Memoir

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Stephen Fry

More Fool Me

Hay Festival 2015, 

Ultra-high-functioning addict meets gravity in this latest volume of autobiography. The writer and actor talks to Peter Florence.

Stephen Fry

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Michael Palin talks to John Crace

Travelling to Work

Hay Festival 2016, 

An interview with the treasured actor, writer, traveller and diarist.

Michael Palin talks to John Crace

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Germaine Greer talks to Martha Kearney

The Annual Hamlin Lecture: Liberation

Hay Festival 2015, 
A conversation with the teacher, writer and grand provocateur about what would make life better. ‘I’m a liberation feminist, not an equality feminist. Equality is a profoundly conservative aim and it won’t achieve anything.’
Germaine Greer talks to Martha Kearney

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Mary McCartney talks to Monty Don

At My Table: Vegetarian Feasts for Family and Friends

Hay Festival 2015, 

There are moments in our lives, and throughout the year, when we come together with our friends and family, and food plays a huge part in turning these moments into something special. Traditionally, many of these occasions call for meat – whether it’s roast beef for Sunday lunch, or burgers at a BBQ – but Mary wants to show us that vegetarian cooking can be just as celebratory and special.

* The Relish Festival Restaurant will be serving a vegetarian feast from the cookbook from 8.30pm. To book call Relish on 01285 658 444.

Mary McCartney talks to Monty Don

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Gareth Thomas talks to Mike Calvin

Proud

Hay Festival 2015, 

Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself. This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something he feared might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge. The deceit ended when Gareth became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective.

Gareth Thomas talks to Mike Calvin

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Cedric Villani

Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure

Hay Festival 2015, 

The rock-star mathematician takes us on a mesmerising journey as he wrestles with a new theorem that will win him the most coveted prize in mathematics. Along the way he encounters obstacles and setbacks, losses of faith and even brushes with madness. His story is one of courage and partnership, doubt and anxiety, elation and despair. Blending science with history, biography with myth, he conjures up an inimitable cast of characters including the omnipresent Einstein, mad genius Kurt Gödel, and Villani’s personal hero, John Nash. Chaired by Marcus du Sautoy.

Cedric Villani

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Siddhartha Mukherjee talks to Claire Armitstead

The Gene: An Intimate History

Hay Festival 2016, 

The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity’. It intersects with Darwin’s theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganises our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes. Woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee’s own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. The cancer physician’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the Pulitzer Prize. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.

Siddhartha Mukherjee talks to Claire Armitstead

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Mary Portas

Shop Girl

Hay Festival 2015, 

Retail and brand communication guru Mary Portas discusses her recently released memoir, Shop Girl, and shares her memories of growing up in Watford in the 70s and her first steps into the world of retail at Harvey Nichols and Harrods in the early 80s.

Born into a large Irish family, Mary’s childhood is full of love, laughter, fun and mischief. However when Mary is 16 tragedy strikes and her world is blown apart. New responsibilities at home mean her ambitions to act are pushed to one side. But things play out unexpectedly: after vowing she doesn’t want to work in a shop for the rest of her life Mary takes to the camp and glamour of dressing displays in Harvey Nichols and Harrods like a duck to water, and Mary, Queen of Shops is born.

She talks to Gaby Wood, the Telegraph’s Head of Books.

Mary Portas

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Frank Turner talks to Bethan Elfyn

The Road Beneath My Feet

Hay Festival 2015, 
The singer talks about his memoir. On 23 September 2005 at the Joiners Arms in Southampton, Frank Turner played his last gig with his hardcore band, Million Dead. On the laminates that listed the tour dates, the entry for 24 September simply read: ‘Get a job.’ Deflated, jaded and hung-over, Frank returned to his hometown of Winchester without a plan for the future. A thousand-and-some shows later he was headlining a sold-out gig at Wembley Arena with his band The Sleeping Souls.
Frank Turner talks to Bethan Elfyn

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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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Tracey Thorn talks to Xan Brooks

Naked at the Albert Hall

Hay Festival 2015, 

The riveting follow-up to her Bedsit Disco Queen. Part memoir, part wide-ranging exploration of the art, mechanics and spellbinding power of singing, Naked at the Albert Hall takes in Dusty Springfield, Dennis Potter and George Eliot; Auto-tune, the microphone and stage presence; The Streets and The X Factor. Including interviews with fellow artists and portraits of singers in fiction as well as Tracey’s real-life experiences, it offers a unique, witty and sharply observed insider’s perspective on the exhilarating joy and occasional heartache of singing.

Tracey Thorn talks to Xan Brooks

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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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Antonia Fraser talks to Simon Jenkins

My History: A Memoir of Growing Up

Hay Festival 2015, 

Antonia Fraser’s memoir describes growing up in the 1930s and 1940s but its real concern is with her growing love of history. The fascination began as a child, and developed into an enduring passion and a globally successful career from her first biography Mary Queen of Scots to her intensely personal and riveting portrait of her second marriage Must You Go? My Life With Harold Pinter.

Antonia Fraser talks to Simon Jenkins

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Abbie Ross, Julia Forster and Crystal Jeans talk to Gwen Davies

Debuts

Hay Festival 2016, 

Three debut authors talk to New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies about childhood and the nostalgia of popular culture in memoir and fiction, and about getting that first book written and published. Abbie Ross’ memoir Hippy Dinners is set in north Wales; Julia Forster’s debut novel What a Way to Go is set in the Midlands; and Crystal Jeans’ novel Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise is set in Cardiff.

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Philippe Sands

The Eric Hobsbawm Lecture: East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Hay Festival 2016, 

The lawyer and writer explores how personal lives and history are interwoven. Drawing from his acclaimed new book – part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller – he explains the connections between his work on crimes against humanity and genocide, the events that overwhelmed his family during the Second World War, and an untold story at the heart of the Nuremberg Trial. Chaired by Helena Kennedy.

Philippe Sands

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Eileen Younghusband talks to Martin Chilton

One Woman’s War

Hay Festival 2015, 

Ninety-three-year-old Eileen Younghusband served as an officer in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in WW2. She decided to volunteer at the age of 18, and her mathematical abilities led to her training as a Clerk Special Duties, a vital part of the Radar chain. She found herself working in the Filter Room, the lynchpin between the coastal Radar Chain and the successful defence of Britain. She tracked the V1s over Kent and London and gave the first ‘Big Ben’ warning of a V2, which landed on Chiswick on 8 September 1944. After losing two fiancés, she eventually married; only to be posted overseas six weeks later to Second Tactical Air Force in Belgium. There she became part of a team tracking and destroying V2 launching vehicles, responsible for the devastating raids on Antwerp – the Allies’ vital port for landing troops and supplies. She tells her story to The Telegraph’s Martin Chilton.

Eileen Younghusband talks to Martin Chilton

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Peter Korn

Why We Make Things and Why it Matters

Hay Festival 2015, 

An introspective and revealing look at the nature of the creative process. This is not a ‘how to’ book in any sense: Peter Korn wants to get at the ‘why’ of craft in particular and the satisfactions of creative work in general to understand their essential nature. Korn is a furniture-maker and is founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Furniture Craftsmanship.

Peter Korn

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Jack Andraka

Breakthrough

Hay Festival 2015, 

The multi-award-winning teen innovator and scientist overcame the skepticism of the academic world, depression and homophobic bullying to invent, at the age of 15, an early-detection test for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers. It has the potential to be over four hundred times more effective than the medical standard and it costs only 5p per use. Chaired by Alice Key.

Photo: Mark Tucker

Jack Andraka

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Brian Blessed talks to John Mitchinson

Absolute Pandemonium

Hay Festival 2016, 

The big actor yarns a riotous journey from his childhood, growing up the son of a miner in Goldthorpe, to finding fame in Z-Cars. He falls for Katharine Hepburn on the set of The Trojan Women, suffers wires strapped around his wotsits as he was hoisted into the heavens on Flash Gordon, almost causes an international incident when meeting the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and wins round George Lucas to get the role of Boss Nass on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He punches Harold Pinter, loves and hates Peter O’Toole, woos his beautiful wife Hildegard Neil and braves the shocking death toll on cosy TV drama My Family and Other Animals. Then he climbs Everest.

Brian Blessed talks to John Mitchinson

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Kate Humble talks to Miles Jupp

Friend For Life: The Extraordinary Partnership Between Humans and Dogs

Hay Festival 2016, 

The wildlife broadcaster and smallholder uses her journey with her sheepdog puppy Teg to frame her examination of this very special relationship. Written with warmth and love, and packed full of stories about rescue dogs, guide dogs, service dogs and medical dogs, this event is a joy for anyone with a four-legged friend. In conversation with host of The News Quiz, Miles Jupp.

Kate Humble talks to Miles Jupp

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Thomas Keneally talks to Philippe Sands

Schindler’s Ark

Hay Festival 2016, 

The writer discusses his 1982 Booker-winning novel about Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who risked his life to protect and rescue Jews from Auschwitz. The book was made into a film by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List.

Thomas Keneally talks to Philippe Sands

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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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Göran Rosenberg talks to Philippe Sands

A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz

Hay Festival 2015, 

On 2 August 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town to begin his life anew. Having survived the ghetto of Lodz, the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the harrowing slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany, his final challenge is to survive the survival. In his intelligent and deeply moving book, Rosenberg returns to his own childhood in order to tell the story of his father; walking at his side, holding his hand, trying to get close to him again. It is also the story of the chasm that soon opens between the world of the child, permeated by the optimism, progress and collective oblivion of postwar Sweden, and the world of the father, darkened by the long shadows of the past.

Göran Rosenberg talks to Philippe Sands

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David Lodge talks to Georgina Godwin

Quite a Good Time to be Born

Hay Festival 2015, 

The novelist discusses his wartime childhood, his early married life and academic career, and the development of his fiction – all of which he explores in his memoir, which covers the years up to the publication of Changing Places.

David Lodge talks to Georgina Godwin

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David Aaronovitch

The Christopher Hitchens Lecture

Hay Festival 2016, 

The journalist interrogates the ideas of safe space on campus, the psychology of “vindictive protectionism” and the practice of “no-platforming” speakers. In a political culture that is susceptible to polarisation, where social media amplifies grievance and offence, how do we wield free speech? Aaronovitch discusses his lecture with Clemency Burton-Hill. He talks about his memoir Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists on Sunday 

David Aaronovitch