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.
The Australian writer and thinker is often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher. He is known especially for his work on the ethics of our treatment of animals, for his controversial critique of the sanctity of life ethics in bioethics, and for his writing on the obligations of the affluent to aid those living in extreme poverty. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Most Good You Can Do, The Life You Can Save, Famine, Affluence and Morality, and most recently Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. He talks to the Festival president.
The former Deputy Prime Minister lifts the lid on the workings and failings of the 2010--2015 coalition government, analyses the 2017 European electoral cycle, and assesses the opportunities for the liberal centre ground of politics.
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.
The actor and hugely successful children’s writer yarns his working life from child stardom in the first production of Oliver! and the joy of Baldrick, to the documenting of Time Team archaeology and The Worst Jobs in History. Robinson was knighted in 2013 for public and political service. Chaired by Lucy Cotter.
The charismatic novelist, who explores love and passion and freedom in her fiction, re-imagines the union of loving human beings. Her books include Why Be Happy?, The Passion, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit and most recently The Gap of Time.
A fascinating account of an exemplary Parliamentary and political career from an insider committed to progressing gender equality. There’s a great quote about her in The Times: “Countless blows have tempered Harman into something fearless and indestructible”. She talks to the founder of the Everyday Sexism project.
A powerful and provocative argument on the role that race and racism play in modern Britain. Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism and the inextricable link between class and race, the journalist offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
Baroness Warsi’s book The Enemy Within identifies British Muslims as the latest in a long line of ‘others’ to be feared and demonised. The UK’s first Muslim cabinet minister explores questions of cultural difference, terrorism, surveillance, social justice, religious freedom, integration and the meaning of ‘British values’ with Helena Kennedy. She proffers necessary and inconvenient truths and proposes new ways forward for British Muslims, politicians and society.
Anne-Marie Imafidon is Head Stemette and co-founder of Stemettes – an award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers. Come and meet one of the world’s most inspiring and brilliant mathematicians, co-founder of Outbox Incubator: the world’s first tech incubator for teenage girls.
Two authors discuss how bereavement encouraged them to tell their own life stories against all the odds, in a society where men still often suffer silently. Historian and Professor Hywel Francis chairs Byw Nawr/Live Now, the end-of-life-care coalition in Wales. He talks to ex-miner George Brinley Evans and broadcaster Phil Steele. Taubert is a palliative and end-of-life-care consultant at Velindre Cancer Centre. They offer a clinical perspective on male depression and grief.
Valentine is the 2017 Hay Festival International Fellow, and a multi award-winning writer of YA fiction. She explores ways in which teenagers might be better understood and empowered. Her novels include Finding Violet Park and Fire Colour One. She is joined onstage by young readers to discuss her reformation of adolescence.
Children as young as six have already developed ideas about what boys and girls can ‘do’. As they progress through school further, cultural messages fix attitudes and are one part of why we have so few women engineers or male vets. Innovation, which thrives on diverse perspectives, is handicapped by the effects of such stereotyping. Our society needs to do better. Athene Donald is Professor of Experimental Physics and Master of Churchill College.
The two journalists travelled around Great Britain gathering the voices of the people who make up the public sector: nurses and patients, teachers and policemen and civilians. The story they tell is one of society’s dismemberment across our nation state: a fragmented NHS, a reduced police force, divided schools and a vulnerable military.
The Reformations project is the programming spine of the Hay Festival’s 30th anniversary year. Great writers and thinkers have been invited to reform authorities and institutions in the spirit of Martin Luther, whose 95 Theses were published 500 years ago in 1517. In this powerful polemic, the leading civil rights lawyer proposes radical progress in international Human Rights and Equality law. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
The global children’s charity introduces the world’s biggest campaign for girls’ rights. The founder of the Everyday Sexism project shares her story and talks about barriers facing girls today in the UK and around the world: from online trolling to period poverty and gender stereotypes. Join the conversation and explore what it means to be a girl today.
Mahfouz introduces her vibrant anthology with two of her star contributors. Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle Eastern heritage whose dreams of playing a ghostbuster spiral into repeat castings as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honour killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo.
“You might already know me as that gobby MP who has a tendency to shout about the stuff I care about. Because I’m a woman with a cause, I have been called a feminazi witch, a murderer and threatened with rape. The internet attracts a classy crowd. So, speaking the truth isn’t always easy but I believe it’s worth it. And I want you to believe it too.” #absolutehero
Wolf illuminates a dramatic history – how a single English law in 1857 led to a maelstrom, with reverberations lasting to our day. That law was the Obscene Publications Act. Dissent and morality became legal concepts: if writers, editors, printers and booksellers did not uphold the law and the morals of society they faced serious criminal penalties. This was most dramatic regarding anything to do with love between men; homosexuality was linked to deviancy in the eyes of the law. Wolf portrays the dramatic ways this censorship played out among a bohemian group of sexual dissidents, including Walt Whitman in America and the English critic John Addington Symonds. Both a fascinating story and, crucially, an important way of understanding how the Act created homophobia and our ideas of ‘normalcy’ and ‘deviancy’, Outrages also shows the way it helped usher in the state’s purported need and right to police speech. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.
An all-star cast will take questions from anyone on any topic in or out of the news. Shafak is a Turkish novelist and public intellectual, Rothschild is chair of the National Gallery, Walker is a climate scientist and broadcaster, Mahfouz is an award-winning poet and playwright and Gordon writes for the Telegraph and is a mental health campaigner.
The EU legal expert, Professor Catherine Barnard, explains the complexity of the Brexit negotiations and how they might work.
Shafak’s new book confirms her status as one of the world’s greatest novelists. Set in Istanbul and Oxford, from the 1980s to the present day, Three Daughters of Eve is a sweeping tale of faith and friendship, tradition and modernity, love and an unexpected betrayal.
Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923-2014) wrote brilliant novels about what love can do to people, but in her own life the lasting relationship she sought so ardently always eluded her. The biographer examines the life of the author of The Cazalet Chronicle, her marriages to the naturalist Peter Scott and the novelist Kingsley Amis, as well as her turbulent relationships with Cecil Day-Lewis, Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee. Cooper’s biography depicts a woman trying to make sense of her life through her writing, as well as illuminating the literary world in which she lived.
Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone. From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men; from men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t. Juno tells not only her own story but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender –and what we can do about it. A frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world where what’s in your head is more important than what’s between your legs. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.