Geography

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Rageh Omaar, Mary Harper and Sada Mire

Somaliland: The African Miracle You’ve Never Heard About

Hay Festival 2017, 

This small country, tucked in the northwestern corner of the Horn of Africa, is a template for what is achievable on the continent. And it’s an antidote to the constant cycle of pessimism about Africa that dominates the Western thought on the current state of the continent.  How did the country move from famine, poverty and war to a thriving and prosperous multi-party democracy? Harper is Africa Editor at the BBC World Service and author of Getting Somalia Wrong; Mire is a Swedish-Somali archaeologist.

Rageh Omaar, Mary Harper and Sada Mire

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Yanis Varoufakis talks to Martha Kearney

And the Weak Suffer What They Must

Hay Festival 2016, 

The former Finance Minister of Greece shows that the origins of the European collapse go far deeper than our leaders are prepared to admit – and that we have done nothing so far to fix it.

Yanis Varoufakis talks to Martha Kearney

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Christiana Figueres talks to Nick Stern

The British Academy Platform: We’ll Always Have Paris

Hay Festival 2016, 

A conversation with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who is now charged with delivering the COP21 Agreement, signed in Paris.  If anyone can do it, she can. And she will.

Christiana Figueres talks to Nick Stern

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Yanis Varoufakis talks to Kate Raworth

Adults In The Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment

Hay Festival 2017, 

As Greek finance minister, Varoufakis confronted the EU head-on over debt. He tells a tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion and betrayal, and he issues an urgent call to renew European democracy.

Yanis Varoufakis talks to Kate Raworth

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Helen Browning, David Speller and Jake Freestone talk to Rob Yorke

Green-tech tinted glasses: how smarter agriculture can reduce farming’s footprint

Hay Festival 2017, 

Crop drones, precision pesticides, earthworm management, poultry software and GPS- directed tractors are just some of the new technologies that are revolutionising agriculture. The panel discusses agri-tech innovation helping farmers to become more efficient by using fewer resources. Browning is CEO of the Soil Association, Speller is an award-winning poultry farmer, Freestone a Linking Environment and Farming accredited farm manager.

Helen Browning, David Speller and Jake Freestone talk to Rob Yorke

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Danny Dorling and Mary O’Hara

Inequality and Austerity

Hay Festival 2015, 

Few would dispute that we live in an unequal and unjust world, but what causes this inequality to persist? Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1%, examines who is most harmed by these injustices and why, and what happens to those who most benefit. O’Hara, author of Austerity Bites, takes us on a journey to the sharp end of the cuts in the UK. Hard-hitting and uncompromising in its call to action, this analysis is essential for everyone concerned with social justice.

Danny Dorling and Mary O’Hara

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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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Kate Raworth

Doughnut Economics

Hay Festival 2017, 

Economics is broken. It has failed to predict or prevent financial crises that have shaken the foundations of our societies and perpetuated austerity and poverty. The Oxford academic identifies the seven critical ways in which mainstream economics has led us astray, and sets out a roadmap for bringing humanity into a sweet spot that meets the needs of all within the means of the planet. En route, she deconstructs the character of ‘rational economic man’ and explains what really makes us tick. Raworth has worked as Senior Researcher at Oxfam, and was co-author of the UN’s Human Development Report.

Kate Raworth

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Christianne Glossop and Glyn Hewinson

Bovine TB: The Cattle, the Farmers, the Vets and the Badgers

Hay Festival 2015, 

BTB can be harmful to humans and is fatal for cattle. Managing a breakdown can be economically disastrous and extremely stressful for farmers. The campaign to eradicate bTB combines challenging diagnostic science, field-by-field biosecurity, veterinary monitoring and political will. Glossop is Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, and has made the implementation of a comprehensive TB eradication programme her highest priority. Hewinson is a globally respected scientist in the field of TB immunology and diagnostics, who worked on the collaborative project that led to the sequencing of the M Bovis genome. They talk to Peter Florence.

Christianne Glossop and Glyn Hewinson

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Dambisa Moyo

Edge of Chaos

Hay Festival 2018, 

Facing economic stagnation, inequality and the vulnerability of liberal democracies to extremism, the economist proposes an aggressive and radical re-tooling of our political system with new constraints on both elected officials and voters. Moyo argues for extending politicians’ terms so as to match better the economic cycles; for increasing minimum qualifications for candidates; for introducing mandatory voting, and for implementing a weighted voting system. Moyo’s other books include Dead Aid, Winner Take All and How The West Was Lost. Chaired by Dharshini David.

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Martin Rees

Can the Next Generation Inherit a Better World? A Scientist’s Hopes and Fears

Hay Festival 2015, 

In 1902 HG Wells wrote ‘Humanity has come some way, and the distance we have travelled gives us some earnest of the way we have to go. All the past is but the beginning of a beginning; all that the human mind has accomplished is but the dream before the awakening.’ The astronomer boldly explores post-human evolution and offers a SWOT analysis of mankind’s short- and longer-term futures. He considers the risks of asteroid impact, climate change and, most worrying of all, the downsides of biotech, AI and other fast-advancing technologies. Chaired by Dan Davis.

Martin Rees

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Andrew Duff and John Keay

Beneath the Himalayas

Hay Festival 2015, 

Narendra Modi’s pilgrimage to Tibet heralds a new warmth in Sino-Indian relations, but the emerging superpowers have a long and complex history of contested priorities in the Himalayas. Keay is author of Midnight’s Descendants, a sweeping history of South Asia; Duff’s Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom tells the remarkable true story of India’s annexation of Sikkim in 1975. It’s a tale of love, intrigue and the Cold War in Asia.

Andrew Duff and John Keay

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Levison Wood

Walking the Nile

Hay Festival 2015, 

The adventurer’s journey is 4,250 miles long. He is walking every step of the way, camping in the wild, foraging for food, fending for himself against multiple dangers. He is passing through rainforest, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He traverses seven, very different, countries and comes face to face with the story of Africa. No one has ever made this journey on foot.

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

Levison Wood

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Miriam González Durántez

Reformations 1: The EU

Hay Festival 2017, 

In this first of the Festival's flagship 30th anniversary project sessions, the Spanish international trade lawyer re-imagines the European Union. González Durántez was previously the Middle East Adviser to the External Relations Commissioner in the European Union, having started her career as a trade negotiator at the World Trade Organisation. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.

Miriam González Durántez

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Simon Armitage

Walking Away

Hay Festival 2015, 

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.

Simon Armitage

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John Sergeant

Barging Round Britain

Hay Festival 2015, 

The political commentator and sometime dancer explores the people and places that have forged this national treasure, from the birth of the Industrial Revolution to the leisure explosion on our waterways today. He talks to Mark Skipworth.


Please click here to prebook lunch at Relish Restaurant on site

John Sergeant

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René Griffiths, Jon Gower, Jorge Fondebrider

Homage to Patagonia

Hay Festival 2015, 

An evening to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Welsh passage to Argentina aboard the Mimosa. Gower sets the scene with his Gwalia Patagonia – a tale of legendary giants and Andean condors, devil spirits and chapel-worshippers. He is joined by Argentinian writer Jorge Fondebrider, author of The Spaces Between. The evening is completed with the fascinating anecdotal and geographical ramblings of one of Wales’ best-loved guitarists, singers and actors, René Griffiths. Full of emotion and passion, Ramblings of a Patagonian is the revelation of one-man’s unrelenting love for his own Andean desert. Chaired by Oliver Balch.

René Griffiths, Jon Gower, Jorge Fondebrider

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Peter Davies and Andy Middleton talk to Andy Fryers

The Wales We Want

Hay Festival 2015, 

‘The Wales We Want’ conversation mirrors a global initiative by the United Nations, asking people what sort of Wales they want for their children and grandchildren. The final report was launched in March 2015 and we discuss the outcomes and how this will feed in to Welsh Government policy. Davies, Climate Change Commissioner for Wales, and Middleton, entrepreneur, designer and maverick thinker, discuss with Hay on Earth Director Andy Fryers.

Peter Davies and Andy Middleton talk to Andy Fryers

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John Julius Norwich

Sicily: A Short History, From the Greeks to Cosa Nostra

Hay Festival 2015, 

The stepping stone between Europe and Africa, the gateway between the East and the West, at once a stronghold, clearing-house and observation post, Sicily has been invaded and fought over by Phoenicians and Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, Goths and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Germans, Spaniards and the French for thousands of years. It has belonged to them all – and yet has properly been part of none. John Julius Norwich was inspired to become a writer by his first visit in 1961 and this study is the result of a fascination that has lasted over half a century. In tracing its dark story, he attempts to explain the enigma that lies at the heart of the Mediterranean’s largest island.

John Julius Norwich

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Peter Frankopan

Reformations 16: History

Hay Festival 2017, 

The author of the magnificent book The Silk Roads proposes a new way of understanding the past and of connecting context and ideas so that we might learn the lessons of history. Frankopan is Director of the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University. Chaired by Peter Florence.

Peter Frankopan

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Peter Moore talks to Daniel Hahn

The Weather Experiment

Hay Festival 2015, 

In an age when a storm at sea was evidence of God’s great wrath, C19th meteorologists had to fight against convention and religious dogma. But buoyed by the achievements of the Enlightenment, a generation of mavericks set out to explain the secrets of the atmosphere and learned to predict the future. Among them were Luke Howard, the first to classify the clouds, Francis Beaufort who quantified the winds, James Glaisher who explored the upper atmosphere in a hot-air balloon, Samuel Morse whose electric telegraph gave scientists the means by which to transmit weather warnings, and Admiral Robert FitzRoy himself, master sailor, scientific pioneer and founder of the Met Office.

Photo: Ula Soltys

Peter Moore talks to Daniel Hahn

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Tobias Jones, Jackie Morris and Zaffar Kunial

Staying Rooted – Tree Charter Series 2

Hay Festival 2017, 

A connection with trees and woods helps people find inspiration, inner calm and mental balance. Author and journalist Tobias Jones and poet Zaffar Kunial are both featured in Arboreal, a Common Ground collection of woodland writing. They are joined by the illustrator Jackie Morris to discuss the role of trees and woods in finding inspiration and mental balance in our lives.  

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Simon Schama

An Enlightenment

Hay Festival 2017, 

Drawing on his work over the past 40 years, the historian considers the context of contemporary Europe’s political upheavals, its challenges and its opportunities.  Schama’s books include Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, A History of Britain, The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, Landscape and Memory and The Story of the Jews.

Simon Schama

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John Hemming

Naturalists in Paradise

Hay Festival 2015, 

Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates and Richard Spruce were English naturalists who went to Amazonia 150 years ago. All three explored an unknown river and had many thrilling adventures: violent attacks of malaria, fearful rapids, murder attempts, encounters with newly contacted indigenous peoples, shipwrecks, and many other hardships. In addition to their huge contributions to knowledge of the Amazonian environment, each is particularly famous for one discovery. Wallace is acknowledged as a co-discoverer, along with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution. Bates discovered protective mimicry among insects, a phenomenon named after him. Spruce transported the quinine-bearing Cinchona tree, the most important medicinal plant of the nineteenth century, to India, where it saved countless lives from malaria.

John Hemming

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Jerry Brotton

Band of Brothers: Shakespeare’s Agincourt, 1599

Hay Festival 2015, 
On the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, Jerry Brotton shows how Shakespeare’s Henry V now defines how we see this momentous event in English history. The play is often regarded as a straightforward celebration of English nationalism, the story of England’s tiny ‘band of brothers’ defeating the overwhelming might of the French. Brotton questions this assumption by recreating the historical moment in which Shakespeare wrote his play, with military disaster in Ireland, Queen Elizabeth’s power in decline, and the Essex Rebellion just about to engulf her. He argues that the result allows politicians on the left and the right to lay claim to the play and its account of Agincourt, along the way explaining how Olivier, Branagh and Spielberg are all part of the story.
Jerry Brotton