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Neil Gaiman and Stephen Fry

Myth Makers

Hay Festival 2017, 

A celebration of the enduring tales and myths of Northern and Mediterranean Europe that ask, brutally and beautifully – what it means to be human. Gaiman’s newly published Norse Mythology reaches back to the source stories that have inspired Tolkien, the Marvel comics and many others. His gods are irascible, visceral, playful, and passionate. The tales carry us from the beginning of everything, to Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya through to Ragnarok and the twilight of the gods. Fry is reimagining versions of the Greek myths with their contrary Olympian gods, tragic human heroes and ruinous family curses.

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Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale

Hay Festival 2018, 

The Canadian writer discusses her 1985 dystopian masterpiece with Peter Florence.

See also event 205 and event 189

Margaret Atwood

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Neil Gaiman talks to Claire Armitstead

A Conversation

Hay Festival 2015, 

The prolific and inspiring creator of game-changing books, comics, films and songs talks about his work. His latest book is Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances.

Neil Gaiman talks to Claire Armitstead

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Kazuo Ishiguro talks to Martha Kearney

The Buried Giant

Hay Festival 2015, 

‘There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…’ The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.

The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.

The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards – some strange and other-worldly – but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

Kazuo Ishiguro talks to Martha Kearney

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Graham Norton talks to Viv Groskop

Hay Festival 2017, 

The actor and comedian introduces his debut novel Holding in which the loves and secrets and losses of an Irish community are exposed when human remains are found on a farm. Norton’s best-selling memoirs include The Life and Loves of a He-Devil and So Me.

Graham Norton talks to Viv Groskop

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Sandi Toksvig

The Hay Library Lecture

Hay Festival 2015, 

 A celebration of reading and books from the comedian, broadcaster and writer whose books include the novels Hitler’s Canary, Flying Under Bridges and Valentine Grey, children’s stories The Littlest Viking and The Troublesome Tooth Fairy, non-fiction best-sellers Peas & Queues and Girls Are Best and the play Bully Boy. Introduced by Sue Wilkinson.

Sandi Toksvig

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Bear Grylls

Ghost Flight

Hay Festival 2015, 

The adventurer launches his thriller, in which his hero is sent deep into the Amazon jungle on the hunt for a WW2 secret. Grylls’ recent non-fiction includes True Grit, Extreme Food and Your Life – Train For It. He talks to Clemency Burton-Hill.

Bear Grylls

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Ella Hickson in conversation with Francine Stock

Wendy and Peter Pan

Winter Weekend 2013, 

The RSC’s Christmas production is JM Barrie’s classic tale of the boy who never grows up, adapted in a spectacular new version by Ella Hickson. Here Ella talks about how she approached the story, what new twists she has brought to it and some of the things that happen to Wendy during the story.

Ella Hickson in conversation with Francine Stock

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Michael Rosen

The Disappearance of Emile Zola

Hay Festival 2017, 

18 July 1898 and the world-renowned novelist Emile Zola is on the run. His crime? Intervening in the Dreyfus case and taking on the highest powers in France with his open letter J’accuse. Forced to leave Paris with nothing but the clothes he is standing in and a nightshirt wrapped in newspaper, Zola flees to England with no idea when he will return. This is the little-known story of his time in exile. Rosen offers an intriguing insight into the mind, the loves, the politics and the work of the great writer.

Michael Rosen

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Wendy Jones

The World is a Wedding

Winter Weekend 2013, 

The whimsical world of undertaker Wilfred Price springs to glorious life in the second chapter of Wendy Jones’ enchanting Welsh odyssey. Entertaining popular fiction at its best. In conversation with Andy Fryers.

Wendy Jones

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Sheila Hancock, Philip Gross and Tracy Chevalier

A Quaker Life

Hay Festival 2017, 

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.

Sheila Hancock, Philip Gross and Tracy Chevalier

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Colm Tóibín talks to Sarah Churchwell

Nora Webster and On Elizabeth Bishop

Hay Festival 2015, 

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

Colm Tóibín talks to Sarah Churchwell

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Alan Lee

JRR Tolkien’s Beren and Lúthien

Hay Festival 2017, 

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.  

Alan Lee

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Lionel Shriver talks to George Alagiah

Talking Books: The Mandibles: A Family, 2029 - 2047

Hay Festival 2016, 

The brilliant new novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk about Kevin centres on three generations of the Mandible family as an extreme fiscal crisis hits a near-future America. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon.

Lionel Shriver talks to George Alagiah

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Philip Pullman, Marina Warner and Jack Zipes

Tales of Wonder, Magic, Resistance and Hope

Hay Festival 2018, 

"Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been a means to conquer the terrors of humanity through metaphor."

This is one of many challenging and thought-provoking observations made over a long career by Jack Zipes, one of the most eminent scholars of folklore, fairy tales and children’s literature, whose 80th birthday was celebrated last year. It identifies not only one of the key characteristics of ‘wonder tales’ but also proposes a much wider audience and more important function for such tales than is often recognised.

Joining Jack to discuss the past, present and future of the ‘wonder tale’ is Philip Pullman, one of the foremost writers of speculative fiction and author of Clockwork, the His Dark Materials trilogy, La Belle Sauvage and Daemon Voices; and Marina Warner, novelist, short story writer, mythographer, scholar and author of Stranger Magic, Fly Away Home, Once Upon A Time and Forms of Enchantment. Chaired by Hamish Fyfe.

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Alain de Botton talks to Viv Groskop

The Course of Love

Hay Festival 2016, 

What does it mean to live happily ever after? At dinner parties and over coffee, Rabih and Kirsten’s friends always ask them the same question: how did you meet? The answer comes easily – it’s a happy story, one they both love to tell. But there is a second part to this story, the answer to a question their friends never ask: what happened next? From the first thrill of lust, to the joys and fears of real commitment, and to the deep problems that surface slowly over two shared lifetimes, this is the story of a marriage. It is about modern relationships and how to survive them. Playful, wise and profoundly moving, the essayist and philosopher introduces his first novel in 20 years.

Alain de Botton talks to Viv Groskop

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Salman Rushdie talks to Jerry Brotton

Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

Hay Festival 2016, 

Inspired by the traditional wonder tales of the East, Rushdie’s new novel is a masterpiece about the age-old conflicts that remain in today’s world. Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is satirical and bawdy, full of cunning and folly, rivalries and betrayals, kismet and karma, rapture and redemption.

Salman Rushdie talks to Jerry Brotton

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David Mitchell talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

Fictions – The Bone Clocks

Hay Festival 2015, 

This dazzling new novel is the kaleidoscopic story of an unusual woman’s life, a metaphysical thriller and a profound meditation on mortality and survival. And it’s brilliant. Mitchell’s previous books are Ghostwritten, number9dream, Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Please click here to prebook lunch at Relish Restaurant on site.

David Mitchell talks to Clemency Burton-Hill

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Cory Doctorow and Adam Rutherford

Life: A Dialogue

Hay Festival 2017, 

How and why do we survive, and what makes us unique? A conversation between a novelist and a scientist exploring the worlds they inhabit in Doctorow’s superb new speculative fiction Walkaway and Rutherford’s A Brief History of Everyone who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes.

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Marian Keyes

Fictions – The Woman Who Stole My Life

Hay Festival 2015, 

Keyes’ stunning new novel The Woman Who Stole My Life is about losing the life you had and finding a better one. Her international bestselling novels include Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, The Brightest Star in the Sky and The Mystery of Mercy Close. Chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.

Marian Keyes

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Marina Warner talks to László Krasznahorkai

The Winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize

Hay Festival 2015, 

The chair of judges interviews the winner of the £60,000 2015 Prize, who was announced on 19 May in London.

Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango, which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.

Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo There Below. Seiobo There Below was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.

The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.

The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work: ‘In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.’

Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented: ‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’

Marina Warner talks to László Krasznahorkai

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The Keep

The Genius of the Marches

Hay Festival 2016, 

An entertainment: a constellation of writers, artists and photographers of the Welsh Marches celebrate the first issue of The Keep, Hay’s new literary and arts magazine, with an evening of readings, stories and pictures, under the editorial baton of Iain Finlayson.

With Owen Sheers, Ben Rawlence, Nina Lyon, Jasper Fforde, Soma Ghosh, Oliver Balch, Tom Bullough, Dix and Marsha Arnold.

The Keep

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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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Graham Swift

Fictions – England and other Stories

Hay Festival 2015, 

Through the 25 stories in Swift’s most recent anthology, we are steered effortlessly from the Civil War to the present day, from world-shaking events to the secret dramas lived out in rooms, workplaces, homes. With his remarkable sense of place, he charts an intimate human geography and, in doing so, he moves us profoundly, but with a constant eye for comedy. He reads from the collection and discusses his work with Peter Florence.

Graham Swift

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Elizabeth Strout talks to George Alagiah

BBC Talking Books 2: Anything is Possible

Hay Festival 2017, 

The new novel from the author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after 17 years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind.

This event will be recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books

Elizabeth Strout talks to George Alagiah