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David Edgar

The 2014 Housman Lecture

Hay Festival 2014, 

With illustrations ranging from Shakespeare to Sheridan, from Caryl Churchill and Howard Brenton to Oscar Wilde and Brian Friel, playwright David Edgar explores the poetry of plays.

David Edgar's plays include Destiny, Nicholas Nickleby, Pentecost and Written on the Heart for the RSC, and The Shape of the Table, Albert Speer and Playing with Fire for the National Theatre. He founded Britain's first postgraduate course in playwriting studies (at the University of Birmingham in 1989) and is the author of How Plays Work.

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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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Matt Haig and Alyssa Brugman

Closed Doors, Open Minds

Hay Festival 2014, 

Echo Boy is the first novel for young adults from acclaimed author Matt Haig and is a poignant and beautifully-written story about love, loss and what makes us truly human, set in a future world where humans are served by ‘echoes’ – sophisticated, emotionless machines. He is joined by Alyssa Brugman whose groundbreaking novel Alex As Well is a confronting and heartfelt story of adolescent experience – of questioning identity, discovering sexuality, navigating friendships and finding a place to belong.
12+ years (YA)

Matt Haig and Alyssa Brugman

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Philip Ball

Serving The Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics Under Hitler

Hay Festival 2014, 

While some scientists in Nazi Germany tried to create an Aryan physics that excluded any ‘Jewish ideas’, many others made compromises and concessions as they continued to work under the regime. Ball examines the records of Max Planck, Peter Debye and Werner Heisenberg.

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Henrietta L. Moore and Ricken Patel

Cambridge University Series 9: The Future of Civic Activism

Hay Festival 2014, 

Relationships between state and society have undergone a significant shift over the last decade. On both sides promises have been made and broken, expectations raised and shattered, partnerships brokered and roles reversed. Moreover, the influence of non-state actors has become impossible to discount. Professor Moore will talk about changes in ‘politics from below’ and ask whether there is something genuinely new in kind about the way in which civil society is now operating. She is joined by video link by the co-founder of the global protest movement AVAAZ. 

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Venetia Williams, Revel Guest, Elizabeth Haycox and Tiffany Murray

Crossing Borders

Hay Festival 2014, 

A wide-ranging conversation about ambitions and opportunities with several of the remarkable women living and working here in the Border Country as profiled by writer Julia Gregson and photographer Alex Pownall in their book Crossing Borders. Horse trainer Venetia Williams has won over £1m in prize-money this year. Revel Guest is a film-maker and chair of the Hay Festival. Elizabeth Haycox is the owner of Richard Booth’s Bookshop and a Trustee of Hay Castle. Tiffany Murray is a novelist, author of Diamond Star Halo. The session will include a tribute to the late Jean Miller.

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Lewis Pugh

21 Yaks and a Speedo

Hay Festival 2014, 
What does it feel like to stand on the edge of the sea ice at the North Pole in nothing more than a Speedo swimming costume? What kind of man dives into that freezing ocean and swims a full kilometre? And why? The intrepid environmentalist, endurance swimmer and inspirational UN Patron of the Oceans has swum as far north and as far south as a body can get, as well as on the earth's highest mountain. He's learned a few things about the extremes of human nature, and our fragile blue planet, along the way. Chaired by Paul Blezard.
Lewis Pugh

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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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Lucy Carpenter

Our Oceans and Atmosphere: A Strained Relationship

Hay Festival 2014, 

The earth’s oceans and atmosphere have been intimately linked since they were formed, with one compartment helping to sustain life in the other. Now, changes in climate are perturbing the natural exchanges and threaten life in both. The oceanographer examines the scientific understanding of chemical exchanges between the sea and air that impact on the Earth’s heat balance and underpin future projections of climate change.

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Charlotte Hill, Justin Davis-Smith, Chloe Donovan and Caroline Killeavy

Bridging the Volunteer Age Gap

Hay Festival 2014, 

The younger generation often gets a bad rap and yet around a third of young people volunteer regularly. What does society need to do to make use of its greatest asset – its youth – to inspire the next generation of community activists? Charlotte Hill (Step Up To Serve), Justin Davis-Smith (NCVO) and Chloe Donovan (Chair of the Canal and River Trust's youth advisory panel) discuss with Caroline Killeavy from the Canal and River Trust.

FREE BUT TICKETED

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Fairytale Hairdressing

Hay Festival 2014, 
Author Abie Longstaff and illustrator Lauren Beard will draw you in to a modern fairy tale world where the Big Bad Wolf runs the opticians (all the better to see you with…) and Red Riding Hood has a skateboard shop.
4–6 years
Fairytale Hairdressing

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Family History: War Stories

Hay Festival 2014, 

Sarah Ridley and Rebecca Stevens were both inspired by real stories in their families, including letters sent home from soldiers away at war. Find out how their research inspired their books, Dear Jelly and Valentine Joe.

8+ years

Family History: War Stories

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Nicola Davies

Wildlife Adventures

Hay Festival 2014, 

The zoologist, Really Wild Show presenter and award-winning writer combines heart-stopping adventure stories with real-life conservation projects in an entertaining and informative session for all the family.
8+ years

Nicola Davies

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David Gange

Dialogues with the Dead: Egyptology in British Culture and Religion

Hay Festival 2014, 

In the century that followed the deciphering of hieroglyphic script in 1822, Egypt became a focal point in disputes over the nature of human origins, the patterns underlying human history, the status and purpose of the Bible, and the cultural role of the classics.

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Peter Atkins

What is Chemistry?

Hay Festival 2014, 

A wonderfully accessible introduction to chemistry’s central concepts that shows how it contributes not only towards our material comfort, but also to human culture. Atkins shows how chemistry provides the infrastructure of our world, through the chemical industry, the fuels of heating, power generation and transport, as well as the fabrics of our clothing and furnishings.

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Xiaolu Guo and Tash Aw talk to Daniel Hahn

Fictions – China

Hay Festival 2014, 

Guo’s love story I Am China explores ideas of translation and exile and the role of the artist. Longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, Aw’s Five Star Billionaire maps the overlapping lives of five newcomers to Shanghai.

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Louise Yates

Dog Loves…

Hay Festival 2014, 
The author of the wonderful – and Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning – Dog Loves series shares her inspiration and encourages young children to join in the story and do some drawing.
3+ years
Louise Yates

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Matt Dickinson

The Everest Files: A Short (and Turbulent!) Trip to the Top of the World

Hay Festival 2014, 

Is chaos descending on Mount Everest? Why are Sherpas and Westerners fighting on the slopes? How come the Nepalese authorities have had to put an army post at base camp? And what about the ever-younger age of climbers? Do 13-year-olds really belong in this lethal place? Everest Summiteer Matt Dickinson discusses these dramatic changes and presents a fact-filled journey to the top of the world’s highest mountain. He also discusses his new teen novel The Everest Files, which follows an Everest expedition from the point of view of a 16-year-old Sherpa climber.
8+ years

Matt Dickinson

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Steve Cole

Special Agent Mummy

Hay Festival 2014, 
In a fun-filled, frantic session, Steve will reveal the loopy origins of his many creations, give story-writing tips and make plenty of atrocious jokes… It’s everything you wanted to know about space-dinosaurs, monster superheroes and time-travelling Egyptian mummies but were too afraid to ask!
7+ years
Steve Cole

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Hew Strachan talks to Richard Norton-Taylor

The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical Perspective

Hay Festival 2014, 

The wars since 9/11, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, have generated frustration and an increasing sense of failure in the West and the blame has been attributed to poor strategy. Strachan, one of the world’s leading military historians, reveals how these failures resulted from a fundamental misreading and misapplication of strategy itself. He argues that the wars since 2001 have not in reality been as ‘new’ as has been widely assumed and that we need to adopt a more historical approach to contemporary strategy in order to identify what is really changing in how we wage war.

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Philip Walling

Counting Sheep: A Celebration of the Pastoral Heritage of Britain

Hay Festival 2014, 

Sheep are the thread that runs through the history of the British countryside. Our fortunes were once founded on sheep, and this book tells a story of wool and money and history, of merchants and farmers and shepherds, of English yeomen and how they got their freedom and, above all, of the soil. He talks to Kitty Corrigan.

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Diana McCaulay, Michael Mendis and Maggie Gee

A Commonwealth Writers Conversation

Hay Festival 2014, 

The Untold Story: The Environment in Fiction 

The impact of global warming is likely to be, ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible’, according to a recent UN report. Diana McCaulay, environmental activist and author from Jamaica, Michael Mendis, blogger and short story writer from Sri Lanka, and UK novelist Maggie Gee explore what happens when science and fiction meet, with Daniel Hahn.

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Martin Brown

Horrible Histories

Hay Festival 2014, 
The illustrator brings in an action-packed show full of jokes, stories and live drawing. Find out fabulous facts from history and see drawings leap from his pen, with suggestions from the audience adding to the fun. The first Horrible History book, written by Terry Deary and illustrated by Brown, was published in 1993. The series went on to become a BAFTA award-winning CBBC show and stage show and there are now almost 100 books ranging from histories of the Romans and Greeks to the Stuarts and the First World War.
8+ years
Martin Brown

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Mitchell Symons

Happily Never After: Modern Cautionary Tales

Hay Festival 2014, 

Mitchell has won the Blue Peter Best Book with Facts Awards twice, for Why Eating Bogeys Is Good For You and Do Igloos Have Loos? Here, the revolting rhymes expert treats his audience to a wickedly funny retelling of Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children.

9+ years

Mitchell Symons

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Nicola Davies

The Promise

Hay Festival 2014, 

Nicola is a marvellous writer, speaker, and observer of the natural world. She reads from her beautiful new picture book The Promise, which reminds us all that the smallest actions can change our world for the better.
5+ years

Nicola Davies

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