Whitney Brown was midway through her Masters thesis and on track for an exciting position at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington when a chance meeting with a Welsh dry-stone waller at a folklife festival changed the course of her life. Within weeks Whitney had left behind her secure world in the States and was living with him in rural Wales, learning the craft of dry-stone walling. She fell irretrievably in love with Wales and for what she found there – for stone, for the act of physical creation and accompanying physical exhaustion, for life in the countryside and days spent working in the sanctuary of a lonely hillside to repair structures older than the country of her birth, for windswept valleys and low hanging clouds and chilly nights by the wood stove and, much to her dismay, for a man 33 years her senior. She had no choice but to trust these things and see where they might lead her. It was, after all, the first time in her life she'd ever truly felt at peace.
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.
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!
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.
Sent to Auschwitz on the first Jewish transport, Rena Kornreich survived the Nazi death camps for over three years. While there she was reunited with her sister Danka. Each day became a struggle to fulfill the promise Rena made to her mother when the family was forced to split apart – a promise to take care of her sister. New research informs this event, based on the original transport list that Macadam found in the archives of Yad Vashem with all 998 names of the first women in Auschwitz on it — 297 of whom were teenagers. Chaired by Sarah Crompton.
The poetry curator's latest anthology is a journey through a calendar year, highlighting key moments and dates with a poem for every day, by writers including Wordsworth, Lewis Carroll, Maya Angelou and Emily Dickinson. Join Allie and a host of actors including Tobias Menzies (The History Boys, Game of Thrones, starring as Prince Philip in The Crown season three and four), Ophelia Lovibond, Tony Robinson, Toby Jones and Gina Bellman (star of Coupling, currently streaming to a new generation of fans on Netflix, and Ophelia in Peter Hall’s Hamlet opposite Stephen Dillane) in a highly entertaining hour as they perform their favourite poems from the book, a humorous journey through history and human experience.
The charismatic storyteller takes us on a journey into obsession. Inspired by Perrault’s classic Gothic horror story, it’s magnificently dark, erotic and disturbing. But it’s also fiercely life affirming – a celebration of the love of sisters and the resilience of women. This is a defiantly female version of the tale, in which the sister and mother of the bride, Eva, are given far greater prominence. Eva is awarded infinitely more emotional complexity than usual, as she explosively transforms from a victim into a survivor who will not “rake through the ashes for half burned hopes”.
With simultaneous live drawing by Chris Riddell
Escape to the magical world of the Moomins and their friends as it is explored in this beautiful book, The World of Moominvalley. Join the author as he delves into the background to the classic Moomin stories and reveals the richly creative life of their author Tove Jansson. Moomin fans old and new will be entranced by the wealth of knowledge that this book adds to the familiar stories.
Introduced by Nat Jansz
In association with Oxfam
Mary Shelley was brought up by her father in a house filled with radical thinkers, poets, philosophers and writers of the day. Aged 16, she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a relationship that was lived on the move across Britain and Europe, as she coped with debt, infidelity and the deaths of three children, before early widowhood changed her life for ever. Most astonishingly, it was while she was still a teenager that Mary composed her canonical novel Frankenstein, which was published exactly 200 years ago. In this fascinating dialogue with the past, Sampson sifts through letters, diaries and records to find the real woman behind the story.
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.
Údar/aistritheoir breis is 160 leabhar é Gabriel Rosenstock, dánta, haiku, úrscéalta, leabhair do dhaoine óga, drámaí, gearrscéalta, aistí agus eile ina measc.
Haiku master Gabriel Rosenstock will conduct a bilingual haiku workshop in Irish and English. Rosenstock's Irish translation of the haiku of Jack Kerouac, sioc maidine/morning frost, was recently launched at the Dublin Writers Festival. Internationally known as a poet and haikuist, Rosenstock's titles include Haiku Englightenment and Haiku, The Gentle Art of Disappearing (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). Come and learn how to write and enjoy haiku.
Irish language event
100 years on, as Russia again fills the headlines, an intriguing insight into a world shocked and changed forever. The British Library curator introduces the most resonant exhibits from their Russian collection -- from a first edition of the Communist Manifesto to anti-Bolshevik propaganda and Lenin’s handwritten application for a Reader Pass. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
Francis’ re-telling of the first four stories of the Welsh classic is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world: a baby is kidnapped by a monstrous claw, a giant wades across the Irish Sea to do battle, a wizard makes a woman out of flowers, only to find she is less biddable than he expected. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
The Gallagher’s Boxty House chef looks at the introduction and assimilation of the potato into Irish culture and cuisine, from its late 16th-century arrival to its role in NASA’s exploration of Mars. He talks to Kevin Sheridan of Sheridan’s Cheesemongers.
'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.