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After a hedonistic decade in London that has descended into alcoholism, Amy returns to her native Orkney, where her childhood was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father’s mental illness. Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney’s wildlife – puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings – and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction. The Outrun is shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.
Last year the extraordinarily gifted organist and composer Father Richard Williams stunned audiences with his live accompaniment of the screenings of the classic movies Nosferatu and A Cottage on Dartmoor. This year he is turning his talents to Wallace Worsley’s 1923 silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which catapulted Lon Chaney to fame for his performance as the tortured hunchback, Quasimodo.
The historian was set alight by Shakespeare’s muse of fire when he first saw Henry V as a child. He examines Shakespeare’s making of the myths of England. He hymns the Histories, the kings and the commoners, the band of brothers, and the spirit of Shakespeare’s greatest knight, Sir John Falstaff.
A return to Hay for the wild and whirling comedian and improv star, who has a new book out called The Smartest Book in the World. He throws in the usual mix of drinking, so-called jokes, singing, poor dancing and boring preachy parts. Part professorial, part crazed comedian, Proops forms the show around his talent and passions. The show flows like a love letter to tangents. And it’s gloriously, madly funny.
What are the limits of free speech and civility? What is the nature of ‘offence’? What earns ‘respect’? If words can hurt you, are sticks and stones and broken bones the answer? Rachael Jolley is the editor of Index. David Aaronovitch writes for The Times. Laura Bates is Founder of the Everyday Sexism project. Nikesh Shukla is a novelist and editor of The Good Immigrant anthology to be published in September.
Ben Salfield (lutar), Jon Salfield (flamenco guitar), Simon Stanton (percussion), Rowan Nightingale (acoustic bass). The internationally regarded Salfield brothers’ ensemble makes a welcome return to Hay, following trio and duo concerts in 2014. Their high-octane repertoire features an exciting fusion of original works that tap into the Middle Eastern heritage of the lute and the driving rhythms of the flamenco guitar, combined with a myriad original ideas from the two virtuosi. The colour and power of Simon Stanton’s Latin, North African and Middle Eastern percussion, and the recent addition of Rowan Nightingale’s acoustic bass, create new harmonies, an added impetus, and a new dimension to the ensemble’s sound.
The investigative journalist and author of The Last Man in Russia and Let Our Fame be Great introduces a screening of Havana Marking’s Sundance Institute, TED prize-winning film about Ukrainian corruption, which he has written and presented. The film reaches from Kiev to London to Washington, D C and examines how anonymous shell companies and Western banks are used to enable corrupt governments to rob their nation’s wealth and natural resources.
When we read Victorian novelists and poets these days, we tend to read them in thick books: 1,000-page novels, or ‘Poetical Works’ which are often not much shorter. But for their original audiences, these stories and poems more usually appeared embedded in magazines, a few pages at a time. What difference does it make to how we read some of the classics of Victorian literature when we read them in their original form, in instalments, surrounded by advertisements, illustrations, articles and news? And how are new methods for studying electronic texts helping us to reinvent something of that reading experience in a new form? Holmes is Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, Mahlberg is Professor of Corpus Linguistics and Tattersdill is Lecturer in Victorian Literature. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
The new show from the acute and fully engaged comedian is deeply personal. “It never really bothered me that I’d never met my mum. It never occurred to me I needed to meet her to ‘find out who I was’, as it didn’t seem likely I’d discover I was someone different to who I thought I was. Could it turn out I was three stone lighter than I thought, or I spoke Italian or supported Arsenal or had a fear of Liquorice Allsorts? But after the birth of my own son, I realised it’s quite an event to have a child, and she may well remember giving birth to me, and maybe even the adoption.”
A first Hay for one of music’s greatest rising stars and her red-hot band. The mesmeric Brazilian singer draws on the traditions of samba and bossa nova with a mix of raga and hip-hop. Her first album Bossa Muffin made a huge impact around the world with its joyful fusions delivered with style and a liberating, effortlessly free-wheeling confidence.
Two of the smartest OUT-ers make the case for leaving the EU. Rees-Mogg is Conservative MP for North-East Somerset and Mirza is London’s Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture. They are questioned by the editor of Prospect magazine.
The professor whose research inspired the 10,000-hour rule has spent 30 years studying the Special Ones: geniuses, sports stars and musical prodigies. And his remarkable finding, revealed in Peak, is that their special abilities are acquired through training. The innate gift of talent is a myth. Exceptional individuals are born with just one unique ability, shared by us all: the ability to develop our brains and bodies through our own efforts.
A conversation about language and imagination, and the extraordinary Future Library project, with the celebrated author of Cloud Atlas, Number 9 Dream, Black Swan Green, The Bone Clocks, Ghostwritten, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Slade House.
The compelling story of the Brontës is told through the things they wore, stitched, wrote on and inscribed at the parsonage in Haworth. From Charlotte’s writing desk and the manuscripts it contained to the brass collar worn by Emily’s dog Keeper, each object opens a window on to the sisters’ world, their fiction, and the Victorian era. Chaired by Viv Groskop.
Guelfenbein is one of Chile’s leading screenwriters and novelists. She discusses her novel The Rest is Silence, in which a family faces its crises when a 12-year-old boy accidentally records a grown-ups’ conversation. Levi, the American author of A Guide for the Perplexed, presents his Rabelaisian novel Septimania, a voracious, teeming adventure in cultures and time.
Lady Henrietta Antonia Clive (1758-1830), Countess of Powis and wife of Lord Clive of India’s eldest son, was one of a select band of women who, living in the immediate post-Age of Enlightenment period, indulged in the study of the natural sciences. Her mineral collection and associated catalogues help to demonstrate how her interests developed and with whom she corresponded. Cotterell is Senior Curator Mineralogy, National Museum Cardiff.
How many plays did Shakespeare write? Which feature ghosts? Which are non-fiction and which are made up? The WhatOnEarth Wallbook author explores the world of human emotion using a giant timeline, a coat of many pockets and a series of everyday objects as props. Audience participation required, suitable for ages 6-106.
Shiver me timbers! Once upon a time, a mysterious message in a bottle said someone needed help; help from a certain bold, brave knight. So the brilliant Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, his cat Envelope and his good grey mare find a ship to rescue the messenger. Join the author for a musical, storytelling journey complete with pirates, a sea monster, and a delicious surprise.
Based on a mass of newly declassified Russian secret intelligence documentation, Haslam reveals the true story of Soviet intelligence from its very beginnings in 1917 right through to the end of the Cold War. Covering both branches of Soviet espionage, civilian and military, he charts the full range of the Soviet intelligence effort and the story of its development: in cryptography, disinformation, special forces, and counter-intelligence. He shows how their greatest weapon and ironically their greatest weakness was the human factor: their ability to recruit secret agents. Haslam is the George F Kennan Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there’s a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. He explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar’s revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo owned all of his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, “the greatest man since the Deluge”. Wulf’s biography won the Costa Prize. Chaired by Professor Philip Davies.