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The full programme is available for this year’s festival, 25 May to 4 June - you can download a PDF of the programme here. We very much look forward to seeing you in May.

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Richard Fortey

The Wood From the Trees

Event 292 Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage

Fortey presents his wood, deep in the Chiltern Hills, as an interwoven collection of different habitats rich in species. His attention ranges from the beech and cherry trees that dominate the wood to the flints underfoot; the red kites and woodpeckers that soar overhead; the lichens, mosses and liverworts decorating the branches as well as the myriad species of spiders, moths, beetles and crane-flies. The 300 species of fungi identified in the wood capture his attention as much as familiar deer, shrews and dormice. The great palaeontologist is the author of Fossils: A Key to the Past, The Hidden Landscape, Life: An Unauthorised Biography, Trilobite! and The Earth: An Intimate History. Chaired by Dan Davis.

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Elaine Collins, Ann Cleeves, Clare Batty and Alison O’Donnell


Event 293 Venue: Good Energy Stage

Elaine Collins, Ann Cleeves, Clare Batty and Alison O’Donnell

The makers of the fabulous BBC crime drama discuss the characters, setting and plot, and the handling of the rape story in the third series. Exec producer Elaine Collins and script exec Clare Batty are joined by Ann Cleeves, who writes both the Shetland and Vera novels on the which the television dramas are based, and Alison O’Donnell, who plays DS Alison “Tosh” McIntosh.  Chaired by the Radio Times TV Editor, Alison Graham.

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Juliet Davenport, Craig Bennett and Leo Johnson talk to Andy Fryers

The Human Side of Climate Change - Good Energy Series

Event 294 Venue: Cube

Climate change often seems remote and theoretical: satellite images of polar ice caps, carbon emission statistics, and global leaders conducting high-flying diplomacy. But for millions around the world the changing climate is a daily and ever-increasing challenge to their security, health, homes, and livelihoods. Can telling the human stories tackle ambivalence and scepticism? Davenport is CEO of Good Energy, Bennett is CEO of Friends of the Earth and Johnson is co-founder of Sustainable Finance Ltd and co-presenter of BBC Radio 4's Futureproofing.

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Peter Chadwick

This Brutal World

Event 295 Venue: Starlight Stage

Peter Chadwick

The graphic designer and art director presents his global survey of this compelling and much-admired style of architecture. He brings to light virtually unknown Brutalist architectural treasures from across the former eastern bloc and other far flung parts of the world. He introduces works by some of the best contemporary architects including Zaha Hadid and David Chipperfield alongside some of the master architects of the C20th including Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph and Marcel Breuer.

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Simon Grennan

Dispossession: The Graphic Novel

Event 296 Venue: Summer House

The artist shows and tells the exciting story of how he made his 100-page graphic adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s 1879 novel, conjuring the Victorian era in a glittering waltz of intense colour, visualising Trollope’s tale of blackmail, bigamy and betrayal.

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Hay Writers Circle

New Work 2016

Event 297 Venue: Scribblers Hut

A reading of new writing by the local writing group.

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Ticket to Dine

Wednesday Dinner

Event DT6 Venue: Relish Festival Restaurant

Book a seat in the Relish Festival Restaurant and receive a free drink on us.


Enjoy a delicious meal from our Festival Restaurant buffet. Choose from a wide selection of hot and cold dishes created fresh on site by our team of chefs using the best local seasonal produce. You can view the menu online here.


Come up to the buffet and choose as much as you like from all the dishes on offer for just £20. 


By booking online or by phone you will receive a complimentary glass of wine, bottle of beer or soft drink, and guarantee your seat in the restaurant where our team will be waiting to give you a warm welcome.


Alex Gooch breads and water are free for every customer, with a selection of desserts to choose from as well as a full bar and barista coffees.

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Baaba Maal in Concert

BBC Radio 3’s World on 3 presents

Event 298 Venue: Tata Tent

The Senegalese superstar with the sublime voice returns to Hay with his band and his new album The Traveller. “By travelling you discover that humanity is so beautiful: different faces, different cultures, different colours, different sounds.” One of the world’s most spectacular performers, this new project is founded on an Africa Express collaboration with members of The Very Best and the Mumfords, and the poet Lemn Sissay. World on 3’s Lopa Kothari hosts the evening, which includes support from emerging world music talent Olion Byw.

The concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Friday 3 June at 11pm.


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Bedwyr Williams and Karen MacKinnon

Artes Mundi 7

Event 300 Venue: Cube

The hugely entertaining Welsh performance artist Bedwyr Williams in conversation with one of Wales most distinguished art curators, Director of the game-changing international contemporary art prize Artes Mundi 7. Williams uses multimedia, performance and text to explore the friction between the deadly serious and the banal aspects of modern life. He’s known for satirizing the relationship between the artist and curator by creating absurd scenarios for them to appear in.

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Oliver Balch talks to Georgina Godwin

Under the Tump: Sketches of Real Life on the Welsh Borders

Event 301 Venue: Good Energy Stage

Oliver Balch talks to Georgina Godwin

After living in London and Buenos Aires, what will the journalist make of moving to Hay, a tiny, quirky town on the Welsh-English border? To help guide him, he turns to Francis Kilvert, the Victorian diarist who captured the bucolic rural life of his day. Does anything of Kilvert’s world still exist? And could a newcomer ever feel they truly belong? With empathy and humour, Balch joins in the daily routines and lives of his fellow residents. What emerges is a captivating, personal picture of country life.

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Andrew Simms and Richard Murphy

How Quickly Can We Change? Economics

Event 302 Venue: Starlight Stage

Creeping climatic upheaval and corrosive global inequality are like two threads pulling apart civilisation’s fabric. To survive and thrive, we face an unprecedented challenge of rapid transition. But the way we live is locked-in by an economic system, dominated by finance and obsessed with growth. Andrew Simms of the New Weather Institute discusses whether orthodox economics can effect change with Richard Murphy, the architect of Corbynomics.

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Charity Gala Quiz Night Supper

Event 510 Venue: Relish Festival Restaurant

Please come and join us for a light supper and some lighter competitive quizzing with rounds on vice and virtue, passion and progress. Bring your own team of four, or come and scratch together with new friends. There are sumptuous prizes, scrummy food and the (really not so fiendish) questions spun by Peter Florence.

Main course – choice of:
Lamb Puttanesca with Puy Lentils, Wild Rice, Olives, Pine Nuts, Dried Tomatoes and Greens;
or Wye Valley Asparagus and Leek Tartlet with Neal’s Yard Peroche Goats Cheese (Vegetarian)

Dessert: Strawberry and Elderflower Eton Mess

Price includes 2 courses. Pay bar. All profits to fund our Schools Programme.
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Jason Mohammed

BBC Radio Wales LIVE

Event 507 Venue: BBC Radio Wales Hub

Jason Mohammed

Extraordinary stories, great music and topical discussion, plus the chance to speak directly to Wales’ decision makers.

BBC Radio Cymru


Broadcast live on BBC Radio Wales daily from 9am-11am.

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Henry Shue talks to Philippe Sands

Fighting Hurt: Rule and Exception in Torture and War

Event 303 Venue: Oxfam Moot

Henry Shue talks to Philippe Sands

Citing real cases including the bombing of Iraq in 1991, the Clinton Administration decision not to intervene in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, and CIA torture after 9/11, the Oxford international relations expert interrogates issues of ‘proportionality’ and ‘collateral damage’ as he examines the ethical limits of US foreign policy. He talks to the lawyer and author of Lawless World and Torture Team.

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Lisa Jones, Ian Jones and Clare Dolman

Exploring the Poles: In Search of a Deeper Understanding of Bipolar Disorder

Event 304 Venue: Llwyfan Cymru - Wales Stage

Lisa Jones, Ian Jones and Clare Dolman

University of Worcester Series

Our ability to treat bipolar disorder is hampered by the limits of our understanding of its causes. In conversation with Clare Dolman of Bipolar UK, The Professors of Psychological Medicine and Psychiatry who lead the Bipolar Disorder Research Network explore the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. They consider factors that can lead to both mania and depression, and examines recent and future advances in the treatment of this mental illness.

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David Gwyn

Welsh Slate

Event 305 Venue: Good Energy Stage

A history and a celebration of the Welsh slate industry centred on Snowdonia, exploring all aspects, from the cultural to the technical, and from the home to the quarries. Dr Gwyn is the author of the Royal Commission’s latest publication, Welsh Slate: Archaeology and History of an Industry. Chaired by Christopher Catling, CEO of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

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Peter Temple-Morris talks to Jim Naughtie

Across the Floor: A Life in Dissenting Politics

Event 306 Venue: Telegraph Stage

Peter Temple-Morris talks to Jim Naughtie

On 20 June 1998 Temple-Morris, Conservative MP for Leominster, crossed the floor to join his rivals on the Labour party benches. What drove a seasoned Conservative politician, one of the so-called Cambridge Mafia, with 24 years’ experience at Westminster, to change his allegiance so radically? He discusses his disillusionments and inspirations, his adventures in ‘the art of the possible’, and his colleagues on both sides of the House with the veteran BBC anchor.

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BBC Writersroom: Finding Your Writer’s Voice

A BBC event at Hay

Event 307 Venue: BBC Tent

Writersroom is the part of the BBC that works with new writers and writing. Join them for a workshop designed to help new and emerging screenwriters identify their unique voice. Through a series of focused writing exercises, BBC Writersroom will help you free your writer’s voice and start creating new and original ideas to begin your journey to writing for the screen.

Not for broadcast.

Writersroom BBC Radio Cymru

Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years

Free but ticketed
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Beth McIntyre

Battle of Mametz Wood in Art

Event 537 Venue: Hay Castle

Exploring the art, poetry and writing produced in response to one of the most significant and bloody battles fought by Welsh soldiers during the First World War. McIntyre is Senior Curator Prints & Drawings National Museum Cardiff.

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Pontardawe Arts Centre Presents

The King of the Sky

Event HD52 Venue: Starlight Stage

Enjoy a magical performance of the play The King of the Sky, a touching story of friendship and hope set in the Welsh valleys in the 1920s. Zoologist and author Nicola Davies touches on universal themes of difference and the kindness of strangers in this story of an Italian boy’s experience as a refugee.

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