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William Perry talks to Nik Gowing

The 2016 Joseph Rotblat Lecture: My Journey at the Nuclear Brink

Hay Festival 2016, 

Perry was Bill Clinton’s Defence Secretary and has worked on security throughout his career. He explains the development of his thinking on weaponry and security as he journeys from the Cuban Missile Crisis to crafting a defence strategy in the Carter Administration to offset the Soviets’ numeric superiority in conventional forces, presiding over the dismantling of more than 8,000 nuclear weapons in the Clinton Administration, and his creation in 2007 (with George Shultz, Sam Nunn and Henry Kissinger) of the Nuclear Security Project to articulate “a vision of a world free from nuclear weapons and to lay out the urgent steps needed to reduce nuclear dangers”.

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Chris McGrath

Mr Darley’s Arabian

Hay Festival 2016, 

Ninety-five per cent of all thoroughbreds in the world are descended from one horse, the so-called Darley Arabian, shipped from Aleppo to Yorkshire in 1704 by a second son who failed to make his fortune and died before he could follow his horse home. The former racing correspondent on the Independent tells the story of the men and women who owned and traded and bred the horses descended from that first stallion. He also follows the men they hired to train them, and the jockeys who rode them and sometimes rescued them from the knacker’s yard, unwittingly preserving the genetic line of winners that currently resides with the champion Frankel. Chaired by the producer of the Horse Tales documentaries Corisande Albert.

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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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Emma Rutland

Capability Brown and Belvoir: Discovering a Lost Landscape

Hay Festival 2016, 

The Duchess of Rutland tells the story of the rediscovery of the great landscape designer’s abandoned plans for the Leicestershire estate. In a sumptuously illustrated lecture she shows how the original vision has now been articulated at one of Britain’s most spectacular country houses. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.

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Melvin Burgess

Junk at 20

Hay Festival 2016, 

Junk won the prestigious Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Book Prize in 1996. It was criticised for depicting young drug-users. Twenty years on, author Melvin Burgess discusses the book and the controversy that has surrounded it with Julia Eccleshare.

12+

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Julia Green

The Wilderness War - Woodland Trust Series

Hay Festival 2016, 

Can Noah and his friends save their wilderness from developers? It’s the place where they make dens and sleep under the stars and they’re prepared to fight to save it. Join the author as she discusses the book and her own passion for preserving and protecting the countryside.

8+

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Jonathan Dimbleby

The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War

Hay Festival 2016, 

The Battle of the Atlantic was crucial to victory in the Second World War. If the German U-boats had prevailed, the maritime artery across the Atlantic would have been severed. Mass hunger would have consumed Britain, and the Allied armies would have been prevented from joining in the invasion of Europe. There would have been no D-Day. Using fascinating contemporary diaries and letters, from the leaders and the sailors on all sides, Dimbleby maps the human stories, the intelligence breakthroughs and the strategic daring of this turning point in European history.

Jonathan Dimbleby

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Aurélia Masson-Berghoff

Sunken Cities

Hay Festival 2016, 

Beneath the waters of Abukir Bay, at the edge of the Nile Delta, lie the submerged remains of the ancient Egyptian cities Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion, which sank more than a thousand years ago. They were dramatically rediscovered in the C20th and brought to the surface by marine archaeologists in the 1990s. The wealth of ancient artefacts from these excavations are now exhibited in the British Museum’s landmark exhibition. The curator tells the story of how two iconic ancient civilisations, Egypt and Greece, interacted in the late first millennium BC.

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Samer Nashef talks to Rosie Boycott

The Naked Surgeon: The Power and Peril of Transparency in Medicine

Hay Festival 2016, 

The consultant cardiac surgeon at Papworth looks at the development of tools to measure how well surgeons and hospitals are performing. He addresses the crucial decisions faced by anyone contemplating a medical intervention: should I keep taking the tablets? Should I have an operation? Which surgeon should I choose? He reveals why requesting a surgeon with the lowest patient mortality rate could be a mistake; how anaesthetists seem to make no difference to the outcome of an operation, but surgeons do; and why patients operated on the day before a surgeon goes on holiday are twice as likely to die as those operated on during that surgeon’s first day back.

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Claire Harman

Charlotte Brontë 200

Hay Festival 2016, 

Charlotte was a literary visionary, a feminist trailblazer and the driving force behind the whole Brontë family. She pushed Emily to publish Wuthering Heights and took charge of their precarious finances when her feckless brother turned to opium. In Jane Eyre she introduced the world to a brand new kind of heroine, modelled on herself: quiet but fiercely intelligent, burning with passion and potential. Harman is the award-winning biographer of Sylvia Townsend Warner, Fanny Burney and Robert Louis Stevenson, and the author of the best-selling Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World. Chaired by Catherine Han of Cardiff University.

Claire Harman

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Safia Minney talks to Dilys Williams

Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics

Hay Festival 2016, 

Slow Fashion offers creatives, entrepreneurs and ethical consumers a glimpse into the innovative world of the eco-concept store movement. It focuses on sustainable design and businesses that makes people, livelihoods and sustainability central to everything they do. Minney is founder and CEO of fairtrade and sustainable fashion label People Tree. Williams is Director of The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion.

Safia Minney talks to Dilys Williams

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Michelle Robinson

Goodnight Spaceman

Hay Festival 2016, 

Bedtime goodnights to their toy rockets and the planet turn into a magical adventure for two Space-mad boys once they’re asleep. Join the author/illustrator as she takes them on their journey, and make your own planets to take home. 

3+

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The Bookseller YA Prize

Hay Festival 2016, 

Join a stellar line-up of some of this year’s shortlisted authors for The Bookseller YA Prize as they are put under the spotlight by the judges before the winner is finally revealed.  And celebrate with them afterwards! This year’s frontrunners are Holly Bourne, Sarah Crossan, Jenny Downham, Frances Hardinge, Catherine Johnson, Patrick Ness, Louise O’Neill, Mel Salisbury, William Sutcliffe and Lisa Williamson.

12+

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Jonathan Bate

The British Academy Lecture: William Shakespeare 1616-2116

Hay Festival 2016, 

Why are we celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death? Who and what are we celebrating? How did Shakespeare get from there (the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage) to here (the global icon) and where will he go in the next hundred years? The eminent Shakespeare scholar is the author of The Genius of Shakespeare and Soul of the Age: The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare. He is Professor of English at the University of Oxford. Chaired by Jerry Brotton.

Jonathan Bate

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Paul G Bahn

Images of the Ice Age

Hay Festival 2016, 

An illustrated lecture explores the earliest human art and what it tells us about our ancestors. Bahn looks at the famous cave paintings of Lascaux, Altamira, and Chauvet and the thousands of exquisite pieces of portable art in bone, antler, ivory, and stone produced in the same period. In 2003, Bahn led the team that discovered the first Ice Age cave art in England, at Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire. Chaired by Daisy Leitch.

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Tiffany Jenkins

Keeping Their Marbles

Hay Festival 2016, 

The fabulous collections housed in the world’s most famous museums are trophies from an imperial age. Now the countries from which these treasures came would like them back. The Greek demand for the return of the Elgin Marbles is the tip of an iceberg that includes claims for the Benin Bronzes from Nigeria, sculpture from Turkey, scrolls and porcelain taken from the Chinese Summer Palace, textiles from Peru, the bust of Nefertiti, Native American sacred objects and Aboriginal human remains. Jenkins investigates why repatriation claims have soared in recent decades and shows that sending artefacts back will not achieve the desired social change nor repair the wounds of history. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.

Tiffany Jenkins

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Cathy Rentzenbrink talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister

Hay Festival 2016, 

In the summer of 1990, Cathy’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out. It was two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive. They did not know then that there are many and various fates worse than death. The Last Act of Love is shortlisted for The Wellcome Book Prize.

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Kathelijne Koops

Cambridge Series 15: Chimps, Bonobos, Humans

Hay Festival 2016, 

What can chimpanzees and bonobos tell us about the extraordinarily complex human cultures? Koops, an Affiliated Lecturer in the Division of Biological Anthropology at Cambridge, investigates this question by studying our closest living relatives, the great apes.

Kathelijne Koops

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Ross Welford and Christopher Edge

Science and Wonder

Hay Festival 2016, 

The brilliant Ross and Christopher explore the wonder of science as a way to explain some of the mysteries of the world in their books, Time Travelling with a Hamster and The Many Worlds of Albie Bright.

8+

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Richard Shirreff talks to Nik Gowing

The President’s War

Hay Festival 2016, 

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.

Richard Shirreff talks to Nik Gowing

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Barry Cunliffe

By Steppe, Desert and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia

Hay Festival 2016, 

The story of how humans first started building the globalised world we know today. Set on a huge continental stage, from Europe to China, it is a tale covering more than ten thousand years from the origins of farming around 9,000 BC to the expansion of the Mongols in the C13th AD. Cunliffe brings into clearer focus those basic underlying factors that have driven change throughout the ages: the acquisitive nature of humanity, the differing environments in which people live and the dislocating effect of even slight climatic variation. The Emeritus Professor of Archaeology is the author of The Ancient Celts, Facing the Ocean, and Britain Begins.

Barry Cunliffe

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Denis Burdakov, Anne O’Garra, Barry Thompson

Collaborating to Beat Cancer: Cancer Research UK Series

Hay Festival 2016, 

What do neuroscience, tuberculosis and the humble fruit fly have to do with cancer? At the Francis Crick Institute, London’s new biomedical discovery centre, scientists from across the biomedical spectrum are being brought together under one roof. They are revolutionising research into cancer by speaking across specialisms and towards scientific innovation in the C21st. Chaired by Francine Stock.

Denis Burdakov, Anne O’Garra, Barry Thompson

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John Lewis-Stempel

The Running Hare: The Secret Life of Farmland

Hay Festival 2016, 

Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the past 20 years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life. The author of The Wild Life and Meadowland tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland: from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the linnet pecking at seeds to the seven-spot ladybird that eats the aphids that eat the crop. He talks to Kitty Corrigan.

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Malorie Blackman

Chasing the Stars

Hay Festival 2016, 

The author pays tribute to Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary in this brilliant new novel inspired by Othello. Her heartrending tale blends a love story with a sci-fi twist in an original Space-age adventure. Hear her discuss the story and her own love of Shakespeare with Claire Armitstead of the Guardian.

12+

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Frances Hardinge, Katherine Woodfine and Lyn Gardner

Mystery Moments

Hay Festival 2016, 

Unexplained death! Who knows what will happen next? Come and meet the authors of The Lie Tree, The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth and Rose Campion and the Stolen Secret – three hugely entertaining and gripping stories. In conversation with Emma Carroll.

10+

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