In his breathtakingly honest Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery David Harewood reveals how investigating his own experience of psychosis and exploring stigma around mental health has given him the freedom to look at his life from a new perspective – one that throughout his acting career he had been unable to process until now, thirty years after the event.
When David was twenty-three, only two years out of drama school with a career starting to take flight, he had what he now understands to be a psychotic breakdown and ended up being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He was physically detained by six police officers, sedated, then hospitalised and transferred to a locked ward.
Since making an award-winning documentary about his experiences for the BBC, David came to understand the extent to which his psychosis and subsequent treatment was rooted in race and racism. David talks to Stephen Fry about the statistics around mental health in the UK and how adversely the numbers are stacked against Black people.
The expert on empires, autocrats and Russian history presents his latest work In the Shadow of the Gods (the Emperor in World History), a dazzling account of the men (and occasional woman) who led the world’s empires, a book that probes the essence of leadership and power through the centuries and around the world. British Pugwash is the UK arm of the international Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Pugwash and Joseph Rotblat, its founder, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Isabel isn’t interested in learning any more about the climate crisis and suspects that you aren’t either. We all know how bad it is. Therefore her single minded focus is on all the solutions we can find and can enjoy.
The author, comedienne and environmentalist explores How to Practise Without Preaching: the way we bank, heat our homes, travel, garden, dress, holiday, shop, lobby, volunteer, eat and furnish our homes. She shows that all the actions we can take in order to live a 1.5 degree lifestyle, and help our planet, are also those which will most enrich our lives. No prisoners will be taken and Isabel sends her audience away with a notebook full of ideas, suggestions and actions to be taken.
Join the audience for a recording of Sky Arts Big Weekend, a 90-minute TV programme, featuring interviews and conversations with some of the biggest and best names at the Festival. The programmes will air across the weekend of 10–12 June on Sky Arts (Freeview Channel 11), Sky Arts HD and Now. Guests include Monica Ali, Sadia Azmat, Lemn Sissay, Devi Sridhar and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
A new collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe brings nine performances of Julius Caesar to a specially commissioned open-air theatre at the newly renovated Hay Castle. The travelling company of actors, will bring to life Shakespeare’s political thriller with a stripped back production made fresh for our world today.
Touring has been a longstanding tradition at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, since the tours of the Elizabethan Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Shakespeare’s versatile troupe toured frequently in the summer especially when there was a plague or political unrest. Shakespeare’s Globe has now established a world renowned reputation for highly ambitious and economical Shakespearean storytelling in the rough and ready fashion of Elizabethan times.
“We are so delighted to be able to finally come to the Hay Festival to perform against the breath-taking backdrop of Hay Castle.” – Shakespeare’s Globe
Click here to pre-book a delicious picnic box to enjoy during the performance.
Michael Morpurgo discusses his commemorative gift book There Once is a Queen, published to honour the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and gorgeously illustrated by Michael Foreman. This very special book begins with the Queen as a child, planting an oak tree with her father, and follows her story in a way that brings her historic reign vividly to life for readers around the globe, big and small.
Travel back six thousand years into the Forest of the Stone Age: a world of myth, menace, natural magic and exhilarating adventure. Michelle Paver shares the secrets behind her bestselling Wolf Brother series and reveals how Torak, Renn and Wolf face their deadliest challenge yet in Wolfbane, the thrilling final book. Will this adventure be the end for Wolf?
In their newly published handbook for fiction writers, The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write, novelists Sarah Burton and Jem Poster draw on their extensive experience of teaching creative writing in contexts ranging from community education to PhD supervision. Chaired by Gwen Davies, editor of New Welsh Review, this event addresses key issues in fiction writing, allowing ample time for you to ask questions. Whether you’ve already begun to find your way as a writer or are about to take your first steps, the conversation will help you on your journey.
Bestselling poetry anthologist Allie Esiri returns to the Festival to celebrate her latest anthology, A Poet for Every Day of the Year. Allie commences a journey through the calendar year, highlighting key moments and dates with poetry from some of the world’s greatest verse writers, read by leading performers.
Ours is the age of global warming. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, forest fires. The next ten years are key to averting climate disaster. Dire warnings are everywhere, so why has it taken so long for the crisis to be recognised?
Climate scientist Professor Peter Stott (Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial) reveals the bitter fight to get international recognition for what, among scientists, has been known for decades: human activity causes climate change. Climate campaigner and writer Dr Alice Bell (Our Biggest Experiment: A History of the Climate Crisis) reviews the history of climate change research – how the world became addicted to fossil fuels and what tools we may have for survival. They discuss what we can do to confront the climate crisis, and exactly how we ended up here with Thea Sherer, Director of Sustainability and Climate Action Officer at Springer Nature.
Susan Ogilvy introduces her unusual obsession: painting bird nests. It started almost by accident – while tidying up her garden after a storm, she found a chaffinch nest. She carried it inside and, as the water drained out of it, the sodden lump blossomed into a mossy jewel. She was amazed, and dropped everything to make a painting of the nest.
Ogilvy has since painted more than fifty bird nests from life, each time marvelling at its ingenious construction. Every species of bird has its own vernacular, but sources its materials – most commonly twigs, roots, grasses, reeds, leaves, moss, lichen, hair, feathers and cobwebs, less usually, mattress stuffing and string – according to local availability.
Ogilvy’s work has been shown at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, and the Kew Garden Gallery, London, amongst other places; it is included in several public and private collections, including Dr Shirley Sherwood's world-renowned collection of contemporary botanical paintings.
We all know, and governments advise, that losing weight is just a matter of burning more calories than we consume. But what if all of the calorie counts that we see everywhere today are wrong? Cambridge obesity researcher Giles Yeo challenges the conventional model and demonstrates that all calories are not created equal.
Elizabeth Zott is a one-of-a-kind scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show. Her unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. As it turns out, Elizabeth isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. Debut writer Bonnie Garmus talks to Stephanie Merritt.
A conversation with the team behind the hit BBC podcasts Death by Conspiracy? and War on Truth. Hear how journalists sift fact from fiction – and report on all the bad information swirling around on social media for audiences around the UK and across the globe. Death by Conspiracy? follows the story of Gary Matthews, a man from Shrewsbury who believed in Covid conspiracy theories until he caught the virus and died. Following the remarkable success of that series, Radio 4 launched War on Truth – a reactive series tracking the stories of people caught up in the information war in Ukraine. Both podcasts are presented by the BBC’s first ever specialist disinformation reporter, Marianna Spring, produced by Ant Adeane and edited by Mike Wendling.
Visit Hay Castle’s inaugural exhibition, Portraits of Writers, where Tom True, director of Hay Castle, will give a ten-minute introduction to the exhibition followed by a question and answer session in the gallery.
Portraits of Writers is the exciting inaugural exhibition at Hay Castle, newly opened to the public after a major restoration project. The display, selected from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery by guest curator, author and journalist Dylan Jones OBE, brings together a range of portraits of celebrated British individuals who identify as writers. The golden thread is the theme of identity, both individual and collective. The exhibition presents a range of methods and approaches used by artists to capture the complex identities of writers, including gender identity, sexuality, race, ethnicity, national and regional identity, migration and colonisation. Writers depicted include RIz Ahmed, Simon Armitage, Salman Rushdie and Bernardine Evaristo.
The exhibition is the result of a partnership between the National Portrait Gallery and Hay Castle with the support and collaboration of Hay Festival.
After Hours: Director’s Tour of Portraits of Writers is available 5pm–5.45pm on Saturday 28 May, Sunday 29 May, Saturday 3 June and Sunday 4 June.
Jules Howard is a wildlife expert, zoologist, and author of Wonderdog: How the Science of Dogs Changed the Science of Life. He and Britain’s best-loved comedian Julian Clary, author of The Lick of Love: How Dogs Changed My Life, discuss our beloved canine friends, how their intelligence and emotional capacity has changed the way we think about animals, and where we (as a pair of species) go from here.
Viv Groskop talks to Geentanjali Shree, the first Indian writer to win the International Booker Prize, for her novel Tomb of Sand, a family saga set in the shadow of the partition of India and to the book translator into English, Daisy Rockwell.
At this year’s Book Aid International platform, Booker Prize-winning poet and novelist Ben Okri and Book Aid International Trustee and youth leader from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Zainab Umar explore how readers and writers can help to influence the future and how creating a generation of readers is central to regenerating communities in Nigeria and around the world. They consider how storytellers shape narratives on a personal and national level, examining the role of reading in helping people to reimagine their future, and how books play a part in modulating the past and opening up new destinies.
The UK’s leading authority on recovering from disaster looks back at her work on some of the most high-profile disasters of recent decades including 9/11, the 7/7 bombings, the Shoreham air disaster, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Covid-19 pandemic. No one person expects to experience just one of these events, let alone all.
Professor Lucy Easthope has spent her life preparing for, and working in the aftermath of, disasters to better plan for future events. She describes life behind the police tapes and her focus on the victims and their families and the government briefing rooms where ‘confusion and soggy biscuits can reign supreme’. When The Dust Settles: Stories of Love, Loss and Hope from an Expert in Disaster is both her memoir and a record of what can be learned from living a life on the edges of disaster.
Easthope is Professor in Practice of Risk and Hazard at the University of Durham and Fellow in Mass Fatalities and Pandemics at the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. She talks to Film Director, Writer and British Foreign Correspondent of the Year, Dan McDougall.
The Enigma Machine was an electro-mechanical device used in the mid-20th century to encrypt communications. An ingeniously simple and elegant combination of cogs, wires and lamps, all fitting into a portable case, it provided some of the strongest encryption possible at the time.
In this event Dr Reuben Binns recreates this important development in the history of computing through a project to build an Enigma machine using modern electronics components and digital design techniques. This is followed by a Q&A and a demonstration where you can see the home-made Enigma machine in action and have a go at encrypting and decrypting a message. Reuben Binns is Associate Professor of Human Centred Computing at the University of Oxford.