Hay Festival 2020 is cancelled

We deeply regret that Hay Festival 2020 is cancelled due to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here.

Event 134

Emma Rothschild

Family Histories and Social Networks

Venue: Good Energy Stage
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An exploration of C18th social networks looking at the Johnstone family, the Scottish siblings at the heart of her book The Inner Life Of Empires, and an interconnected group of French families in the first ‘age of information’. Rothschild is Professor of History and Economics at the University of Cambridge.

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Emma Rothschild

Event 135

Jessie Burton talks to Georgina Godwin

Fictions – The Miniaturist

Venue: Tata Tent
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On an autumn day in 1686, 18-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. The novelist discusses her multi-award-winning debut novel.

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Jessie Burton talks to Georgina Godwin

Event 136

Matthew Kramer

Cambridge University Series 8: Torture, Morality and Law

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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Despite recent assertions to the contrary, the Professor of Legal and Political Philosophy at the University of Cambridge argues that there can never be any moral justification for torture. Chaired by Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team.

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Matthew Kramer

Event HF39

Dan Smith and Paul Dowswell

Big Game and Bomber

Venue: Starlight Stage
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Nail-biting tension and compelling storytelling feature in both these books, delivering an edge-of-the-seat reading experience. Dan Smith’s Big Game, recently brought to the big screen, stars a young hero hunting in a Finnish wilderness, who stumbles upon an escape pod from a burning airplane. Soon he and the President of the United States are on the run from terrorists. Paul Dowswell’s Bomber is the meticulously-researched story of a young gunner in WW2 whose dreams of flying turn into nightmares as the Nazis sweep over Europe and war rages. Share the thrills and the tension, and get some top writing tips from these two masters of their craft.
10+ years
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Dan Smith and Paul Dowswell

Event HF40

Join the Flock: Shaun the Sheep Model Making

Venue: Elmley Foundation Cube
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Celebrate this year’s Shaun the Sheep movie and the new Tales from Mossy Bottom Farm books.
Join Aardman’s specialist model maker in this hands-on workshop, where in a series of stages you’ll make your own clay model of Shaun the Sheep to take home.
7+ years
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Join the Flock: Shaun the Sheep Model Making

Event W37

Wild Garden Safari

RSPB Workshop

Venue: Scribblers Hut
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Come and discover the secret world that lives in your garden, with RSPB Cymru. Grab a net and see what amazing creatures are hiding in the leaves and lurking underwater. Make a Bee and Bug B&B to take away, to give nature a home in your garden.

Photo: Eleanor Bentall

Families welcome
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Wild Garden Safari

Event 137

Vanessa Feltz – LIVE ON AIR

A BBC Radio 2 Event at Hay

Venue: BBC Tent
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Vanessa Feltz will be presenting the Jeremy Vine Show live from Hay Festival. As well as reporting on the highlights of the festival she will be interviewing a leading author as part of the popular series What Makes Us Human.

Broadcast weekdays on BBC Radio 2.

BBC Radio 2
Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years
Duration: 2 hours
Free but ticketed
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Vanessa Feltz – LIVE ON AIR

Event W15

Drawing the Body Clothed

Royal Drawing School Class

Venue: NFU Mutual Studio
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In this drawing session participants will draw from a clothed model, exploring approaches to drawing the figure as well as clothes and costume. We will explore how dress and posture give character and help breathe life into our drawings. Students are encouraged to draw texture, pattern and weave, making inventive marks using colour. Models are actors and dancers and we refer to literature, poetry and opera.

Suitable for all ages and abilities

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Drawing the Body Clothed

Event 138

Tom Holland

The Christopher Hitchens Lecture: De-radicalising Muhammad

Venue: Tata Tent
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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.

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Tom Holland

Event 139

Alok Jha

The Water Book

Venue: Telegraph Stage
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Water may seem the most ordinary of substances – it pours from our taps and falls from the sky – but you would be surprised at what a profoundly strange substance it is. It bends the rules of chemistry and defies easy scientific understanding. Without this rebel behaviour, however, none of us would exist. Alok Jha will change the way you look at water – showing how it has shaped life on earth, and how this molecule connects you and everyone else to the birth (and death) of the universe.
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Alok Jha

Event 140

Lynsey Addario talks to Rosie Boycott

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage
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The frontline photographer discusses her memoir of post-9/11 photo-journalism and shows her pictures. She travels with purpose and bravery, photographing the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.

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Lynsey Addario talks to Rosie Boycott

Event 141

Daniel Kehlmann and Dorthe Nors

Fictions – Laughter

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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Two international superstars read and discuss their stories with Daniel Hahn. Kehlman presents his new novel F: the Friedland brothers have nothing in common. Martin is a priest with no faith. Ivan is an artist with no integrity. Eric is a financier – now, with no money. Each, in their own way, a fake. Each about to step into the abyss. Nors introduces her glitteringly funny and acute stories of Danish life collected in Karate Chop / Minna Needs Rehearsal Space. Blending compassion with dark delight, Nors conjures up a flawed, unsettlingly familiar world with each cautionary glance as fresh moments of wonder, romance and frail beauty are unexpectedly infiltrated by depravity, isolation and despair.

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Daniel Kehlmann and Dorthe Nors

Event HF41

David Baddiel

The Parent Agency

Venue: Good Energy Stage
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The author, screenwriter and comedian invites you into the hilarious world of The Parent Agency. Barry has always hated being called Barry. In fact, it’s number 2) on the list of things he blames his parents for, along with 1) ‘being boring’ and 3) ‘always being tired’. But then one day Barry makes a fateful wish, and finds himself in a world where everything is Upside Down…
9+ years
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David Baddiel

Event HF43

Join the Flock: Shaun the Sheep Model Making

Venue: Elmley Foundation Cube
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Celebrate this year’s Shaun the Sheep movie and the new Tales from Mossy Bottom Farm books. Join Aardman’s specialist model maker in this hands-on workshop, where in a series of stages you’ll make your own clay model of Shaun the Sheep to take home.
7+ years
This event has taken place
Join the Flock: Shaun the Sheep Model Making

Event HF42

Katherine Woodfine and Robin Stevens

Dastardly Villains (and Iced Buns for Tea)

Venue: Starlight Stage
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Robin Stevens’ Wells and Wong schoolgirl detective stories are thrilling books for tween detectives who adore solving dastardly murders. Think St Trinians meets Miss Marple. Katherine Woodfine’s readers of The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow enter a world of bonbons, perfumes and mysteries around every corner. Gasp as our bold heroines vow to bring the villains to justice before devouring another iced bun.
9+ years
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Katherine Woodfine and Robin Stevens

Event HF44

Elli Woollard

Poetry Workshop with Woozy and Elli

Venue: Scribblers Hut
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Rhyming is fun! Join poet extraordinaire Elli Woollard to hear all about the adventures of Woozy the Wizard and his pet pig, and take part in a workshop to create your own poetry.
7+ years
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Elli Woollard

Event 142

Amartya Sen

The Eric Hobsbawm Lecture: Marx and the Power of Ideas

Venue: Tata Tent
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This year’s lecture is given by the Nobel Prize-winning economist, author of The Idea of Justice and Identity and Violence – The Illusion of Destiny. Chaired by Nik Gowing.

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Amartya Sen

Event 143

Sheila Hancock talks to Francine Stock

Fictions – Miss Carter’s War

Venue: Telegraph Stage
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It is 1948 and the young and beautiful Marguerite Carter has lost her parents and survived a terrifying war, working for the SOE behind enemy lines. She returns to England to be one of the first women to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Now she pins back her unruly auburn curls, draws a pencil seam up her legs, ties the laces on her sensible black shoes, and sets out towards her future as an English teacher in a girls’ grammar school. Outside the classroom Britain is changing fast, and Miss Carter finds herself caught up in social upheaval, swept in and out of love and forging deep, enduring friendships. The first novel from the actress and award-winning author of The Two of Us and Just Me.

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Sheila Hancock talks to Francine Stock

Event 144

Theodore Zeldin talks to Daniel Hahn

The Hidden Pleasures of Life

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage
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What is the point of working so hard? What can replace the shortage of soulmates? What else can one do in a hotel? Zeldin, the author of Conversations and An Intimate History of Humanity, shows how our lives can be enriched by the realisation that it is only by truly relating to others that we get a taste, even just a nibble, of what it is possible to experience as a human being.

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Theodore Zeldin talks to Daniel Hahn

Event 145

Nicola Clayton and Clive Wilkins

Memory and Mental Time Travel

Venue: Good Energy Stage
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Memories are not only about the past; they also affect the future. Nicola and Clive, a scientist and a fine artist respectively, explore the complex relationships between memory and human experience. Join them for a fascinating discussion incorporating science, literature, magic and dance.

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Nicola Clayton and Clive Wilkins

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