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The British Academy Warton Poetry Lecture 2008

Hay Festival 2008, 
Poet and professor Tony Curtis: ‘We keep the bread and wine for show’: Consistent irony and reluctant faith in the poetry of Dannie Abse. Chaired by Professor Christopher Morgan.

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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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Andres Neuman, Juan Villoro and Carolina Sanin talk to Richard Gwyn

Gabo & Bolaño

Hay Festival 2017, 

A conversation about Gabriel García Márquez and Roberto Bolaño, two great, dead Latin American writers whose work has been read around the world, with three great contemporary writers: the Argentinian novelist Andres Neuman (pictured) is joined by his Colombian colleague Carolina Sanin and the Mexican writer Juan Villoro.

Andres Neuman, Juan Villoro and Carolina Sanin talk to Richard Gwyn

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Maxine Peake

Shelley’s The Masque of Anarchy 200

Hay Festival 2019, 

The actor gives a reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s radical 1819 poem, written in response to the Peterloo Massacre. The reading is introduced by John Mullan.

Maxine Peake was originally commissioned to perform The Masque of Anarchy in a full performance by Manchester International Festival.

Maxine Peake

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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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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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The Selected Later Poems of Peter Finch

Hay Festival 2008, 
The innovative and humorous poet, Peter Finch author of Real Cardiff, is treasured for experiment, mesmerising performance, and his subtle variations on other Welsh poets’ work. He talks to Jon Gower and performs.

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Ian Whybrow

Harry And The Dinosaurs

Hay Festival 2011, 
Delve into the bucketful of stories, to hear more adventures from one of Britain’s best-loved picture book authors. With songs and games galore, it’s going to be raaah-tastic!
 
5–7 years

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Ben Shephard

The Long Road Home

Hay Festival 2010, 
Surprisingly early in the Second World War – long before an Allied victory was assured – people began to plan for its aftermath, haunted by memories of what had happened a generation earlier when millions more civilians were killed by disease and starvation after the conflict was over.

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Michael Wright

Je t’aime à la Folie

Hay Festival 2011, 
The bucolic French provincial life is twisted with an improbable transatlantic love affair.
 
More about the La Folie adventure

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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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John Lewis-Stempel

The War Behind the Wire: The Life, Death and Glory of British Prisoners of War, 1914–18

Hay Festival 2014, 

In the camps the war was eternal. There was the war against the German military, fought with everything from taunting humour to outright sabotage. British POWs also fought a valiant war against the conditions in which they were mired. They battled starvation, disease, Prussian cruelties, boredom, and their own inner demons. And, of course, they escaped.

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Marcus du Sautoy

Symmetry

Hay Festival 2008, 
Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy takes A Journey Into the Patterns of Nature and maps the contours of evolutionary biology, physics and chemistry.

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Bryony Gordon

Eat Drink Run

Hay Festival 2018, 

Bryony Gordon was not a runner. A loafer, a dawdler, a drinker, a smoker, yes. A runner, no. Yet somehow, as she began to recover from the emotional rollercoaster of laying her life bare in her mental health memoir Mad Girl, she started to realise that getting outside, moving her body and talking to others for whom life was also an occasional challenge, might actually help her. Going for a run might not banish her sadness but at least it might show that she was damn well trying to beat it, which is sometimes half the battle. As she began to run further she started to see the limitations she had imposed on her life more clearly. Why couldn’t she be a runner? Or a bungee jumper? Or a deep-sea diver? Maybe rather than sitting on the sofa watching the world go by, fulfilling your dreams was just about standing up and taking that first step.

Bryony Gordon

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Lisa Dwan and Colm Tóibín

Pale Sister: A Rehearsed Reading

Hay Festival 2018, 

Pale Sister, written by Colm Tóibín for the great Beckett actress Lisa Dwan, is a dramatisation of the voice of Ismene, the sister of Antigone, who recounts her sister's defiance of the king as pressures mount on Ismene herself to act to vindicate her sister, or even follow her example. It arises from The Antigone Project, a course taught at Columbia University by Dwan and Tóibín, which examined the ways in which this story – a woman’s powerlessness emerging as power, conscience versus law, defiance versus might, protest versus order, individual versus authority. It runs for one hour and 15 minutes and will be followed by a discussion.

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Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough

Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas

Hay Festival 2017, 

The depiction of the Viking world in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas goes far beyond historical facts. What emerges from these tales is a mixture of realism and fantasy, quasi-historical adventures and exotic wonder-tales that rocket far beyond the horizon of reality. On the crackling brown pages of saga manuscripts, trolls, dragons and outlandish tribes jostle for position with explorers, traders and kings.

Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough

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Commonwealth Writers Conversation

Dhaka 2012, 
A panel chaired by Godfrey Smith, the award-winning writer from Belize, explores how artists can participate in the mechanisms which affect our lives and what participatory governance really means. With writer Farah Ghuznavi, entrepreneur Kamal Quadir, activist Shireen Huq and photographer Shahidul Alam.

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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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Archie Miles

The British Oak

Hay Festival 2014, 

The British oak is the iconic tree of Britain and its people. The specialist tree writer and photographer explores the environmental, cultural and economic aspects of oak, and reveals remarkable images and anecdotes of our greatest trees past and present.

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Tim Birkhead

Bird Sense

Hay Festival 2012, 
What is it like to be a swift, flying at over 100km an hour? Or a kiwi, plodding flightlessly among the humid undergrowth in the pitch dark of a New Zealand night? And what is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings?
 

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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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Marie-Elsa Bragg talks to Rowan Williams

Fictions: Towards Mellbreak

Hay Festival 2017, 

Bragg’s novel is a hymn both to the landscape of Cumbria and to a disappearing farming world. Poetic, beautiful and tragic, it gives an account of the struggle to preserve traditions and beliefs in the face of change. It is a quietly bold indictment of the treatment of generations of British men, and an assertion of the power to be found in the rituals we pass down through our families. She talks to the poet, academic and former Archbishop of Canterbury.

Marie-Elsa Bragg talks to Rowan Williams

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Heather Hurley, Nigel Baker, Chris Pullin

The Story of Hereford

Hay Festival 2016, 

Three contributors to the new Logaston anthology charting the history of the Cathedral City recover stories from its past. Heather Hurley recounts the boatbuilding industry and the Wye river trade; archaeologist Nigel Baker introduces new discoveries about the Saxon period; Chris Pullin talks about Hereford as a C12th centre of learning with links to the Arab world. Chaired by Nicola Goodwin of BBC Hereford and Worcester.

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Piers Torday

The Last Wild

Hay Festival 2013, 

An animal adventure like no other, The Last Wild is hotly tipped to be a modern classic and Piers Torday is a highly acclaimed new writer. Hear him at Hay first!

9+ years

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Brian Keenan talks to Andrew Marr

Hay Festival 1995, 
The former hostage, and author of An Evil Cradling, talks to the Independant's Chief Political Commentator, and 1995 Commentator of the Year about his reading, and his enthusiasm for the poetry of his fellow Irishman Padriac Fiace, author of ruined of Ruined Pages.