The full programme is available for this year’s festival, 25 May to 4 June. We very much look forward to seeing you in Hay.
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What can the worlds of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and drama contribute to how we understand and respond to climate change? Do humans respond to stories more than facts? The work stems from a project called Weatherfronts: climate change and the stories we tell. The pieces referenced here were commissioned by TippingPoint, Free Word and partners 2014-2016. Weatherfronts brought together writers and leading climate change experts to inspire new writing that would encourage people to act to help our environment.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, the BBC commissioned Owen Sheers to write a film-poem. It is performed by a stellar cast of Wales’s best known acting talent, including Michael Sheen, Jonathan Pryce, Sian Phillips, Eve Myles and Iwan Rheon, with contributions from the local community. The production draws on interviews with survivors, parents and people involved in the rescue operation, many of whom have never before spoken about their experiences. The film went out to critical acclaim on BBC One Wales and BBC Four last year. This special screening of the BAFTA-nominated film will be introduced by Owen Sheers and followed by a Q&A with him, the Executive Producer Bethan Jones and Director Pip Broughton.
Please note this sessions lasts 90 minutes.
We are delighted to launch the paperback of Nikesh Shukla’s award-winning collection of essays and stories with three of the contributing writers. Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.
A conversation about how their Quaker faith has informed the life and work of three writers: the actor Sheila Hancock’s books include the memoir Just Me and the novel Miss Carter’s War; award-winning poet Philip Gross’s collections include The Water Table, Deep Field and the forthcoming A Bright Acoustic; Tracy Chevalier’s novels include Girl With a Pearl Earring, At the Edge of the Orchard and now New Boy.
Dwan’s sensational performances of Beckett’s Not I and No’s Knife in London, on Broadway and around the world have perfectly captured the rhythms and beauty of his language. In this specially commissioned Poetry Hour she introduces and reads his poetry and drama.
Four poets read from new collections in this poetry platform. Campbell reads from her new collection Heat Signature. Blewitt reads from her Forward-commended This is Not a Rescue. Hooson reads from her collection The Other City. Atkin reads from Basic Nest Architecture.
2017 marks 100 years since the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele. One of those who fell in battle was Ellis Humphrey Evans, the poet from Meirionnydd whose Bardic name was Hedd Wyn. He died before being announced winner of the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead. The empty chair was draped in black, and Hedd Wyn is still remembered throughout Wales, as he is in Flanders, as a potent symbol of bloodshed and loss. Ifor ap Glyn will talk about the life, work and remarkable legacy of Hedd Wyn.
An intimate concert-performance unveils the first full-length collaboration between Palmer and Ka-Spel, founding member of visionary Anglo-Dutch psychedelicists The Legendary Pink Dots. Both artists’ stories, song fragments, poems, and lyrics became wholly meshed with loops, melancholy piano playing, melodic beds, and strange rhythms. The results range from the enchantingly minimal The Clock at the Back of the Cage to the luxurious theatricality of the album-opening Pulp Fiction. Chaired by Simon Price.
The comedian and poet performs work produced during her residency at Quarry Bank, one of the Industrial Revolution’s best-preserved textile mills. Fox has had unique access to journals of women who worked in the mill, which has informed her lifelong commitment to the issues of gender history and ‘Northern-ness’.
Questions of masculinity have been at the heart of Sheers’ writing for 20 years, in his plays Mametz and The Two Worlds of Charlie F, in his fiction Resistance and I Saw A Man, and in his poetry – most clearly in Pink Mist. In 2012 he was also artist in residence with the Welsh Rugby Union. Here he interrogates ideas of masculinity in essay form, and reimagines a man’s world.
Francis’ re-telling of the first four stories of the Welsh classic is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world: a baby is kidnapped by a monstrous claw, a giant wades across the Irish Sea to do battle, a wizard makes a woman out of flowers, only to find she is less biddable than he expected. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.
Leading lights from Latvia’s vibrant poetry scene join contemporaries from Scotland and Wales for a rich reading in three languages. The award-winning poets will share newly translated poems, collaborations and experiments in a special event which reflects their friendship and celebrates the role art plays in building bridges between cultures.
The first of four events this afternoon and evening that celebrate the vibrant cultural exchange between Wales and India. The poets relate and perform their experience of the India Wales project 2017, Valley City Village: with words and pictures introduced by Gary Raymond.
Sagar is a performance poet in the Kannada language, the Keralan poet Thampi writes in Malayalam. They’ve created a multi-lingual performance translating and writing together with the Cymraeg (Dafydd) and English-language (Davies) poets from Wales.
Manchester-based poetry collective Young Identity present a live set from some of the rising stars of the UK spoken word scene with performances by Isaiah Hull, Shirley May, Inna Voice and Chris Jam, plus a reading from novelist Desiree Reynolds. This diverse group of artists are aged 16-25 years old and represent some of the most articulate young voices the country has to offer.
Hay regular George Monbiot and the folk singer and songwriter Ewan McLennan join their considerable forces for an evening that plays with songs and the human stories that inspired them. Mining the themes of loneliness and social isolation and the ways people overcome them, the interplay of words and music is poignant and encouraging.
An evening of live music, spoken word and poetry inspired by trees and woods, culminating in a live performance by the sublime, magically engineered folk-mixer Emmy the Great, with a VJ set of woods/trees with visuals from a host of contemporary visual artists including artwork by Long View.
The passionate and powerful poet re-imagines the way in which the State might raise children placed in its care. Sissay is Chancellor of the University of Manchester. His foster parents placed him into care at the age of 12. He lived in care homes until he was 18. Chaired by Claire Armitstead.
Morris’ intimate journals unconsciously explore questions of travel, noting his reaction to the idea of leaving or arriving, to hurry and delay, what it means to dread a place you’ve never been to or to encounter the actuality of a long-held vision. Poet Lavinia Greenlaw draws out these questions as she follows in the footprints of Morris’ prose, responding to its surfaces and undercurrents, extending its horizons. The result is a new and composite work, which brilliantly explores our conflicted reasons for not staying at home. Chaired by William Sieghart.
Gwyn has edited a magnificent anthology of Contemporary Latin American Poetry, fabulously translated into English. The poems are at once exotic and other, yet recognisably drawing on a poetic tradition that includes Nobel prize-winners Octavio Paz and Pablo Neruda. They conjure big landscapes and moments of tenderness, celebrate the individual but also engage with the politics of many repressive regimes in Latin and South America. He is joined for a reading by the Argentinian writer Andres Neuman and the Welsh poet Clare Potter.
The trio of poets bill themselves as ‘conversations between a recovering love addict, a born again nihilist and an emotionally naked feminist’.They’re clever and inventive and they give good show.
Armitage’s 11th collection of poems documents a world on the brink, a world of unreliable seasons and unstable coordinates, where Odysseus stalks the aisles of cut-price supermarkets in search of direction, where the star of Bethlehem rises over industrial Yorkshire and where alarm bells for ailing communities go unheeded or unheard. Looking for certainty the mind gravitates to recollections of upbringing and family, only to encounter more unrecoverable worlds, shaped as ever through Armitage’s gifts for clarity and detail as well as his characteristic dead-pan wit.
A spellbinding hour with one of the all-time great live readers of poetry: ‘Lemn Sissay is a passionate and powerful voice whose performances are humbling and exhilarating’ – Kate Tempest.