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Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

Somme: Into the Breach

Hay Festival 2016, 

Planned as a decisive strike but fought as a bloody battle of attrition in 1916, the Battle of the Somme claimed over a million dead or wounded in months of fighting that have long epitomized the tragedy and folly of the First World War. By focusing on the first-hand experiences and personal stories of both Allied and enemy soldiers, Sebag-Montefiore defies the customary framing of incompetent generals and senseless slaughter. In its place, eyewitness accounts relive scenes of extraordinary courage and sacrifice, as soldiers ordered over the top ventured into No Man’s Land and enemy trenches, where they met a hail of machine-gun fire, thickets of barbed wire, and exploding shells. Chaired by Jesse Norman.

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Steve Cole

Hay Festival 2013, 

A fun-filled frantic session with the creator of the Astrosaurs and Cows In Action series.

7+ years

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Sonia Montecino

Rapa Nui – Easter Island

Hay Festival 2014, 

The Chilean anthropologist introduces the colonial history and culture of the Polynesian island, and the islanders’ relationship with food, language and the renowned stone sculptures.

Sonia Montecino

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Jon Salfield and Simon Stanton

The Alegria Duo

Hay Festival 2014, 

The exhilarating World music fusion of the guitar/percussion duo has excited audiences around Europe. Guitarist Jon Salfield and percussionist Simon Stanton have crafted a unique and dynamic repertoire combining Flamenco and Latin traditions, with elements of North African, Caribbean and jazz traditions, and a healthy dose of improvisation.

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Robin Ince talks to Stephanie Merritt

I’m a Joke and So Are You: A Comedian’s Take on What Makes us Human

Hay Festival 2019, 

Where does anxiety come from? How do we overcome imposter syndrome? What is the key to creativity? How can we deal with grief? Informed by personal insights as well as interviews with some of the world’s top comedians, neuroscientists and psychologists, the comedian and Infinite Monkey Cage host offers a hilarious and often moving primer to the mind. But it is also a powerful call to embrace the full breadth of our inner experience – no matter how strange we worry it may be!

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Charlotte and Adam Guillain

Muffins for Mummies

Hay Festival 2017, 

Brave explorer George has packed 25 muffins for his night-time adventure in the museum to catch the fabled thief. Can he and his faithful puppy Trixie track down the criminal without getting squashed by the great big mammoth? With storytelling and funny songs, the authors bring the entertaining adventure to life.

3+
Charlotte and Adam Guillain

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Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure

Hay Festival 2015, 
Stephan Pastis is a lawyer-turned cartoonist, and creator of the New York Times bestselling series, Timmy Failure. In this lively event Stephan talks about his career, from lawyer to cartoonist. Expect lots of live drawing and cartooning from Stephan, and plenty of laughs.
8+ years
Stephan Pastis

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Joe Klein, David Halberstam, Christopher Hitchens and Jonathan Freedland

The Story is America

Hay Festival 2002, 
One of America's most brilliant political journalists, Klein was the anonymous author of the outrageous and unexaggerated satire Primary Colours and has just Published The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton. Halberstam's War In A Time of Peace explores America's role as the only international super-power and the effects of a generational shift in national leadership, the modern media's emphasis on entertainment over foreign news, and the leap in military technology and American economic prosperity that has rendered foreign policy largely irrelevant to many US citizens. Hitchens writes for Vanity Fair. Freedland writes for The Guardian and is the author of Bring Home the Revolution.

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Elizabeth Day talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

How To Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong

Hay Festival 2019, 

A conversation with the novelist and podcaster. “If I have learned one thing from this shockingly beautiful venture called life, it is this: failure has taught me lessons I would never otherwise have understood. I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis.”

Elizabeth Day talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

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The Bookseller YA Book Prize

Hay Festival 2017, 

Join Alex Wheatle, Clare Furniss, Patrice Lawrence and Sara Barnard, all of whom have been shortlisted for the Bookseller YA Book Prize 2017, as they discuss writing about big themes for YA readers. Chaired by Carrie Quinlan.

 #HAYYA

12+

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The Last Poets with Christine Otten

The Last Poets Live – Reading and Conversation

Hay Festival 2018, 
The Last Poets were formed in the US in the late 1960s, a period full of hope and dreams of revolution, and a time when the Black Panthers were at the height of their power. Taking their name from those who believed they were in the last era of poetry before guns would take over, these African-American poets and musicians ignited the imagination of a generation – and laid the groundwork for the hip hop movement of the 1980s and '90s. Dutch author Christine Otten was inspired to write about their lives – and there began a deep friendship and an acclaimed novel. The last poets are Felipe Luciano, David Nelson, and the three who are with us today, Abiodun Oyewole, Donn Babatunde and Umar Bin Hassan.

The Last Poets are supported by Apples and Snakes, the UK's leading organisation for spoken word and performance poetry.
The Last Poets with Christine Otten

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Will Hutton and Andrew Adonis

Saving Britain: How we can Prosper in a New European Future

Hay Festival 2018, 

The former Observer editor and the politician and writer say the EU is a success story despite its frailties. It has guaranteed fundamental human freedoms and provided economic prosperity and order. They argue that Britain is abandoning four centuries of being part of the European diplomatic order for illusory gains and actual losses.

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Gordon McMullan and Katy Mair

By Me, William Shakespeare

Hay Festival 2016, 

McMullan and Mair have carefully selected the nine most fascinating documents held by The National Archives relating to Shakespeare’s life. Presented together for the first time, these are some of the most significant documents in the world that track Shakespeare’s life as a citizen of London, a businessman, a family man, a servant to the King, and even possibly a thief and a subversive. They explore both his domestic and professional lives, what it meant to live in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, and the social impact of his plays. McMullan is also the editor of the new digital Norton edition of the complete plays.

Gordon McMullan and Katy Mair

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Raymond Tallis, Anita Donley and Julie Grigg

We Need to Talk about the NHS

Hay Festival 2016, 

Why are the ‘junior doctors’ calling an all-out strike? What do the PFI hospital contracts mean? How much of the NHS is privatised already? How could it all be better? And what can we do about that? The physician, philosopher and writer Raymond Tallis is the author of NHS SOS; Donley is Clinical Vice President, Royal College of Physicians; Grigg is a GP in the Hay Medical Centre practice.

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Perdita and Honor Cargill and Katy Birchall

Waiting for Callback: Take Two and The It Girl: Superstar Geek

Hay Festival 2017, 

Fame, that’s all Elektra, star of Waiting for Callback: Take Two, has ever wanted, and now she has a part in a film, but things don’t go quite to plan. Anna Huntly, star of The It Girl: Superstar Geek, has a different ambition. Join the creators of these girls as they discuss their witty and wise stories of teenage dreams and anxieties with Emily Drabble, Head of Booktrust’s children’s book promotion.

11+
Perdita and Honor Cargill and Katy Birchall

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Elizabeth Buchan, William Corlett and Sue Gee talk to Phil Rickman

The Country and The City

Hay Festival 1997, 
Buchan's new novel Against Her Nature is a wonderful tale of female survival and empowerment in the financially high-rolling and morally bankrupy eightes. Corlett's Two Gentlemen Sharing is a roller coaster ride throug the sexual mores of life in a "sleepy English village" that leaves its protagonists longing for the relative calm of Carnival Day in Rio. Gee's novel The Hours of the Night is a more sober vision of a similar community on the Welsh Borders.

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Antony Woodward

The Garden in the Clouds

Winter Weekend 2010, 
The hysterical tale of a snow-line gardener from Hay Bluff and his struggle From Derelict Smallholding to Mountain Paradise.

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Liz Calder and Jorge Herralde

Life in Books

Hay Festival 2007, 
The two outstanding international publishers discuss their adventures in the book world. Calder co-founded Bloomsbury and the Brazilian lifest FLIP. Herralde at Anagrama is the most admired independent publisher in the Spanish-speaking world. They talk to Peter Florence.

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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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Margaret Atwood talks to David Aaronovitch

Hay Festival 2003, 
The great Canadian novelist and poet discusses her ingenious and savage biotech fantasy Oryx and Crake with David Aaronvitch

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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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Ben Okri talks to Jon Gower

Budapest 2012, 
The Booker Prize winner (The Famished Road) reads and discusses his poetry and essays.
 
English with simultaneous translation into Hungarian

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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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Ursula Martin

Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist

Hay Festival 2018, 

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron and his highly educated wife, Anne Isabella, is sometimes called the world’s first computer programmer and has become an icon for women in technology. But how did a young woman in the 19th century, without access to formal school or university education, acquire the knowledge and expertise to become a pioneer of computer science? Ursula Martin is a professor at the University of Oxford whose research interests span mathematics, computer science and the humanities.

Ursula Martin

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Gemma Cairney

OPEN: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be

Hay Festival 2017, 

The TV and radio personality and teen ambassador discusses how magic and messed up life can be. Find out how she was inspired to write a book for young people to help them with all the big, bad and beautiful things that growing up is all about: from mental health to families to first love, and everything in between.

 #HAYYA

12+
Gemma Cairney