Roger Bushell was ‘Big X’, mastermind of the mass breakout from Stalag Luft III in March 1944, immortalised in the Hollywood film The Great Escape. Through exclusive access to his private papers – as well as fascinating new research from other sources – journalist Pearson has now written the first biography of this iconic figure. Chaired by Katrin Bennhold.
The author discusses her first novel for seven years, the story of a motherhood and neighbourhood and society in North London over several decades. The book is rich with the combination of acute observation and insight and the beautiful economy of prose familiar to her readers.
The Galapagos were once known to the sailors and pirates who encountered them as Las Encantadas: the enchanted islands, home to marvellous creatures and dramatic volcanic scenery. This captivating history of the world’s most famous islands charts their evolution from deserted wilderness to profoundly important scientific resource and now global tourist destination. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
Clever, optimistic, beautifully written and very amusing, these three writers’ books explore the relationships within families and between close friends with great insight and humour. The multiple-award-winning Hilary McKay whose new book is Binny For Short, is joined by Natasha Farrant, author of The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series, and newcomer Jane Elson, author of A Room Full of Chocolate, for a lively session about the highs and lows of family life and how it inspires their fiction.
The broadcaster discusses his memoir: a profoundly moving and heartfelt tribute to a much-loved father who was involved in some of WWII’s most significant campaigns, including the Dunkirk evacuation and the D-Day landings; and a sincere and humble commemoration of the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers of WWII.
The author made plans to cycle the legendary Via Heraklea. It was an ancient path that took him deep into the world of the Celts: their gods, their art, and, most of all, their sophisticated knowledge of science. Gradually, a lost map revealed itself, of an empire constructed with precision and beauty across vast tracts of Europe. Oriented according to the movements of the Celtic sun god, the map had been forgotten for almost two millennia.
Wales’ inaugural National Poet Gwyneth Lewis’ latest memoir is Two in a Boat – A Marital Voyage. John Harrison is the author of the Wales Book of the Year winner Cloud Road – A Journey Through the Inca Heartland; he recently recovered from throat cancer. Chaired by New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies.
The lawyer who took giant US oil company Chevron to court and had them found guilty and fined billions of dollars, and who was himself successfully taken to court by Chevron under a civil racketeering suit, is joined by Patrick Alley, director of Global Witness, to discuss how tackling corporate power is a vital step to saving the environment and creating an economy that benefits everyone. Chaired by Anthea Lawson.
Imagine you’re a sausage. You are in a frying pan, happily sizzling away with other like-minded sausages. Then one of them starts to tell you about tomato ketchup. You refuse to believe your friend’s stories but later you find yourself being dipped head first into that tangy, tomatoey joy. And then you realise that yes – ketchup is true. Watching James Campbell is a bit like that. But there aren’t any sausages involved. Or ketchup.
Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison are the co-authors of hilarious teen debut Lobsters. Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find The One. Their ‘lobster’. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins forever, to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love. Tom and Lucy met in the sixth form and have been friends ever since. Lucy runs online teen magazine Whatever After, as well as teaching in girls’ schools across London specialising in building confidence and creativity. Tom is a journalist and has written for ShortList, TimeOut, Vice, TalkSPORT, ESPN and Viz. Are they lobsters? You’ll have to come along to find out…
13+ years (YA)
When the winter floods receded, they left behind a changed political landscape: one in which we began at last to discuss the treatment of the land and how that affects us. In Feral Monbiot explored the destruction of the uplands and the astonishing, restorative potential of rewilding. Now he extends that analysis, explaining how disastrous agricultural policies strip the soil and exacerbate flooding, and arguing that they can be reversed.
A conversation about the penal system. Pryce served time for perverting the course of justice. She is the author of Prisonomics: Behind Bars in Britain’s Failing Prisons. Both former Prison Governors and now criminologists, Wilson is the author of Out of Sight Out of Mind and Pain and Retribution. They talk to Erwin James, author of A Life Inside and The Home Stretch.
A reading of work written by and for the poet Nigel Jenkins who died in January this year. You can hear his beautiful evocation of the Gower coast in the Festival audio archive.
FREE BUT TICKETED
The Hay Festival is one of the largest annual events in Wales, attracting in excess of 100,000 visitors. The Festival launched its Greenprint programme in 2006 in an attempt to manage and mitigate the direct and indirect environmental impacts of the Festival. What motivates visitors to attend, what are their consumption patterns and how can change be effected? Cardiff University’s Andrea Collins presents her study research and talks with the Sustainability Director.