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Marion Coutts talks to Rosie Boycott

The Iceberg – Winner of the Wellcome Book Prize

Hay Festival 2015, 

A conversation with the winner of the 2015 prize. Chair of judges, Bill Bryson: 'Marion Coutts' account of living with her husband's illness and death is wise, moving and beautifully constructed. Reading it, you have the sense of something truly unique being brought into the world – it stays with you for a long time after.'

In 2008 the art critic Tom Lubbock was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The tumour was located in the area controlling speech and language, and would eventually rob him of the ability to speak. He died early in 2011. Marion Coutts was his wife. In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to her partner's death. This book is an account of a family unit, man, woman, young child, under assault, and how the three of them fought to keep it intact. Written with extraordinary narrative force and power, The Iceberg is almost shocking in its rawness. It charts the deterioration of Tom's speech even as it records the developing language of his child. Fury, selfishness, grief, indignity and impotence are all examined and brought to light. Yet out of this comes a rare story about belonging, an 'adventure of being and dying'. This book is a celebration of each other, friends, family, art, work, love and language.

Marion Coutts talks to Rosie Boycott

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Christopher Hitchens

Why Orwell Matters

Hay Festival 2002, 
The great and prolific contrarian, scrouge of Henry Kissinger and Mother Theresa, hawkish advocate of American military action against Al Qaeda, and literary superstar, champions the cause of the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Down and Out In Paris and London and KeepThe Aspidistra Flying.

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The Telegraph Debate

Hay Festival 2011, 
Question Time style event - come and have your say.
 
On the panel: Peter Oborne, Henry Winter, Helen Mountfield, Matthew Norman, Tim Smit
 
Free but ticketed

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Bob Geldof talks to Peter Florence

Budapest 2012, 
A conversation with the singer and activist about Africa, music and love.
 
English with simultaneous translation into Hungarian

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Mike Snook

Beyond the Reach of Empire: Wolseley’s Failed Campaign to Save Gordon and Khartoum

Hay Festival 2014, 

In the early 1880s the Mahdi unleashed a spectacularly successful jihadist uprising against Egyptian colonial rule in the Sudan. Major General Charles Gordon was despatched to evacuate Khartoum and turn the Sudan over to self-rule. The mission backfired and Sir Garnet Wolseley was sent to relieve him…

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Peter Florence: The Pity of War

For Hay Library

Hay Festival 2015, 

A performed reading of the play about Wilfred Owen, who died in action on 4 November 1918 having written some of the greatest war poetry in the English language. The play is edited from Owen’s poems and letters and tells his story from the outbreak of war when he was teaching in provincial France. Owen joins up and is drafted straight into the realities of trench warfare on the frontline; he is invalided back to hospital in Edinburgh where he meets Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon before returning to his men in France, where he wins the Military Cross. Owen’s writing was savagely critical of church and state, and hugely compassionate towards the soldiers sacrificing their lives: ‘All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the poet must be truthful.’

Peter Florence: The Pity of War

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Elif Shafak

Fictions – The Architect’s Apprentice

Hay Festival 2015, 

Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare white elephant destined for the palace menagerie… The Turkish author of The Forty Rules of Love and Honour discusses her mesmerizing new novel with William Sieghart.

Elif Shafak

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Lynne Jones

Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry

Hay Festival 2017, 

An astonishing insight into the life of a humanitarian psychiatrist working in war and disaster zones around the world from Bosnia and ‘mission-accomplished’ Iraq, to tsunami-affected Aceh, post-earthquake Haiti and ‘the Jungle’ in Calais. Chaired by Oliver Balch.

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Tabitha Goldstaub and Philip Howard

The TCS Spark Salon: Algorithms, fake news and the filter bubble

Hay Festival 2017, 
The past year has been dominated by stories of how fake news has influenced major political decisions on both sides of the Atlantic and how technology has enabled a filter bubble through hidden algorithms and our own biases. There is an inherent tension between whether technology is helping to liberalise or distort and restrict how and what we read. Can artificial intelligence (AI) help us identify the truth or will it divide us? What role should we play as active digital citizens and what responsibility do technology and news organisations have? And what impact will all this have on our society, our institutions and our future? Join us at The Spark Salon, an initiative by Tata Consultancy Services, to explore these questions and more.

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The Etherington Brothers

The Greatest Comic-Making Show on Earth!

Hay Festival 2015, 
Join Robin and Lorenzo for the most amazing show you’ll ever see. You’ll laugh. You’ll laugh again. Then you’ll laugh some more! And in between the chuckles the Etherington Brothers will take you on a roller coaster journey through the mystical arts of storytelling and character creation, showing you how to explore the power of your imagination. Don’t miss this high-octane show packed full of belly laughs and surprises.
6+ years
The Etherington Brothers

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William Waldegrave talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

A Different Kind of Weather

Hay Festival 2015, 

A beautifully weighted memoir of political success and failure from the son of an Earl, who after Eton and Oxford found himself in cabinet and at the heart of Margaret Thatcher’s government. Just as his star was in the ascent, Waldegrave became embroiled in a scandal that tarnished his reputation but could not dampen his voracious enthusiasm for the political game.

William Waldegrave talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

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PetroPower and Geopolitics

Hay Festival 2008, 
Vijay Vaitheeswaran (Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future) and Parag Khanna (The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order) challenge assumptions about energy with climate change thinker Nick Butler.

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Chris Tarrant

Extreme Railway Journeys

Hay Festival 2017, 

In the last two years Chris’ travels have taken him from Azerbaijan to Bolivia and Zimbabwe. He brings to life the romance of travelling by train, and the sights, sounds and smells of the countries and places visited. Chaired by Oliver Balch.

Chris Tarrant

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Shashi Tharoor

The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cellphone

Hay Festival 2008, 
Diplomat and writer Shashi Tharoor maps out India’s emergence as a C21st superpower.

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Ben Okri

Kells 2015, 

Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri, author of The Famished Road, Astonishing the Gods and The Age of Magic, reads from his recent work and talks to Sean Rocks, presenter of Arena on RTÉ Radio 1.

Photo by Daniel Mordzinski

Ben Okri

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Brendan Lynch

Kells 2013, 

Kells native Brendan, a finalist in 2012’s Great British Bake Off, has been passionate about baking for 30 years. Join him as he demonstrates some of the skills that took him to the final and talks to Fáilte Ireland Food Champion Olivia Duff about his plans to take baking into retirement homes.

For more information & recipes go to www.brendanbakes.co.uk

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Dominic Lieven

Cambridge University Series 18: Empire, War and the End of Tsarist Russia

Hay Festival 2015, 

'As much as anything, World War I turned on the fate of Ukraine...' The decision to go to war in 1914 had catastrophic consequences for Russia. The result was revolution, civil war and famine in 1917–20, followed by decades of Communist rule. Dominic Lieven explains why this suicidal decision was made and explores the world of the men who made it. But by looking at the origins and results of the First World War from a mostly Russian angle he also offers a radically different view of why Europe descended into disaster, overturning assumptions about the war's causes and consequences in a way that still has major implications for world history down to the present day. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.

Dominic Lieven

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Science Museum

Super High-tech Robot Show

Hay Festival 2017, 

Ever wondered how robots work, what they do and why we even have them? Join the Science Museum as they take you on an amazing interactive journey into the world of robots. Discover how we program them, how they’re engineered and which is better – robot technology or human biology. This exciting and engaging science show features incredible live robot demonstrations and experiments that will blow your circuits.

9+
Science Museum

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Stefan Collini

Two Cultures? The Significance of CP Snow

Hay Festival 2014, 

The academic presents his annotated edition of FR Leavis’ famous critique of CP Snow’s theory of the ‘two cultures’ of arts and sciences. Collini describes what was at stake in the dispute, reappraises its literary tactics and evaluates the purpose of Leavis’ brand of cultural criticism.

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Glen Baxter

Almost Completely Baxter: New and Selected Blurtings

Hay Festival 2016, 

Baxter’s drawings are a delicious stew of pulp adventure novels, highbrow jinks, and outright absurdity: lonesome cowboys confront the latest in modern art, brave men tremble before moussaka, schoolgirls hoard hashish, and the world’s fruits are in constant peril. Wimples abound. The artist talks to John Mitchinson.

Glen Baxter

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Behind the Scenes: Broadcasting House

A BBC Radio 4 Event at Hay

Hay Festival 2015, 

Presenter Paddy O’Connell talks about life behind the scenes at the BBC and programme-making. Plus he’ll give the audience a chance to contribute and influence the running orders of future editions of Broadcasting House.

Not for broadcast.

BBC Radio 4
Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years
Duration: 1 hour
Behind the Scenes: Broadcasting House

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Clara Sánchez in conversation with Antonio San José

Segovia 2014, 

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.

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Paul Collier

Bottom Billion

Hay Festival 2007, 
Why the world’s 50 poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it.

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Becoming A Writer

Dhaka 2012, 
In anticipation of the Commonwealth Short Story competition deadline on 6 December, Philip Hensher, Kaiser Haq, Mohammed Hanif and Lucy Hannah give advice to aspiring writers.

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Louise Welsh and Sophie Hannah talk to Marcel Berlins

Fictions – Crimes

Hay Festival 2014, 

A pandemic called ‘The Sweats’ is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. Welsh introduces A Lovely Way To Burn, the first outbreak in her Plague Times trilogy. Hannah reveals The Telling Error, the latest in her Culver Valley Crime series of novels.