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John Lewis-Stempel talks to Kitty Corrigan

Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field

Hay Festival 2015, 

What really goes on in the long grass? Lewis-Stempel offers a hymn to pastoral beauty with an intimate account of an English meadow’s life from January to December. He records the passage of the seasons from cowslips in spring to the hay-making of summer and grazing in autumn, and the lives of the animals that inhabit the grass and the soil beneath: the badger clan, the fox family, the rabbit warren, the skylark brood and the curlew pair.

John Lewis-Stempel talks to Kitty Corrigan

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Robert Tombs

Cambridge University Series 2: The English and their History

Hay Festival 2015, 

If a nation is a group of people with a sense of kinship, a political identity and representative institutions, then the English have a claim to be the oldest nation in the world. They first came into existence as an idea, before they had a common ruler and before the country they lived in even had a name. They have lasted as a recognizable entity ever since, and their defining national institutions can be traced back to the earliest years of their history.

Robert Tombs

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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Farah Faizal and Ahmed Shaheed talk to Philippe Sands

Paradise Lost: The Maldives Experience

Hay Festival 2015, 

When long-standing dictatorships fall and democracies are born, without economic support these countries will struggle. And when they do, it can breed extremism. We need a Marshall Plan for these countries to ensure that they are economically supported. Former Maldives High Commissioner Farah Faizal and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran talk to international human rights lawyer Philippe Sands.

Farah Faizal and Ahmed Shaheed talk to Philippe Sands

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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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Patrick Barkham

Coastlines

Hay Festival 2015, 

Barkham reflects on the long campaign to protect our shoreline from tidal erosion and human damage. He weaves together fascinating tales about every aspect of the coast – from ancient conquests and smugglers’ routes, to exotic migratory birds and bucket-and-spade holidays – to tell a more profound story about our island nation and the way we are shaped by our shores. Chaired by Horatio Clare.

Patrick Barkham

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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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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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Bill Oddie

Bill Oddie Unplucked

Hay Festival 2015, 

From a less-than-satisfactory press trip to the Galapagos Islands to encounters with orcas in Argentina and Iceland and an invisible tiger in India, the former Goodie and Springwatch presenter gives a humorous take on some of his experiences animal- and bird-watching around the world.

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

Bill Oddie

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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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Tony Hawks

Once Upon a Time in the West Country

Hay Festival 2015, 

The comedian and bestselling author gives an hilarious account of his move from London life to deepest Devon. Hawks is a townie but, as we know from his entertaining exploits hitchhiking around Ireland with a fridge and taking on the Moldovan football team one by one at tennis, he is up for a challenge. He takes part in a calamitous tractor run, chairs a village meeting, and finds time for one last adventure as fatherdom beckons – cycling coast to coast with a mini pig called Titch.

Tony Hawks

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Dieter Helm talks to Horatio Clare

Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet

Hay Festival 2015, 

The trailblazing economist, author of The Carbon Crunch, shows the commonly held view that environmental protection poses obstacles to economic progress to be false. He explains why the environment must be at the very core of economic planning. He presents the first real attempt to calibrate, measure and value ‘natural capital’ from an economic perspective and goes on to outline a stable new framework for sustainable growth.

Dieter Helm talks to Horatio Clare

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James Clackson

Cambridge University Series 14: Migration and Language: Ancient Perspectives

Hay Festival 2015, 

What can we learn from the ancient Romans and Greeks about the impact of migration on language? And how is this relevant to contemporary concerns about immigration and language change?

James Clackson

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Jules Pretty

The Edge of Extinction

Hay Festival 2015, 
The natural world is rapidly diminishing. Traditions and cultures are dying out.
Extinction has denied many human groups and languages a future and it now
even threatens the ways of life of the affluent.
Pretty takes us on a personal journey to show why we should look again at those marginal communities who still live close to nature, the land and sea. The lessons these disappearing societies have to teach us may well be ones that we later come to rely on. Chaired by Andy Fryers.
Jules Pretty

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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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Jon Anderson

Establishing a Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands – Cardiff University Series

Hay Festival 2016, 

Introducing a new literary geography based on the assumption that novels and stories cannot be confined by the covers of a book, but through the reader’s imagination become part of the lived experience of the world around us. Explaining how this new cartography of page and place will be developed is Jon Anderson from the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University.

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