his compatriot, the Chilean Jorge Edwards, the most “persona grata” and a Premio Cervantes winner who never shies away from controversy, despite knowing the intricacies of diplomacy.
Co-organised and produced by ACE (Acción Cultural Española)
The historian conjures the supreme C16th monarchs whose empires and kingdoms shaped the modern world. He explores the schism in Christianity and the flowering of Islam in the Ottoman Empire. He shows with exquisite erudition how Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, Charles V of Spain and Suleiman the Magnificent forged the politics, culture and religion of their time and ours.
Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup. Jonathan Drori, a trustee of The Woodland Trust and The Eden Project, uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable.
On 4 June 2014 in New York the legendary Cape publisher auctions the drawings given to him by John Lennon when they were published 50 years ago. He shows the Beatle’s artwork and tells the story of their collaboration.
Meet four producers who have identified a specialist market and are making farming pay. Will Chase re-invented himself from potato grower to purveyor of posh crisps, Tyrrell’s, then sold the company to form Williams Chase Distillery, making gin and vodka. Illtud Llyr Dunsford of Charcuterie Ltd is a seventh-generation farmer flying the flag for home-cured meats and reviving a taste for veal. Jane Scotter of Fern Verrow farms fruit and veg biodynamically, and Stephen Jones is growing quinoa, the new superfood previously chalking up thousands of food miles from South America. Chaired by Dan Saladino of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme.
Hay regular George Monbiot and the folk singer and songwriter Ewan McLennan join their considerable forces for an evening that plays with songs and the human stories that inspired them. Mining the themes of loneliness and social isolation and the ways people overcome them, the interplay of words and music is poignant and encouraging.
The writer, traveller and television programme-maker runs through the pleasures and pitfalls of travel writing.
An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. The timetable arrives by steam train. A woman designs a 10-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister becomes stuck in the same four minutes for ever. Garfield offers a vivid and compelling exploration of the ways we have perceived, contained and saved time over the past 250 years. Chaired by Olivia Cole.
Dylan Moore hosts this conversation about two extraordinary novels. Seven-year-old Esther must negotiate adult dysfunction, and a school environment that exposes her to further prejudice and injustice. Joso’s From Seven to the Sea is a window onto the world of a child who rejects convention and expectation. Esther embarks on a creative expedition into liberty and free-thinking; and each day, in place of school, sets out to sea. Deborah Kay Davies’ Tirzah and the Prince of Crows is set in a remote valley in Wales. It is 1974, and Tirzah is sixteen, pretty, witty and wise. Brought up in a staunchly religious family, she has lived a sheltered life. But then she meets a boy. As she begins to struggle against the confines of her community, juggling everyone’s expectations and trying to find her own way in the world, life takes an unexpected turn, ultimately teaching her that freedom springs from within.
James lost his mother when he was seven. Shipped from home to home and subject to the whims of various care-givers after his father turned to alcohol and violence, he committed his first crime of breaking and entering when he was ten. His teenage and early adult years were spent drifting, and his petty crime turned increasingly violent, culminating in the terrible events for which he was jailed for life in 1984. Entering prison at 27, James struggled to come to terms with the enormity of his crimes and a future without purpose or hope. Then he met Joan, a prison psychologist, who helped him to confront the painful truth of his past, and to understand how it had shaped him from such a young age. Encouraged to read and to educate himself, over the next 20 years Erwin James would go on to receive a BA in History and become a regular columnist for the Guardian.
From wild swimming in Sussex to way-finding off Oman via the icy mysteries of the Arctic, Gooley draws on his own pioneering journeys to reveal the secrets of ponds, puddles, rivers and oceans. He shows us the skills we need to read the water around us. Gooley is the author of The Natural Navigator and The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs. Chaired by Laura Powell, Features Commissioning Editor at the Daily Telegraph and author of The Unforgotten.
The winner of the 2013 Planeta Prize recreates in her novel El cielo ha vuelto something that underlies all her work: reality and personal relations, where the characters are taken to the limit, and where the people closest to us can hurt us most.
Perry was Bill Clinton’s Defence Secretary and has worked on security throughout his career. He explains the development of his thinking on weaponry and security as he journeys from the Cuban Missile Crisis to crafting a defence strategy in the Carter Administration to offset the Soviets’ numeric superiority in conventional forces, presiding over the dismantling of more than 8,000 nuclear weapons in the Clinton Administration, and his creation in 2007 (with George Shultz, Sam Nunn and Henry Kissinger) of the Nuclear Security Project to articulate “a vision of a world free from nuclear weapons and to lay out the urgent steps needed to reduce nuclear dangers”.
Michael Rosen discusses different journeys through life with writers whose stories have been selected for the Hay Aarhus 39 anthologies QUEST and ODYSSEY: stories of journeys from around Europe. Selected by three of Europe’s top authors – Matt Haig (UK), Kim Fupz Aakeson (Denmark) and Ana Cristina Herreros (Spain) – some of the best emerging writers for young people from across wider Europe have contributed to the collections. Rosen will talk to Dy Plambeck and Sanne Munk Jensen from Denmark, Sandrine Kao from France and Maria Turtschaninoff from Finland. The event will explore how stories can bring people together through shared experiences.