Francis’ re-telling of the first four stories of the Welsh classic is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world: a baby is kidnapped by a monstrous claw, a giant wades across the Irish Sea to do battle, a wizard makes a woman out of flowers, only to find she is less biddable than he expected. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
We are living in a society increasingly driven by the technical ability to turn our activities and behaviour into data points that can be tracked and profiled. This is often said to advance responses to a range of social problems but these data processes can also affect individuals or entire communities that may be denied services and access to opportunities, or wrongfully targeted and exploited. What does this mean for fairness and equality? Lina Dencik is a Senior Lecturer at the Cardiff School of Journalism.
Burney, author of Murder and the Making of English CSI, and Machin, creator of the BBC’s Waking the Dead, discuss the history of English crime scene investigation. They will consider how, in the first half of the twentieth century, homicide investigations – in fact and in fiction – turned their attention from a primarily medical and autopsy-based interest in the victim’s body to analysis of minute trace evidence discovered at the murder scene..
The investigative reporter takes us on a journey through the lawless backstreets of cities as diverse as Mumbai, Bogotá, New Orleans, Barcelona and London. He uncovers the people and the scams that keep the global black economy moving. From dice games in steamy southern states to torture in British suburbs; from the sharp end of currency counterfeiting in Buenos Aires to the terrible truth behind antique forgery in the Middle East.
Why does public debate and policy treat the application of genetic technology differently when we are discussing medicine and food? Why is our concept of what is ‘natural’ so controversial and the idea of GM food so alarming? Scientists and sociologists come together with Daniel Davis to discuss what’s being ventured and how it is perceived.
Confronting the truth of his own schooldays and the crimes he witnessed, Renton reveals a profound malaise in the British elite, shown up by tolerance of the abuse of its own children that amounts to collusion. This culture and its traditions, and the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that underpin them, are key to any explanation of the scandals over sexual abuse, violence and cover-up in child care institutions that are now shocking the nation.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink on the planet, but very few people have any idea what it is made of. We all know that wine is made by fermenting pressed juice from grapes and cider comes from pressing apples but what about beer? Beer is traditionally made from four natural ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast and water, and each of these has an extraordinary story to tell. Brown is a journalist and author who specialises in making people thirsty.
The Sky News presenter introduces her book filled with empowering stories of women who have shifted the political landscape, from the Suffragettes to the present day. She discusses sexism, resilience and opportunity with the Labour politician and former Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper. This book went to press on the day the Daily Mail splashed the meeting between the First Minister of Scotland and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom with the headline: ‘Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it?’
The producers of the cult noir film thriller are joined by photographer David Wilson to talk about the silent character in the hit TV show: the landscapes of Ceredigion. Wilson has captured these landscapes for the new book Hinterland Landscapes and the panel will reflect on what the settings have brought to the show, and the impact the show has had on this quiet part of Wales. Chaired by Jon Gower.
Big Data knows where you’ve been and who your friends are. It knows what you like and what makes you angry. It can predict what you’ll buy, where you’ll be the victim of crime and when you’ll have a heart attack. Big Data knows you better than you know yourself, or so it claims. But how well do you know Big Data? Now, thanks to comedian and broadcaster Timandra Harkness, you can grasp the whole subject in an hour, complete with bad puns, audience participation and an electric shock machine.
Science sometimes looks like a rather forbidding activity, carried out behind closed doors by mysterious, white-coated individuals, speaking their own incomprehensible language. But at the most basic level, the quest to understand the world around us is a fundamentally human activity. Science belongs, and has belonged, to all of us – and we all have a responsibility for it. That is what the history of science shows – and that’s why it matters very much indeed. Morus is the author of The Oxford Illustrated History of Science.
Photo: Marie Curie
We are delighted to launch the next instalment in the ‘three great tales’, which began with The Children Of Hurin, painstakingly pieced together by the author’s son, Christopher. Tolkien began work on the story in early 1917 when he returned from the Somme. Set in Middle Earth, at the heart of the tale is a love story between a mortal man and an immortal elf, seen as the precursor to the Aragorn/Arwen story in the Lord of the Rings. The illustrator Alan Lee has created some iconic Middle-Earth imagery, and worked on the Peter Jackson films, for which he won an Oscar.
Herefordshire in 1913 was an old-fashioned shire under the benevolent rule of the Church and the gentry. Its bishop was opposed to war and his successor was opposed to women’s suffrage. Many of its farmers refused to plough on a Sunday: many more regarded women as being incapable of farm work. By 1919 the shire was in mourning for more than 4,000 men, had employed 4,000-plus women in munitions factories and another 2,500 on farms. It had deprived more children of a proper education than any other English county.
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.
Come and experience this uplifting and immersive show about a refugee child and the extraordinary power of kindness. The show is produced especially for Hay Festival by Hereford College of Arts and Open Sky Theatre Company, working with writer Nicola Davies to adapt for stage her poem, The Day War Came.
Who was Thomas More, the author of Utopia? The distinguished historian of Tudor England parses the propaganda and More’s writings to read behind the myth. He examines the ways in which More’s legacy has been contested or resisted. And he suggests which aspects of his thought are likely to continue to influence the world in the future.
Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923-2014) wrote brilliant novels about what love can do to people, but in her own life the lasting relationship she sought so ardently always eluded her. The biographer examines the life of the author of The Cazalet Chronicle, her marriages to the naturalist Peter Scott and the novelist Kingsley Amis, as well as her turbulent relationships with Cecil Day-Lewis, Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee. Cooper’s biography depicts a woman trying to make sense of her life through her writing, as well as illuminating the literary world in which she lived.
The consultant transplant surgeon reviews how organ transplantation is being transformed by innovations in organ donation, stem cell technology, bio-engineered tissues and machine perfusion of organs. He explores what is now possible and discusses the ensuing ethical and legal dilemmas.
Taking us through the seasons in England’s apple-growing heartlands, Brown uncovers the stories and folklore of our most familiar fruit. An orchard is not a field. It’s not a forest or a copse. It couldn’t occur naturally but it demonstrates that man and nature together can create something beautiful.
Environmentalists are good at scare stories; but is a diet of doom and gloom turning people off? Would it be better to inspire people with positive news? Or would that fail to win headlines in a media that still follows the old adage, ‘If it bleeds, it leads’? Pilita Clark, Financial Times Environment Correspondent, Sean Dagan Wood, Editor of Positive News and Futurologist Mark Stevenson talk to Forum for the Future's Martin Wright.
Would you eat an insect? Try it out for yourself at an amazing event with M.G. Leonard, author of Beetle Boy, discussing the inspiration for the book including entomophagy – the practice of eating insects – which features in it. Entomologist Dr Sarah Beynon of The Bug Farm will explain why eating and farming insects could be the future of food, whilst Andy Holcroft of Grub Kitchen cooks up yummy insect bites live on stage for Leonard to eat.
Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt, where the foreign visitors and diplomats who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos beneath their windows. Rappaport draws upon the diaries and letters of these international witnesses, to carry us right into the action: to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened.
The campaigner, publisher and wanderer has spent his life travelling: “The richer our imaginations, the richer our travel experience. We British do things one way and the Spaniards another; there are unlimited ways of doing everything. Kindness is found in unexpected places, as is eccentricity. Eccentrics are an endangered species and need as much protection as does the house sparrow.”