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Olivia Laing

To The River: A Journey Beneath The Surface

Hay Festival 2011, 
To The River is the story of the Ouse, the Sussex river in which Virginia Woolf drowned in 1941. One midsummer week, over sixty years later, Olivia Laing walked Woolf’s river from source to sea. The result is a passionate investigation into how history resides in a landscape – and how ghosts never quite leave the places they love.

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Gwyneth Lewis and Niall Griffiths

New Stories from the Mabinogion

Hay Festival 2011, 
Two more new versions of the Welsh mythologies. Lewis spins the tale of Blodeuwedd, the woman made of flowers, into a sci-fi setting in The Meat Tree. Griffiths conjures an Iraq-bound squaddie and a Cardiff gangsta in The Dreams of Max and Ronnie.

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James May’s Magnificent Machines

Hay Festival 2008, 
Top Gear star James May and Phil Dolling examine the tipping points— when technologies such as the car or the internet became unstoppable—and get up close to the nuts and bolts of remarkable inventions.

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Frank Uekötter talks to Mark Lynas

Chernobyl 30 Years On: Making Sense of a Nuclear Disaster – University of Birmingham Series

Hay Festival 2016, 

Chernobyl is as much a symbol of nuclear risks as a distraction from other problems: some 70 years into the age of nuclear power, we do not have a single reactor that would have a chance without huge public subsidies. Nor do we have words for, or even a proper picture of, those who suffered most from Chernobyl and Fukushima: the people who clean up. Now that Britain is banking on a nuclear revival we need to learn about the long path to a new generation of reactors. Uekötter is a Reader in Environmental Humanities at University of Birmingham. He talks to journalist and author Mark Lynas.

Frank Uekötter talks to Mark Lynas

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Nick Arnold

Horrible Science

Hay Festival 2017, 

This is science with all the squishy bits left in. Join the author of Horrible Science for funny facts, scary stories and explosive experiments on stage. Horrible Science has amazed children for more than 20 yucky years with blood-curdling biology, frightful physics and crazy chemistry.

9+
Nick Arnold

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Azar Nafisi talks to Sarah Churchwell

The Republic of Imagination

Hay Festival 2015, 

From the author of the bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran comes a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction today. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favourite novels, the scholar and teacher invites us to join her as citizens of her ‘Republic of Imagination’, a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

Azar Nafisi talks to Sarah Churchwell

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Nick Mansfield

Buildings of the Labour Movement

Hay Festival 2014, 

This fascinating survey ranges from the communal buildings of the early nineteenth-century political radicals, Owenites and Chartists, through Arts and Crafts influenced socialist structures of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods to the grand union ‘castles’ of the mid-twentieth century.

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The Perfect Coole Swan Afternoon Tea

Kells 2014, 

You may thank Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, for the revolution that is ‘afternoon tea’ – back in the early nineteenth century she complained of feeling peckish, so the solution was a pot of tea and a light snack, taken privately in her boudoir during the afternoon.

Join Coole Swan and chef Shane Smith to explore some traditional and not-so-traditional Afternoon Tea treats. Presented by John Healy from RTÉ's The Restaurant.

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Timothy Brook talks to Jerry Brotton

Mr Selden’s Map of China

Hay Festival 2014, 

The author of Vermeer’s Hat discusses his picaresque adventure to decode an ancient map: a journey through Chinese science and folklore, the globalized spice trade, the tides of international exchange, and the disputes of the South China Sea.

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Sarah Webb

Ask Amy Green

Kells 2013, 

Using toys, clothes and photos from her childhood, Sarah will talk about growing up in Dublin and how she became a writer. She will also read from the latest book in the Ask Amy Green series, Wedding Belles (published in September 2013) and take questions from the audience. Be warned: this may involve some audience participation, acting and wig-wearing.


10+ years


All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

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Dragomán György talks to Kollár Árpád

Budapest 2012, 
The award-winning translator and novelist discusses his works A pusztítás könyve (The Book of Destruction) and A fehér király (The White King).
 
Hungarian with simultaneous translation into English

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Colin Mayer

Firm Commitment

Hay Festival 2013, 

The Professor of Management Studies at the SaïdBusinessSchool at the University of Oxford offers a lucid and revelatory analysis of Why The Corporation Is Failing Us And How To Restore Trust In It.

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Robert Coover and DBC Pierre talk to Gaby Wood

Fictions: The High Stylists

Hay Festival 2011, 
Coover’s Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid form a pair of ground-breaking, darkly playful novellas. Booker-winner Pierre’s Lights Out In Wonderland pushes a global odyssey to extremes.
 

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Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens

Experience

Hay Festival 2000, 
John Updike writes of novels: 'Amis is trying to construct a large, reaching, ambitious set of books - trying to cover the world in fiction'. In his autobiographical portrait Experience Amis writes about his father, his writing, his cousin Lucy Partington who was murdered by the Wests and the literary world. He talks to the journalist Christopher Hitchens.

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Steve Herington talks to Mathew Engel

Bob Cole The Runner

Hay Festival 2016, 

Bob Cole from Herefordshire was the long-distance Olympian who never got the chance to prove it. Eccentric and solitary, he competed on the professional circuit and was proclaimed world champion, but forever banned from the Olympics. Herington, author of a new biography, discusses the amazing story of a forgotten hero from the Chariots of Fire era.

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Ashley Moffett

Cambridge Series 3: A Journey into No Man’s Land

Hay Festival 2016, 
Professor Moffett, a leading authority on immunity in pregnancy, explores the fascinating way the boundaries between mother and baby are regulated during this time. And she examines the risks involved when things go wrong.
Ashley Moffett

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Jung Chang talks to John Kampfner

Budapest 2012, 
The author of and biographer of Mao discusses her work and the changes China has seen in the decades since she wrote the global bestseller Wild Swans.
Introduced by Markos Kounalakis (CEU) In association with Google

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David Cordingly

The Spanish Gold

Hay Festival 2011, 
The true story of the C18th Governor of the Bahamas and his mission to clean up the high seas – Woodes Rogers and the Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Danny Dorling

People and Places: A 21st-Century Atlas of the UK

Hay Festival 2016, 

The geographer introduces this staggeringly detailed analysis of social change over the past 15 years, gleaned from census statistics and big data. It is essential reading for all those working in local authorities, health authorities, and statutory and voluntary organisations, as well as for researchers, students, policy makers, journalists and any Haymakers interested in social geography, social policy, social justice and social change.

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Simon Horobin

How English Became English

Hay Festival 2016, 

The English Language is spoken by more than a billion people throughout the world. But where did English come from? And how has it evolved into the language used today? The Oxford Professor investigates the evolution of the English language, examining how it continues to adapt, as English continues to find new speakers and new uses. Engaging with contemporary concerns about correctness, he considers whether such changes are improvements, or evidence of slipping standards. What is the future for the English Language? Will Standard English continue to hold sway, or are we witnessing its replacement by newly emerging Englishes?

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The Literacy Question

Hay Festival 2014, 

Can we look beyond party politics to improve literacy and enhance the lives of generations? Join Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, for a lively conversation about literacy in Wales and England in the light of new research results.

13+ years (YA)

The Literacy Question

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Green Dragons’ Den: The Final 3

Home and Hearth

Hay Festival 2011, 
Five participants, four dragons and three minutes to tell a story that will capture the Dragons’ hearts, minds and cheque books, and win a chance of £10,000 for their project.

Entry to this event is free but you must reserve a ticket.
There will be a collection for the Festival’s Greenprint charity.

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Richard Shirreff talks to Nik Gowing

The President’s War

Hay Festival 2016, 

General Sir Richard Shirreff, one of Britain’s highest-ranking soldiers and until recently Deputy Head of NATO, was threatened with court martial when he dared to criticise David Cameron’s defence policy. What he says here goes much further. He brings an urgent warning: We are sleepwalking our way into war with Russia and we need to act now, with resolution, to avoid it.

Richard Shirreff talks to Nik Gowing

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Elmer the Patchwork Elephant

Elmer Day

Hay Festival 2016, 

Celebrate everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant, on the very first Elmer Day. Listen to the wonderful stories about Elmer, and share in the funny adventures he and his friends get up to. Come dressed in your brightest clothes.

3+
Elmer the Patchwork Elephant

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Iain Finlayson

Tangier: City of the Dream

Hay Festival 2015, 

No city in the world has quite the exotic allure of Tangier. From the C17th, it has been a place on the edge, beyond the normal disciplines of government, a city of refuge and excitements where sex is cheap, drugs are plentiful and where the outcasts of the world can breathe easily. The golden years of Tangier began after World War I and barely survived World War II. Among those who sought sanctuary in or inspiration from this legendary city were Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Paul and Jane Bowles, Ronnie Kray, Tennessee Williams, Joe Orton, Cecil Beaton and Truman Capote. It is this ‘last resort of the living dead, alive but not madly kicking’ that Finlayson explores in his witty, enthralling study.

Iain Finlayson