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2017 Earlybird tickets

box office 01497 822 629

Here is our first batch of Earlybird tickets. The full programme will be available in April.

Letters Live 1

Event 1 Venue: Tata Tent

Letters Live 1

Letters Live returns to Hay for a fourth year after hugely popular shows at which Benedict Cumberbatch, Louise Brealey, Mark Strong, Olivia Colman, Toby Jones and Jude Law have performed.  Letters Live has rapidly established itself as a wonderfully dynamic and exciting new format for presenting memorable letters to a live audience and each event celebrates in an unforgettable way the joy, pain, wisdom and humour that so often hallmarks this most intimate of literary forms. Letters Live is inspired by Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note anthologies and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter.  The full cast will be announced on 20 May.

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Garry Kasparov talks to Stephen Fry

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins

Event 2 Venue: Tata Tent

Garry Kasparov talks to Stephen Fry

20 years ago, in May 1997, the world watched as Garry Kasparov, the greatest chess player in the world, was defeated for the first time by the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. He talks to the Hay Festival President about a watershed moment in the history of technology: machine intelligence had arrived at the point where it could best human intellect. 

It wasn’t a coincidence that Kasparov became the symbol of man’s fight against the machines. Chess has long been the fulcrum in development of machine intelligence; the hoax automaton ‘The Turk’ in the 18th century and Alan Turing’s first chess program in 1952 were two early examples of the quest for machines to think like humans a talent we measured by their ability to beat their creators at chess. As the pre-eminent chessmaster of the ’80s and ’90s, it was Kasparov’s blessing and his curse to play against each generation’s strongest computer champions, contributing to their development and advancing the field. 

Like all passionate competitors, Kasparov has taken his defeat and learned from it. He has devoted much energy to devising ways in which humans can partner with machines in order to produce results better than either can achieve alone. During the 20 years since playing Deep Blue, he has played both with and against machines, learning a great deal about our vital relationship with our most remarkable creations. Ultimately, he has become convinced that by embracing the competition between human and machine intelligence, we can spend less time worrying about being replaced and more thinking of new challenges to conquer.

Kasparov tells his side of the story of Deep Blue for the first time – what it was like to strategize against an implacable, untiring opponent – the mistakes he made and the reasons the odds were against him. And he tells his story of AI more generally, and how he has evolved to embrace it, taking part in an urgent debate with philosophers worried about human values, programmers creating self-learning neural networks, and engineers of cutting-edge robotics. 

His previous book was Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped. 

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Tracey Emin in conversation with Dylan Jones

Talking About Art

Event 3 Venue: Tata Tent

Tracey Emin in conversation with Dylan Jones

Tracey Emin’s art is one of disclosure, using her life events as inspiration for works ranging from painting, drawing, video and installation, to photography, needlework and sculpture. Emin reveals her hopes, humiliations, failures and successes in candid and, at times, excoriating work that is frequently both tragic and humorous.

Emin’s work has an immediacy and often sexually provocative attitude that firmly locates her oeuvre within the tradition of feminist discourse. By re-appropriating conventional handicraft techniques – or ‘women’s work’ – for radical intentions, Emin’s work resonates with the feminist tenets of the ‘personal as political’. In Everyone I’ve Ever Slept With, Emin used the process of appliqué to inscribe the names of lovers, friends and family within a small tent, into which the viewer had to crawl, becoming both voyeur and confidante. Her interest in the work of Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele particularly inform Emin’s paintings, monoprints and drawings, which explore complex personal states and ideas of self-representation through manifestly expressionist styles and themes.

Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963, and studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited extensively internationally including solo and group exhibitions in Holland, Germany, Japan, Australia and America. In 2007 Emin represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale, becoming the second female artist ever to do so. That same year, Emin was made a Royal Academician and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, a Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and a Doctor of Philosophy from London Metropolitan University. In 2011 she became the Royal Academy’s Professor of Drawing and in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.

She talks to the editor of GQ magazine.

Price: £10.30 

Fat Freddy's Drop

Event 4 Venue: Tata Tent

The booty shaking soul monster Fat Freddy’s Drop is heading to Wales on Bank Holiday Monday. 

Internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live draws, seven piece band Fat Freddy’s Drop is on fire with fourth studio album BAYS.  Over the last three LPs the New Zealanders have navigated their way from the incubator of sunshine reggae through a colour-saturated field of soul psychedelia before swerving onto a desolate Detroit superhighway at night. It’s a sound that demands to be heard live, a potent mixture of jazz virtuosity and diaphragm-wrecking digital sonics.

Price: £33.30 

Will Young and the Jazz Quintet

Event 5 Venue: Tata Tent

Will Young and the Jazz Quintet

Following on from the release of Summer Covers, an eclectic mix of fan-favorite jazz covers, Will Young returns to the stage with his incredibly talented band for a rare performance. Alongside some classic jazz standards, he will also perform new adaptations. Also, expect an abundance of funny stories and charming commentary throughout!

Will Young is one of the most well-known and recognizable figures in British contemporary music. Since 2002, his career has encompassed multi-platinum albums and sell-out live tours.

Beyond popular music, Will has always had a strong passion for jazz. Off the back of his recent fourth UK No.1 album ’85 Proof’, and its accompanying Love Revolution tour, Will released his most recent EP entitled ‘Summer Covers’ - a euphoric, eclectic mix of fan-favourite covers recorded live in Dean Street Studios with the same band line-up from his jazz residency at the legendary British jazz venue the 606 Club, in 2010.

Price: £25.30 

Ken Dodd

The Ken Dodd Happiness Show

Event 6 Venue: Tata Tent

Ken Dodd

Ken Dodd is a comedian of legendary status; an icon and national treasure who has been entertaining audiences for a lifetime of happiness and laughter.  He returns to the festival for a 30th anniversary celebration show.

Come and be absolutely discumknockerated (that’s Knotty Ash for ‘over the moon’) by a truly tattifelarius (fun-filled) evening of laughter and songs presented by a comedy genius. 

Enjoy a fun-filled variety show for all the family, with non-stop gags and a selection of songs in Ken Dodd's unique Happiness Show.

Price: £22.30 

Paul Beatty talks to Preti Taneja

The Sellout

Event 7 Venue: Oxfam Moot

Paul Beatty talks to Preti Taneja

The winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize discusses his novel. “The most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read.” New York Times

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.

Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father’s racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father’s work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that’s left is a bill for a drive-through funeral.

What’s more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.

Price: £10.30