A journey through Britain’s radical tradition of utopian art and politics. The performance of music and readings spans 350 years from The Diggers to Bruce Springsteen, and captures the spirit of hope and vision that once transformed the nation. Music performed by Chris Ellis and Rosie Toll.
Actors read Josephine’s programme featuring the work of Owen, Yeats, Sassoon and many others. Introduced by Francine Stock.
The internationally renowned and ‘exhilaratingly dangerous’ poet teams up with her singer-songwriter daughter Fflur Dafydd in a memorable evening of poetry and song to celebrate her new bilingual collection.
A conversation about how their Quaker faith has informed the life and work of three writers: the actor Sheila Hancock’s books include the memoir Just Me and the novel Miss Carter’s War; award-winning poet Philip Gross’s collections include The Water Table, Deep Field and the forthcoming A Bright Acoustic; Tracy Chevalier’s novels include Girl With a Pearl Earring, At the Edge of the Orchard and now New Boy.
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.
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Set in 1960s Ireland, Tóibín’s new novel Nora Webster introduces one of the most complex and captivating heroines of contemporary fiction. He discusses the book and his new study On Elizabeth Bishop. He creates a vivid picture of the American poet while also revealing how her work has helped shape his sensibility as a novelist and how her experiences of loss and exile resonate with his own.
Photo: Brigitte Lacombe
As part of Hay Festival’s big Shakespeare 400 Celebrations, the writer and lecturer discusses the playwright’s poetry.
To celebrate the centenary of the birth of RS Thomas, eleven poets have written poems in response to works of his, which will be published as a limited edition by Hay Festival Press. The gala reading is chaired by the Hay Festival International Fellow for 2012–2013 Eurig Salisbury.
A reading from two new collections. A Scritture Giovani fellow, Lewis introduces Other Harbours; Meredith reads from Air Histories, commissioned partly about the Black Mountains for the Woollen Lines project. Chaired by Simon Mundy.
This year’s Hay Festival International Fellow spent the last year as Artist in Residence with the WRU and has produced this astonishing book about sport, about myth, about nationhood and identity. He is joined by the rugby columnist, author of Wales Play In Red. Chaired by Jasper Rees, author of Bred Of Heaven.
The poet celebrates the work of the canonical poets and discusses his literary philosophy: that the greatest verse arises from a harmony of mind and body, and that poetic forms originate in human necessities – breath, heartbeat, footstep, posture.
The National Poet of Wales gives this year’s lecture addressing AE Housman’s own original subject of The Name And Nature Of Poetry. Chaired by Guto Harri.
‘I have so carefully mapped the corners of my mind | That I am forever waking in a lost country...’ Seth’s new book of poems traces the immutable shifting of the seasons, the relentless rhythms of a great world that both ‘gifts and harms’. Luminous, resonant and profound, these poems trace the dying days of summer, ‘the hour of rust’, when memory is haunted by loss and decay. But in the silence that follows, as the soul is cast adrift, there is also reconciliation with the transience of all things; the knowledge that there is a place, ‘changeable, that will not betray’. Seth is author of A Suitable Boy, The Golden Gate, The Rivered Earth and Two Lives. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
Questions of masculinity have been at the heart of Sheers’ writing for 20 years, in his plays Mametz and The Two Worlds of Charlie F, in his fiction Resistance and I Saw A Man, and in his poetry – most clearly in Pink Mist. In 2012 he was also artist in residence with the Welsh Rugby Union. Here he interrogates ideas of masculinity in essay form, and reimagines a man’s world.
To celebrate the centenary of the Armistice of 1918, we have commissioned poets from the main protagonist nations to respond to a Great War poem from their own culture. We have poems in French, Russian, German, Welsh and several forms of English. The new poems will be read today for the first time, in the original language and in English translation alongside the works that inspired them, and other poems of the time. The full cast list will be announced on 20 May.
The poet swaps the moorland uplands of the north (Walking Home) for the coastal fringes of Britain’s south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, taking poetry into distant communities and tourist hot-spots, busking his way from start to finish.
From the surreal pleasure-dome of Minehead Butlins to a smoke-filled roundhouse on the Penwith Peninsula, then out to the Isles of Scilly and beyond, Armitage tackles this personal Odyssey with all the poetic reflection and personal wit we’ve come to expect of one of Britain’s best loved and most popular writers.
The National Poet of Wales celebrates the centenary of Alun Lewis, with a close reading and exploration of his poems. His first volume Raiders Dawn and other Poems was published in 1942. Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets, which contains his masterpiece All Day It Has Rained was published posthumously in 1945. Introduced by Cary Archard.