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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
Reformations 9: Integration
Event 173 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Baroness Warsi’s book The Enemy Within identifies British Muslims as the latest in a long line of ‘others’ to be feared and demonised. The UK’s first Muslim cabinet minister explores questions of cultural difference, terrorism, surveillance, social justice, religious freedom, integration and the meaning of ‘British values’ with Helena Kennedy. She proffers necessary and inconvenient truths and proposes new ways forward for British Muslims, politicians and society.
Fictions: Here I Am
Event 174 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The new novel about modern family lives by the author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. “Jacob and Julia Bloch are about to be tested: By Jacob’s grandfather, who won’t go quietly into a retirement home. By the family reunion, that everyone is dreading. By their son’s heroic attempts to get expelled. And by the sexting affair that will rock their marriage…"
Event 175 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Keggie Carew grew up under the spell of an unorthodox, enigmatic father. An undercover guerrilla agent during the Second World War, in peacetime he lived on his wits and dazzling charm. But these were not always enough to sustain a family. As his memory began to fail, Keggie embarked on a quest to unravel his story once and for all. Dadland won the Costa biography award. It is funny and tender and utterly captivating.
Fictions: Towards Mellbreak
Event 182 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Bragg’s novel is a hymn both to the landscape of Cumbria and to a disappearing farming world. Poetic, beautiful and tragic, it gives an account of the struggle to preserve traditions and beliefs in the face of change. It is a quietly bold indictment of the treatment of generations of British men, and an assertion of the power to be found in the rituals we pass down through our families. She talks to the poet, academic and former Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour: Samuel Beckett
Event 185 • • Venue: Tata Tent
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.
Scritture Giovani 2017
Event 189 • • Venue: Cube
Three stylistically diverse graduates of the partnership exchange between Hay, Literaturfestival Berlin and Festivaletteratura Mantova, now in its fifteenth year, meet again to discuss translation and Europe with Daniel Hahn. Niermann’s Solution 257 – Complete Love is an erotic treasure in which political activists argue for justice through intimacy. Lewis’s short story collection Y Gwreiddyn explores nature and loss. Longo’s Bramard’s Case is a revenge thriller.
Ticket to include Italian coffee, German biscuits and Welsh cakes.
Event 190 • • Venue: Tata Tent
A celebration of the enduring tales and myths of Northern and Mediterranean Europe that ask, brutally and beautifully – what it means to be human. Gaiman’s newly published Norse Mythology reaches back to the source stories that have inspired Tolkien, the Marvel comics and many others. His gods are irascible, visceral, playful, and passionate. The tales carry us from the beginning of everything, to Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya through to Ragnarok and the twilight of the gods. Fry is reimagining versions of the Greek myths with their contrary Olympian gods, tragic human heroes and ruinous family curses.
The Seren 2017 Poetry Gala
Event 195 • • Venue: Cube
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.
Event 201 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
The translator discusses her English-language versions of the Neapolitan novels of Italian author Elena Ferrante that have taken the literary world by storm.
The Empty Chair: The National Poet of Wales on Hedd Wyn
Event 202 • • Venue: Cube
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.
Reformations 11: Men
Event 211 • • Venue: Tata Tent
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.
Event 220 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
Stroud tells the true stories of the SOE heroines who fought with the Resistance to free Nazi-occupied France. He is joined by Tania Szabó, who has also written a book about one of those agents, her mother: Young, Brave and Beautiful: The Missions of Special Operations Executive Agent Lieutenant Violette Szabó, George Cross, Croix de Guerre avec Étoile de Bronze.
Game of Spies
Event 224 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The true story of a lethal spy triangle with three men at its centre – a brilliant, ruthless, British secret agent called Roger Landes; the Gestapo counter-espionage officer Friedrich Dohse, who was charged with finding him; and French Resistance leader André Grandclément, who was responsible for the most controversial betrayal that took place in wartime France. From 1942 until 1944 these three enemies were drawn into a lethal dance in which comrades, Allied agents and downed pilots were sold to the Germans as casually as crates of wine. Chaired by Sarfraz Manzoor.
Fictions: Peculiar Ground
Event 234 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
From the multi-award-winning biographer, author of the The Pike, comes a breathtakingly ambitious, beautiful and timely debut novel. The story is about gamekeepers and witches, agitators and aristocrats; about young love and the pathos of ageing. And about how those who wall out others risk finding themselves becoming walled in.
Event 243 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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.
Literature Across Frontiers: The Exchange
Event 253 • • Venue: Compass
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.
JRR Tolkien’s Beren and Lúthien
Event 261 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
We are delighted to launch the next instalment in the ‘three great tales’, which began with The Children Of Hurin, painstakingly pieced together by the author’s son, Christopher. Tolkien began work on the story in early 1917 when he returned from the Somme. Set in Middle Earth, at the heart of the tale is a love story between a mortal man and an immortal elf, seen as the precursor to the Aragorn/Galadriel story in the Lord of the Rings. The illustrator Alan Lee has created some iconic Middle-Earth imagery, and worked on the Peter Jackson films, for which he won an Oscar.
Would the Real Thomas More Please Stand Up?!
Event 264 • • Venue: Tata Tent
Who was Thomas More, the author of Utopia? The distinguished historian of Tudor England parses the propaganda and More’s writings to read behind the myth. He examines the ways in which More’s legacy has been contested or resisted. And he suggests which aspects of his thought are likely to continue to influence the world in the future.
Elizabeth Jane Howard: A Dangerous Innocence
Event 265 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923-2014) wrote brilliant novels about what love can do to people, but in her own life the lasting relationship she sought so ardently always eluded her. The biographer examines the life of the author of The Cazalet Chronicle, her marriages to the naturalist Peter Scott and the novelist Kingsley Amis, as well as her turbulent relationships with Cecil Day-Lewis, Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee. Cooper’s biography depicts a woman trying to make sense of her life through her writing, as well as illuminating the literary world in which she lived.
Event 273 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
With its taut narrative and its wincingly visceral portrait of a man locked in an uneven struggle with the forces of nature, Jones’s Cove is a powerful new work from one of the most distinctive voices in British fiction. Jufresa’s Umami is a quietly devastating novel of missed encounters, missed opportunities, missed people, and those who are left behind. Compassionate, surprising, funny and inventive, it deftly unpicks their stories to offer a darkly comic portrait of contemporary Mexico, as whimsical as it is heart-wrenching.
Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts
Event 276 • • Venue: Tata Tent
Intimate conversations with 12 of the most famous medieval manuscripts in existence. De Hamel traces the elaborate journeys these exceptionally precious artifacts have made through time and space. He shows us how they have been copied, who has owned them or lusted after them (and how we can tell); how they have been embroiled in politics and scholarly disputes; and how they have been regarded as objects of supreme luxury and as symbols of national identity. De Hamel was Head of Medieval Manuscripts at Sotheby’s and is now Librarian at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
This Long Pursuit
Event 283 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
“If our world is to be saved, we must understand it both scientifically and imaginatively,” writes the great biographer Richard Holmes in his new book – a kaleidoscope of stories and meditations in which he revisits 200 working notebooks and celebrates his beloved art of biography, calling it the vital “handshake across time, cultures, beliefs, disciplines and genders”. Holmes is the biographer of Coleridge and Shelley, and the author of Sidetracks, Footsteps and The Age of Wonder. He talks to Claire Armitstead.
The Way You Tell It: the benefits and drawbacks of non-literal expression in everyday life
Event 284 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Metaphors, metonymy, irony, hyperbole – non-literal expression is one of the primary tools for achieving economy of expression, clarity, persuasiveness, politeness and the communication of emotions. However, the potential for misunderstanding increases dramatically in situations where participants lack shared background knowledge or have significantly different views of the world. Littlemore is Professor of English Language and Applied Linguistics at University of Birmingham.
The Road Home
Event 289 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
The novelist revisits her 2008 masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize and selected as one of the Festival’s 30 Essential Reads of the past 30 years. ‘Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work. Behind him loom the figures of his dead wife, his beloved young daughter and his outrageous friend Rudi. Ahead of Lev lies the deep strangeness of the British: their hostile streets, their clannish pubs, their obsession with celebrity. London holds out the alluring possibility of friendship, sex, money and a new career and, if Lev is lucky, a new sense of belonging....’
Event 297 • • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
Parks is a profoundly European writer, steeped in Italian culture as a travel writer and a translator. He is publishing an introduction to a selection of Montaigne’s essays: Drawn From Life, and his new novel In Extremis is one of the most implacable, but also one of the funniest novels about death and family you will ever read.