Religion

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Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor talks to Rosie Boycott

In conversation

Hay Festival 2015, 
At the age of 68, with the Catholic Church worldwide engulfed by the sexual abuse crisis, Murphy-O’Connor was a surprise appointment as Archbishop of Westminster. He reflects frankly on the mistakes he himself made and on how he responded to the crisis, and he speaks poignantly of how he navigated the tempestuous first decade of the twenty-first century, offering his opinion on the future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis. His memoir is entitled An English Spring.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor talks to Rosie Boycott

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Thomas Buergenthal talks to Philippe Sands

A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

Hay Festival 2015, 

Liberated from the death camps of Auschwitz at the age of eleven, in adulthood Buergenthal became a judge at the International Court in The Hague, investigating modern day genocides. He returns to the festival with a new postscript to his memoir.

Thomas Buergenthal talks to Philippe Sands

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Abdel Bari Atwan talks to Nik Gowing

Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate

Hay Festival 2015, 

The Palestinian editor of Rai al-Youm offers a comprehensive review of the group’s organisational structure and leadership, strategies, tactics and diverse methods of recruitment. He traces the salafi-jihadi lineage of IS, its ideological differences with al-Qa’ida, and the deadly rivalry that has emerged between their leaders. Atwan also shows how the group’s rapid growth has been facilitated by its masterful command of social media platforms, the ‘dark web’, Hollywood ‘blockbuster’-style videos, and even jihadi computer games, producing a powerful paradox where the ambitions of the Middle Ages have re-emerged in cyber-space.

Abdel Bari Atwan talks to Nik Gowing

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Elif Shafak, Rachael Jolley, Sarah Churchwell and David Aaronovitch

The Index Debate: Diss My Mother: Expect a Punch

Hay Festival 2015, 

What are the limits of free speech and civility? What is the nature of ‘offence’? What earns ‘respect’? If words can hurt you, are sticks and stones and broken bones the answer?

Elif Shafak, Rachael Jolley, Sarah Churchwell and David Aaronovitch

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Five short arguments about flashpoints in the Freedom of Speech debates – porn, blasphemy, Israel, national security. Where do we draw the lines? And why?

David Aaronovitch, Rachael Jolley, Tom Holland, David Baddiel, Anita Anand and Jodie Ginsberg

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Azar Nafisi talks to Sarah Churchwell

The Republic of Imagination

Hay Festival 2015, 

From the author of the bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran comes a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction today. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favourite novels, the scholar and teacher invites us to join her as citizens of her ‘Republic of Imagination’, a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

Azar Nafisi talks to Sarah Churchwell

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Tom Holland

The Christopher Hitchens Lecture: De-radicalising Muhammad

Hay Festival 2015, 

What do the Charlie Hebdo murders and the rise of the Islamic State owe to Islam? It would be comforting to insist, as many have done, that they owe nothing at all; but Holland, in the inaugural Christopher Hitchens Lecture, argues that the truth is more complex. The best way to combat jihadism, he proposes, is to recognise the centrality of Muhammad to Islam – and that he comes in many forms. There is the moral leader who swallowed abuse peaceably; and there is the war leader who ordered people who insulted him put to death. How best, then, to de-radicalise the Prophet? Tom Holland is author of In The Shadow of the Sword, Rubicon, Persian Fire, Millennium and the new translation of The Histories by Herodotus. Chaired by Katrin Bennhold of the New York Times.

Tom Holland

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Diarmaid MacCulloch

The British Academy Platform: Sex and the West

Hay Festival 2015, 

As society becomes more liberal, the Churches often seem more entrenched. The Oxford historian explores how Western Christianity’s complex and often divisive ideas about sex, marriage and gender have their roots in a story that began 3,000 years ago. Chaired by Anita Anand.

Diarmaid MacCulloch

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Justin Griffiths-Williams

Baby Doc Duvalier and Fort Dimanche

Hay Festival 2015, 

The award-winning photo-journalist has been documenting the island of Haiti for the past 15 years and has produced an astonishing record of one of the world’s most extreme cultures and natural environments, racked by civil war, climatic catastrophe and violent deprivations. He shows his images and discusses his work with Oliver Balch.

Justin Griffiths-Williams

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Jasmine Donahaye talks to Francesca Rhydderch

Finding Her Place

Hay Festival 2015, 
The poet is publishing two books this spring: the first biography of Lily Tobias, a courageous, idealistic Welsh woman who wrote compellingly about Jewish life and experience in the twentieth century; and a memoir, Losing Israel. In 2007, in a chance conversation with her mother, a kibbutznik, Donahaye stumbled upon the collusion of her family in the displacement of Palestinians in 1948. When she set out to learn the story of what happened, what she discovered challenged everything she thought she knew about the country and her family, and transformed her understanding of the place, and of herself.
Jasmine Donahaye talks to Francesca Rhydderch

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Jonathan Sacks

Not In God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence

Hay Festival 2015, 

There are many conflicts around the world at present that claim to be in the name of God – in Iraq, in Syria, in Gaza, and elsewhere. Rabbi Sacks argues forcefully that a true understanding of religion will enable and inspire the world to bring peace, not war; that far from leaving religion on the sidelines, it should be put at the heart of peacemaking efforts. Chaired by James Harding, head of BBC News.

Jonathan Sacks

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Maajid Nawaz talks to Oliver Bullough

Radical

Hay Festival 2015, 

Born and raised in Essex, Maajid Nawaz was recruited into politicised Islam as a teenager. Abandoning his love of hip hop music, graffiti and girls, he was recruited into Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Liberation Party) where he played a leading and international role in the shaping and dissemination of an aggressive anti-West narrative. Arriving in Egypt the day before 9/11, his views soon led to his arrest, imprisonment and mental torture, before being thrown into solitary confinement in a Cairo jail reserved for political prisoners. There, while mixing with everyone from the assassins of Egypt’s president to Liberal reformists, he underwent an intellectual transformation and, on his release after four years, he publicly renounced the Islamist ideology that had defined his life. This move would cost him his marriage, his family and his friends as well as his personal security.

Nawaz now works all over the world to counter Islamism and to promote democratic ideals through his organisation, the Quilliam Foundation, and is standing for Parliament.

Maajid Nawaz talks to Oliver Bullough

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John Boyne talks to Gaby Wood

Fictions – A History of Loneliness

Hay Festival 2015, 

Odran Yates enters Clonliffe Seminary in 1972 after his mother informs him that he has a vocation to the priesthood. He goes in full of ambition and hope, dedicated to his studies and keen to make friends. Forty years later, Odran’s devotion has been challenged by the revelations that have shattered the Irish people’s faith in the church. He has seen friends stand trial, colleagues jailed, the lives of young parishioners destroyed and has become nervous of venturing out in public for fear of disapproving stares and insulting remarks. When a family tragedy opens wounds from his past, he is forced to confront the demons that have raged within a once respected institution and to recognise his own complicity in their propagation.

John Boyne talks to Gaby Wood

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Sarah Arrowsmith

Mappa Mundi: Hereford’s Curious Map

Hay Festival 2015, 

Who made the Mappa Mundi? How and why? Arrowsmith looks at the map through the eyes of a medieval visitor to the cathedral. She explains how a map that is very unfamiliar to us, with East rather than North at the top, populated with semi-human figures who may have four eyes or one foot and beasts like the defecating Bonnacon, would have made complete sense. You could tell your children the story of your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, point out the winding trail taken by Moses and the Israelites and tell the Bible stories illustrated there and elsewhere. Or you could impress other bystanders with your knowledge of Alexander’s campaigns and the three races of Ethiopians illustrated near the map’s edges.

Please click here to prebook lunch at Relish Restaurant on site

Sarah Arrowsmith

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Martin Rowson and Jean-Pierre Filiu

After Charlie Hebdo

Hay Festival 2015, 

How do we understand and respond to what happened in Paris on 7 January? What is the nature of ‘respect’ and ‘offence’ for a satirist? The cartoonist and ‘visual journalist’ Martin Rowson discusses with the writer and Professor of Political Science, Jean-Pierre Filiu. Filiu has collaborated with the French graphic artist David B. on two volumes of Best of Enemies – a graphic history of US–Middle East relations. Chaired by Daniel Hahn, chair of the Society of Authors.

Martin Rowson and Jean-Pierre Filiu

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Rosamond McKitterick

Cambridge University Series 17: Charlemagne, Rome and the Management of Sacred Space

Hay Festival 2015, 

In the age of Charlemagne, Rome gained a prominent position in the cultural memory of the Frankish elites. This city was not just associated with the glory of classical and late antique empire, but above all with an authentic Christianity represented by the apostles and the martyrs. North of the Alps, rulers and aristocrats created a virtual Rome by importing relics as well as liturgical practices that were thought of as typically Roman. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.

Rosamond McKitterick

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Thomas Asbridge

The Greatest Knight

Hay Festival 2015, 

The historian draws upon an array of contemporary evidence, including the C13th biography, to present a compelling account of the life and times of William Marshal, from rural England to the battlefields of France, the desert castles of the Holy Land and the verdant shores of Ireland. He lays bare the brutish realities of medieval warfare and the machinations of the royal court. Asbridge draws us into the heart of a formative period of our history when the West emerged from the Dark Ages and stood on the brink of modernity. It is the story of one remarkable man, the birth of the knightly class to which he belonged, and the forging of the English nation. Chaired by Peter Florence.

Thomas Asbridge

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Raffaello Pantucci

We Love Death as You Love Life: Britain’s Suburban Terrorists

Hay Festival 2015, 

As Mohammed Siddique Khan led his group of fellow-believers into London on the morning of 7 July 2005 it is unlikely that they were thinking much beyond the immediate impact of their actions. Driven by anger at the West’s treatment of Muslims worldwide, ideas fed to them by foreign extremists, and a sense of extreme rejection of the society in which they were born, they sought to reshape the world in an image they thought would be pleasing to God. Pantucci offers an insight into the motivations behind Khan and his group, as well as the hundreds of young British Muslims who have been drawn by jihadist ideas to fight on battlefields at home and abroad. Pantucci is Director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies.

Raffaello Pantucci

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James Shapiro talks to Jerry Brotton

Talking About Shakespeare: 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear

Hay Festival 2016, 

The Samuel Johnson Prize-winning author of 1599 offers an intimate portrait of one of Shakespeare’s most inspired moments: the year of King Lear, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. 1606, while a very good year for Shakespeare, is a fraught one for England. Plague returns. There is surprising resistance to the new king’s desire to turn England and Scotland into a united Britain. And fear and uncertainty sweep the land and expose deep divisions in the aftermath of a failed terrorist attack that came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot.

James Shapiro talks to Jerry Brotton

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Melvyn Bragg

Fiction: Now is the Time

Hay Festival 2016, 

A fictional recreation of the biggest rebellion in English history, the Peasants’ Revolt of May 1381. The plague had returned, the king’s coffers were empty and a draconian poll tax had been introduced but was widely evaded. A large force of common people entered London demanding freedom, equality and the uprooting of Church and State.

Melvyn Bragg

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Howard Jacobson talks to John Mullan

Shylock is My Name

Hay Festival 2016, 

With an absent wife and a daughter going off the rails, wealthy art collector and philanthropist Simon Strulovitch is in need of someone to talk to. So when he meets Shylock at a cemetery in Cheshire’s Golden Triangle, he invites him back to his house. It’s the beginning of a remarkable friendship. The Man Booker winner’s version of The Merchant of Venice bends time to its own advantage as it asks what it means to be a father, a Jew and a merciful human being in the modern world.
#TALKINGABOUTSHAKESPEARE

Howard Jacobson talks to John Mullan

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Janine di Giovanni talks to Alex Clark

The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria

Hay Festival 2016, 

Delivered with passion, fearlessness and sensitivity, The Morning They Came for Us is an unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration, charting an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war. It is an unforgettable testament to human resilience in the face of devastating, barely imaginable horrors.  Di Giovanni is Middle East editor of Newsweek and the author of Madness Visible.

Janine di Giovanni talks to Alex Clark

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Jerry Brotton

Talking About Shakespeare: This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World

Hay Festival 2016, 

In 1570, when it became clear she would never be gathered into the Catholic fold, Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope. On the principle that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, this marked the beginning of an extraordinary English alignment with the Muslim powers fighting Catholic Spain in the Mediterranean, and of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. England signed treaties with the Ottoman Porte, received ambassadors from the kings of Morocco and shipped munitions to Marrakesh. By the late 1580s hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Elizabethan merchants, diplomats, sailors, artisans and privateers were plying their trade from Morocco to Persia.

These included the resourceful mercer Anthony Jenkinson who met both Süleyman the Magnificent and the Persian Shah Tahmasp in the 1560s, William Harborne, the Norfolk merchant who became the first English ambassador to the Ottoman court in 1582 and the adventurer Sir Anthony Sherley, who spent much of 1600 at the court of Shah Abbas the Great. The previous year, remarkably, Elizabeth sent the Lancastrian blacksmith Thomas Dallam to the Ottoman capital to play his clockwork organ in front of Sultan Mehmed. The awareness of Islam which these Englishmen brought home found its way into many of the great cultural productions of the day, including most famously Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and The Merchant of Venice. The year after Dallam’s expedition, the Moroccan ambassador, Abd al-Wahid bin Mohammed al-Annuri, spent six months in London with his entourage. Shakespeare wrote Othello six months later. Brotton shows that England’s relations with the Muslim world were far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have appreciated, and that their influence was felt across the political, commercial and domestic landscape of Elizabethan England.

#TALKINGABOUTSHAKESPEARE

Jerry Brotton

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John France

The Battle of Hattin 1187-2016

Hay Festival 2016, 

On 4 July 1187 Saladin destroyed the Crusader army of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in a terrible slaughter at the battle of Hattin. He went on to restore the Holy City of Jerusalem to Islamic rule. The carnage at Hattin was the culmination of almost a century of religious wars between Christian and Muslim in the Holy Land. In the C20th the battle was revived as a symbol of Arab hope for liberation from Crusader-Imperialism, and in the C21st it has become a rallying cry for radical Muslim fundamentalists in their struggle for the soul of Islam. Chaired by Peter Florence.

John France

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Dominic Johnson

God is Watching You: How the Fear of God Makes Us Human

Hay Festival 2016, 

The flood that God used to destroy the sinful race of man on Earth in Genesis 6:17 crystallises in its terrifying, dramatic simplicity the universally recognised concept of payback. For millennia human civilisation has relied on such beliefs to create a moral order that threatens divine punishment on people who commit crimes, while promising rewards – abstract or material – for those who do good. Today, while secularism and unbelief are at an all-time high, this almost superstitious willingness to believe in karma persists. Why?

Dominic Johnson

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