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David Crystal

The Story Of English In 100 Words

Winter Weekend 2011, 
A unique history of the English language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising.
David Crystal

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Neil MacGregor and Richard J Evans

Germany and Memory

Hay Festival 2016, 
A conversation with two of the world’s greatest historians. MacGregor is the former Director of the British Museum, author of the BBC Radio 4 series and books A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany: Memories of a Nation. Evans, Regius Professor Emeritus of History at Cambridge University, is the leading authority on C20th Germany. His most recent book is The Third Reich in History and Memory.
Neil MacGregor and Richard J Evans

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John Eliot Gardiner

Music in the Castle of Heaven

Hay Festival 2014, 

One of the world’s leading conductors presents his portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who seems so ordinary, so opaque – and occasionally so intemperate? Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.

John Eliot Gardiner

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Dick and Dom

Hay Festival 2015, 
Join Dick and Dom, authors of Slightly Naughty But Very Silly Words and their gut-splitting new handbook, Whoopee Book of Practical Jokes, for a big handful of comedy nuts and babbling guff! An interactive and very funny show which includes a practical joke master class, stuffed with gags, brilliant practical jokes and sage and onion. If this event doesn’t tickle your funny bone, you’re probably dead!
7+ years
Dick and Dom

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Simon Sebag Montefiore

Jerusalem

Hay Festival 2011, 
The biography of the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgment Day and the battlefield of today’s clash of civilizations. Chaired by Clemency Burton-Hill.
 
Read a review of Jerusalem

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John Sutherland and John Crace

The Two Johnnies Do Sex And Marriage: From Austen To McEwan

Hay Festival 2013, 

Can literature show us how to have a good sex life and a successful marriage? The SuperProf and the Digested Reads satirist romp through the bedrooms and letters where less is more. And where more is sometimes more too.

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John Leguízamo with Roberto Pombo

Hollywood: art or frivolity

Cartagena 2012, 
The Colombian actor John Leguízamo will talk to Roberto Pombo, director of El Tiempo, about his life as an immigrant in the USA and his experiences in Hollywood. Actor, comedian and producer, John Leguízamo has received an Emmy Award, which he won in 1999 for the television programme Freak. He has worked in a number of films, such as Carlito’s Way by Brian de Palma, playing the nemesis of Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino), and he dramatised Toulouse Lautrec in the musical film Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. In 2010 he began an international tour with his play Ghetto Klown.

Simultaneous translation from Spanish to English available

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Celia Rees and Melvin Burgess

This is Not Forgiveness and Kill All Enemies

Hay Festival 2012, 
Two taut psychological dramas from the leading lights of young adult fiction. Join them to talk truth and darkness. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
 
14+ years

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Jerry Brotton

Shakespeare 450 – ‘Was Mohammed inspiréd with a dove?’

Hay Festival 2014, 

In this first of Hay Festival's 2014 sessions celebrating the 450th birthday of the playwright, the Renaissance scholar explores Shakespeare’s relationship with the Islamic world in the history plays and in his tragedies.

Jerry Brotton

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Helen Lederer talks to Kathryn Gray

Finger Food

Hay Festival 2012, 
The comedian, author of Coping with Helen Lederer and Single Minding discusses her new Quick Reads story - A Comedy of Ambition, Dreams, Treachery and Daytime Television.
 
Quick Reads are short, sharp shots of entertainment – brilliantly written short books for people who want a fun, fast read, have lost the reading habit or find reading tough.

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Wallace Broecker and Robert Kunzig talk to Jon Snow

Fixing Climate

Hay Festival 2008, 
The pre-eminent climate change scientist who coined the term ‘global warming’ way back in 1975 Wallace Broecker and his co-author Robert Kunzig propose a radical and amazing solution to the carbon crisis.

Chaired by Jon Snow.

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Richard Dawkins

Science in the Soul

Hay Festival 2018, 

The uncompromising and passionate rationalist calls on us to insist that reason take centre stage and that gut feelings, even when they don’t represent the stirred, dark waters of xenophobia, misogyny, or other blind prejudice, should stay out of the voting booth. He investigates a number of issues, including the importance of empirical evidence, and decries bad science, religion in the schools, and climate-change deniers. Dawkins has equal ardour for ‘the sacred truth of nature’ and renders with typical virtuosity the glories and complexities of the natural world. When so many highly placed people still question the fact of evolution, Dawkins asks what Darwin would make of his own legacy - 'a mixture of exhilaration and exasperation'– and celebrates science as possessing many of religion’s virtues – 'explanation, consolation, and uplift' – without its detriments of superstition and prejudice. Chaired by LBC's Matt Stadlen.

Richard Dawkins

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Richard Madeley talks to Raj Persaud

Fathers and Sons

Hay Festival 2009, 
The broadcaster sits down with the psychiatrist to analyse his agonising family memoir.

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David Almond, Sarah Crossan, Jenny Valentine

Hay Festival 2015, 
David Almond’s latest novel A Song for Ella Grey is a brilliant retelling of the Orpheus myth by way of contemporary Tyneside. Sarah Crossan uses both poetry and prose to tell her stories, most recently in Apple and Rain. They are joined by Jenny Valentine who previews her eagerly-awaited new novel Fire Colour One, a highly original story with an extraordinary twist. These three acclaimed writers talk about how they pack such an emotional punch into their novels.
12+ years/YA
David Almond, Sarah Crossan, Jenny Valentine

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Andrew Cope and Lara the Dog

Hay Festival 2008, 
Andrew introduces the inspiration for his Spy Dog books and tells you more about the thrilling adventures of her namesake, or as the highly-trained special agent is known  by the government, GM451.

Hay Fever 7 yrs +

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AA Gill talks to John Mitchinson

AA Gill is Further Away

Hay Festival 2011, 
Travels and food and stories with the iconoclastic journalist.

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David Crystal

Think on my Words: Exploring Shakespeare's Language

Hay Festival 2008, 
The vaudevillian linguistics professor celebrates the most inventive and gifted wordsmith of all time.

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Linda Parry

The V&A Lecture: William Morris Textiles

Hay Festival 2013, 

In this lecture, sumptuously illustrated with images of William Morris’ work collected at the V&A, Parry provides new insight into the embroideries, printed and woven textiles, carpets and tapestries produced by Morris & Co.

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Alexander McCall Smith talks to SJ Parris

Fictions – The Master

Hay Festival 2015, 

WINNER OF THE 2015 BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE PRIZE FOR COMIC FICTION

A conversation with the prolific master storyteller whose latest books are the comic masterpiece Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, The Novel Habits of Happiness in his Isabel Dalhousie series, the 15th Ladies No.1 Detective Agency book The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café and the gorgeously romantic The Forever Girl.

Alexander McCall Smith talks to SJ Parris

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Siddhartha Mukherjee talks to Claire Armitstead

The Gene: An Intimate History

Hay Festival 2016, 

The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity’. It intersects with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganises our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes. Woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. The cancer physician’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the Pulitzer Prize. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.

Siddhartha Mukherjee talks to Claire Armitstead

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Simon Jenkins

A Short History of England

Hay Festival 2012, 
The great and good journalist introduces his bold, taut history that identifies the key players and moments of change from the Saxon dawn of nationhood to the establishment of coalition government.
 
In association with The National Trust, Wales

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Germaine Greer

The Forgotten Tradition: The Psalms and English Poetry

Hay Festival 2011, 
Some of the greatest treasures of the English language were written for the Coverdale Bible, the Bible Shakespeare read, and the Geneva Bible that was suppressed by order of James I.

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Paul Theroux talks to Gaby Wood

The Last Train To Zona Verde: Overland From Cape Town To Angola

Hay Festival 2013, 

Journeying alone through the greenest continent in what he feels will be his last African journey, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sun-baked heartland of the savannah, he crosses the ‘Red Line’ into a different Africa.

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Karen Armstrong

Fields of Blood – Religion and the History of Violence

Hay Festival 2015, 

Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to interrogate the link between religion and bloodshed.

Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the centuries, from medieval crusaders to modern-day jihadists. Today we regard faith as a personal and private matter, but for most of history faith has informed people’s entire outlook on life, and has often been inseparable from politics. Fields of Blood is a celebration of the ancient religious ideas and movements that have promoted peace and reconciliation across millennia of civilization.

Karen Armstrong

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Steve Hilton talks to John Mitchinson

More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First

Hay Festival 2015, 

Humans don’t always behave as you expect them to. Sometimes their responses and actions are completely irrational – we don’t always make perfect decisions – but the model we base everything on is a rational one. Why? If we design our systems, our government, and all the products and services we use for perfect, rational people, is it any wonder they aren’t working? The Stanford academic and political advisor believes that change is possible and necessary: that we can create a more local, more accountable, more human way of living that will make us more productive, more fulfilled and ultimately happier.

Steve Hilton talks to John Mitchinson