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Rory Stewart

The Marches

Hay Festival 2017, 

The writer and politician  recounts his final journey with his 90-year-old father along the border between Scotland and England. They relive Scottish dances, reflect on Burmese honey-bears, and on the loss of human presence in the British landscape. On mountain ridges and in housing estates they uncover a forgotten country crushed between England and Scotland: the Middleland. They discover unsettling modern lives, lodged in an ancient land. Their odyssey develops into a history of nationhood, an anatomy of the landscape, a chronicle of contemporary Britain and an exuberant encounter between a father and a son. 

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Raoul Martinez talks to William Sieghart

Creating Freedom: Power, Control and the Fight for Our Future

Hay Festival 2017, 

Martinez brings together a torrent of mind-expanding ideas, facts and arguments to dismantle sacred myths central to our society - myths about free will, free markets, free media and free elections. From the lottery of our birth to the consent-manufacturing influence of concentrated wealth and power, this far-reaching manifesto lifts the veil on the mechanisms of control that pervade our lives.

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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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Andrea Wulf

The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science

Hay Festival 2016, 

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there’s a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. He explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar’s revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo owned all of his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, “the greatest man since the Deluge”. Wulf’s biography won the Costa Prize. Chaired by Professor Philip Davies.

Andrea Wulf

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Marcus Brigstocke, Carrie Quinlan, Andre Vincent and guest

The Early Edition

Hay Festival 2015, 

The home team satirists read the Sunday papers.

Marcus Brigstocke, Carrie Quinlan, Andre Vincent and guest

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John Pikoulis, Juliet Aykroyd, Owen Sheers

Alun Lewis: The Syllable of Love

Hay Festival 2015, 

In this first event celebrating the centenary of the Welsh poet Alun Lewis, Owen Sheers will read the poetry and Juliet Aykroyd will reveal how he and her mother, Freda, fell in love in India during World War II. Lewis’s letters to Freda, published in A Cypress Walk, prove him to be one of the great letter-writers.

John Pikoulis, Juliet Aykroyd, Owen Sheers

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Atinuke

Hay Festival 2015, 

Atinuke collects stories, writes stories and tells stories, all of which originate in Africa. You will be spellbound by Atinuke’s traditional storytelling as she conjures up the sights, sounds and hustle and bustle of life in Nigeria, where she was born.

4+ years
Atinuke

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Salomón Bazbaz Lapidus

El Tajin

Hay Festival 2014, 

The Director of the Festival Cumbre Tajin at the spectacular pre-Hispanic Mexican world heritage site in Veracruz explains the culture of the Totonac people, their relationship with Cortez and the Aztecs, the elemental power of the thunder god and the relationship of the people and the sacred city, with its Mesoamerican pyramids and rituals.

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Mark Maslin

The Cradle of Humanity: How the changing landscape of Africa made us so smart

Hay Festival 2017, 

Humans are rather weak when compared to many other animals. We are not particularly fast and have no natural weapons. Yet we have influenced almost every part of the ecosystem and as a consequence we are changing the global environmental and evolutionary trajectory of the Earth. So how did we become the world’s apex predator and take over the planet? Maslin is Professor of Geography at UCL. He talks to Sarfraz Manzoor.

Mark Maslin

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James Holland

Ladybird Experts: The Battle of Britain

Hay Festival 2017, 

The war historian explains the different challenges faced by the RAF and the Luftwaffe in 1940, the technologies of the planes and, above all, the skill, bravery and endurance of the airmen engaged in a contest that was of critical importance to the outcome of the Second World War.

Suitable for young readers 8+ and historians
James Holland

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Mark Lynas

Nuclear 2.0

Hay Festival 2014, 

Is nuclear power the only realistic solution to our energy crisis? Using the latest world energy statistics Lynas shows that with wind and solar still at only about 1 percent of global primary energy, asking renewables to deliver all the world’s power is ‘dangerously delusional’.

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Michael Marmot talks to Rajan Datar

The Health Gap

Hay Festival 2016, 

There are dramatic differences in health between countries and within countries. But this is not a simple matter of rich and poor. A poor man in Glasgow is rich compared to the average Indian, but the Glaswegian’s life expectancy is 8 years shorter. In all countries, people at relative social disadvantage suffer health disadvantage, and dramatically so. Within countries, the higher the social status of individuals, the better is their health. But globally these health inequalities defy usual explanations. Creating the conditions for people to lead flourishing lives, and thus empowering individuals and communities, is key to development. Datar reports for BBC World News.

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Jasper Fforde talks to Paul Blezard

Hay Festival 2008, 
The cult humorist and Wodehouse Prize-winner, yarns his latest adventure comedy First Among Sequels.

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Bronwen Maddox, Terry Burns, David Allen Green and Vicky Pryce

Brexit Britain 2: How To Do It

Hay Festival 2017, 

If the political decision is difficult, what will the practical delivery be like? How can it be done? By whom? And when? Maddox is the Director of the Institute for Government; Lord Burns was Permanent Secretary to the Treasury in the 1990s; Pryce was joint head of the Government’s Economic Service until 2010, and is the author of Greekonomics; Allen Green writes the Jack of Kent blog and is the author of Brexit: What Everyone Needs to Know.

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Charlotte Scott

Talking About Shakespeare: Of Ghosts and Witches

Hay Festival 2016, 

What’s Macbeth without the witches? Quite possibly the play Shakespeare wrote. Macbeth was not published until after Shakespeare’s death and it is highly likely that it was his great contemporary Thomas Middleton who wrote most of the supernatural scenes. The Goldsmiths Shakespeare scholar will consider the role of the witches in Macbeth; their lasting legacy of psychosexual drama and the problems of ‘normal’ in a play that features a homicidal thane, a woman who wants to be unsexed, and a collection of bearded women babbling on a heath. Chaired by Peter Florence.

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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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Tristan Gooley

How To Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea

Hay Festival 2016, 

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.

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David Dimbleby

How We Built Britain

Hay Festival 2007, 
The broadcaster gives an illustrated talk about the nation’s architecture, from the palaces to the out-of-town shopping malls.

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Hay 25 - Ben Okri, Jung Chang, Földényi F. László, Dragomán György, Tibor Fischer, Tiffany Murray talk to Jon Gower

Budapest 2012, 
The Hay Festival is 25 this year, and as part of the celebrations we have put 25 Questions to everyone taking part in all our 15 festivals around the world. Please join the panel to discuss three of the Questions – Why do we read books? We’re building a library of literature, music and cinema. Which one book, film and album would you contribute to it? 25 years ago, the whole world lived in fear of an Aids pandemic, the Berlin Wall divided East and Western Europe, China and Latin America were considered part of the developing world and less than 1% of the world’s population used mobile phones or computers. What changes will we see to the way we live now in 25 years’ time?
 
English with simultaneous translation into Hungarian

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Warsan Shire, Dr Neal Hall, Mongane Wally Seroteand Njeri Wangari

Voicing The Unspoken

Storymoja Nairobi 2013, 

Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth) won the Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Dr. Neal Hall (Nigger for Life) has won over 10 prizes for poetry in book festivals around the world. Mongane Wally Serote (Yakhal'Inkomo) has won the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize, the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa and was a Fulbright Scholar. These multiple-award-winning poets read from their work and talk to Kenyan Poet, Njeri Wangari (Mines and Mindfields) about asylum, war, love, loss, borders, insanity, race, identity and inequality.

 

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Hari Kunzru and Samanta Schweblin talk to Claire Armitstead

Fictions: Bad Timing

Hay Festival 2017, 

New novels by two of the world’s most gifted and exacting prose writers bring the past terrifyingly into the present. In Kunzru’s White Tears, two ambitious musicians are drawn into a dark underworld in contemporary New York. Schweblin’s Fever Dream explores the history of a young woman and the boy who sits at her death-bed. Fever Dream has been long-listed for the 2017 International Man Booker Prize.

Hari Kunzru and Samanta Schweblin talk to Claire Armitstead

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AC Grayling

Democracy and its Crisis

Hay Festival 2018, 

The philosopher investigates why the institutions of representative democracy seem unable to hold up against forces they were designed to manage, and why it matters. He considers those moments in history when the challenges we face today were first encountered and what solutions were found. Then he lays bare the specific threats facing democracy today.

AC Grayling

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Rob Biddulph

Sunk!

Hay Festival 2017, 

Penguin and his friends from Blown Away are back in a new adventure, and this time they’re pirates. While sailing the seven seas in search of treasure, Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly sunk. But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all. Join Rob Biddulph for story-telling and drawing.

3+
Rob Biddulph

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John Maddox

What Remains to be Discovered

Hay Festival 1997, 
Far from being played out, Science is just beginning. Some of the outstanding questions that cannot yet be answered are: Where did the Universe come from? How did life begin? And how does the brain work? But the questions that will occupy our grandchildren are those we are not yet smart enough to ask...

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Philipp Meyer and Linda Spalding talk to Kirsty Wark

Fictions – Once Upon a Time in the West

Hay Festival 2014, 

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, Meyer’s The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. In Spalding’s The Purchase a young Quaker father and widower leaves his home in Pennsylvania to establish a new life. He sets out with two horses, a wagon full of belongings, his five children, a 15-year-old orphan wife, and a few land warrants for his future homestead. When Daniel suddenly trades a horse for a young slave, Onesimus, it sets in motion a struggle in his conscience that will taint his life forever.