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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.
Click here to see a list of sold out events
Another Man’s Shoes
Event 24 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Ellie’s father Sven and uncle Jacob, both leading scientists, led the XU Norwegian Resistance movement against the Nazi occupation in WW2. She tells a mesmerising story of espionage and heroism illustrated with artefacts and documents as she traces the survival of the XU all the way through the Cold War until 1988.
History of a Disappearance: The Story of a Forgotten Polish Town
Event 48 • • Venue: Cube
Lying at the crucible of Central Europe, the Silesian village of Kupferberg suffered the violence of the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, and World War I. After Stalin’s post-World War II redrawing of Poland’s borders, Kupferberg became Miedzianka, a town settled by displaced persons from all over Poland and a new centre of the Eastern Bloc’s uranium-mining industry. Decades of neglect and environmental degradation led to the town being declared uninhabitable, and the population was evacuated. Today, it exists only in ruins, with barely a hundred people living on the unstable ground above its collapsing mines. The journalist and photographer tells its story.
BBC Talking Books 1: This is Not a Border
Event 57 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The Egyptian novelist discusses her writing and her heroic Palfest festival, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year with an anthology This Is Not a Border: Reportage and Reflection from the Palestine Festival of Literature. Soueif’s fiction includes In The Eye of the Sun and The Map of Love. Her non-fiction work includes Cairo: Memoir of a City Transformed.
This event will be recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books
It’s Happened Before
Event 78 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Kizilhan is a psychologist who persuaded the state of Baden-Württemberg to spend €95m to rescue back to Germany 1,100 Yazidi women between the ages of 55 and eight, who had been enslaved, repeatedly raped, and tortured by IS in Iraq. He tells the stories of his patients and their desire for truth and justice in the face of genocide.
We recommend reading this article about Jan Kizilhan by Philippe Sands - https://www.ft.com/content/2ce55dee-01c7-11e6-ac98-3c15a1aa2e62
Where the Line is Drawn: Crossing Boundaries in Occupied Palestine
Event 90 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Brave, intelligent and deeply controversial, the award-winning author of A Rift in Time, Occupation Diaries, Language of War ~ Language of Peace and Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape explores the devastating effect of Occupation on even the most intimate aspects of life. Looking back over decades of political turmoil, Shehadeh traces the impact on the fragile bonds of friendship across the Israel-Palestine border, and asks whether those considered bitter enemies can come together to forge a common future.
The War on Women
Event 97 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
In a tribute to the late frontline journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts and her posthumously-published book, a panel of three exceptional and indefatigable heroes talk to Joan Bakewell about The War on Women. Lamb is the Foreign Correspondent of The Sunday Times and the author of Farewell Kabul and The Girl from Aleppo. Kennedy is a world-renowned Human Rights lawyer. Jolley is editor of Index on Censorship.
With thanks to Nick Guthrie
SAS: Rogue Heroes –The Authorised Wartime History
Event 110 • • Venue: Tata Tent
In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, has a vision for a new kind of war: attacking the enemy where they least expect it – from behind their own lines. Despite the intense opposition of many in British High Command, Winston Churchill personally gives Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he can find. With unprecedented access to the SAS secret files, unseen footage and exclusive interviews with its founder members, the author of Operation Mincemeat, A Spy Amongst Friends and Agent Zigzag tells the remarkable early story of the Herefordshire Regiment.
Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities
Event 111 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
The historian tells the story of the three-in-one great cities of Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul, which has long been the gateway between East and West. Archaeologists have measured 42 layers of human inhabitation here on the Bosphorus over the past 6,000 years. It has been the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman empires and, for many years, was known simply as The City.
The Baillie Gifford Prize Lecture: East West Street
Event 116 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
Sands’s inquiry into the origins of 'genocide' and 'crimes against humanity' is also a personal quest for his family in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. It won this year’s Baillie Gifford Prize. Hay Festival-goers will have heard Sands explore many of the themes of the story here over the past decade. We revisit East West Street this year to honour one of the greatest works of literature of the festival’s lifetime; a book that might be read around Europe and around the world to inform the way contemporary history is developing.
Enlightenment and Jihad
Event 122 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
Bellaigue tells the forgotten stories of key figures and reformers of Islam’s past 200 years in The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason; from Egypt’s visionary ruler Muhammad Ali to brave radicals such as Iran’s first feminist Qurrat al-Ayn. Terror in France: The Rise of Jihad in the West by Gilles Kepel is the explosive account of the radicalisation of a segment of Muslim youth that led to the 2016 atrocities at Bataclan and in Nice, and of the failure of governments in France and across Europe to address it.
Cambridge Series: The Moor’s Last Stand
Event 127 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The poignant story of Boabdil, the last Muslim king of Granada. Betrayed by his family and undermined by faction and internal conflict, Boabdil was defeated in 1492 by the forces of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of the newly united kingdoms of Castile and Aragon. The Christian victory marked the completion of the long Christian reconquest of Spain and ended seven centuries in which Christians, Muslims and Jews had, for the most part, lived peacefully and profitably together in La Convivencia.
The Sorrows of Mexico
Event 143 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Veering between carnival and apocalypse, Mexico has in the past ten years become the epicentre of the international drug trade. The so-called war on drugs has been a brutal and chaotic failure: more than 160,000 lives have been lost. The drug cartels and the forces of law and order are often in collusion; corruption is everywhere. Life is cheap, and inconvenient people – the poor, the unlucky, the honest or the inquisitive – become the ‘disappeared’, leaving not a trace behind. In September 2015, more than 26,798 were officially registered as ‘not located’. Yet people in all walks of life have refused to give up. Hernandez gives a chilling account of the ‘disappearance'” of 43 students. Cacho describes what it’s like to live every day as a journalist under threat of death.
Reformations 6: War and Peace
Event 146 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
In the wake of Colombia’s 2016 Peace Agreement, which put an end to more than 60 years of civil war, the philosopher and law professor reimagines our understanding of conflict, of truth, reconciliation and justice. Guardiola-Rivera is the author of What if Latin America Ruled the World?, Story of a Death Foretold and the forthcoming A New Art of War. Chaired by Helena Kennedy.
Welcome to Hay
Event 263 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Amid the number counting and hysteria about the refugee crisis, the voices of those who have fled conflict and persecution can be lost. Join us for readings from women across the world who have sought protection in the UK and learnt English with the British Red Cross in South Wales, where they have been writing about their experiences from the point of departure to their arrival in Britain.
The Iliad and The Odyssey
Event 279 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
War, glory, despair and mourning: for 2,700 years Homer has gripped listeners and readers with the stories of Achilles’ anger and Hector’s death, and of Odysseus’ decade-long journey home from Troy. Verity discusses his vigorous and elegant new translations with Peter Florence.
Ladybird Experts: The Battle of Britain
Event 314 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The war historian explains the different challenges faced by the RAF and the Luftwaffe in 1940, the technologies of the planes and, above all, the skill, bravery and endurance of the airmen engaged in a contest that was of critical importance to the outcome of the Second World War.
Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry
Event 317 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
An astonishing insight into the life of a humanitarian psychiatrist working in war and disaster zones around the world from Bosnia and ‘mission-accomplished’ Iraq, to tsunami-affected Aceh, post-earthquake Haiti and ‘the Jungle’ in Calais. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
Our Man in the Middle East
Event 320 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The BBC’s Middle East Editor returns home to bring the news from Mosul, Gaza and Jerusalem. His 25-part series for Radio 4 about the region’s history starts on 15 May. He combines first-hand accounts from the front line with analysis of the politics, economics and societies he’s reported on since he first arrived in the Gulf in 1990. Chaired by Peter Florence.
The War in the West, Volume 2
Event 332 • • Venue: Tata Tent
In the second volume of his acclaimed new history of the Second World War, Holland examines the momentous turning points of 1941–1943: Hitler’s invasion of Russia; America’s entry into the conflict; the devastating Thousand Bomber Raids over Germany; the long struggle in the deserts of North Africa and the defeat of the U-boats in the crucial Battle of the Atlantic.
We Need to Talk About Germany
Event 362 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Hawes takes a long view to ask: did the Germans destroy the culture of Rome or inherit it? Did Bismarck unify Germany or conquer it? Where are the roots of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich? Why did it lose? By what miracle did a better Germany arise from the rubble? Is Germany now the last Western bastion of industrial prosperity and rational politics? Or are the EU and the Euro merely window-dressing for a new German hegemony?