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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
Event 13 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
The entrepreneur examines the relationship between business, government and society. He discusses Britain in a post-Brexit world, Donald Trump’s America, and the ‘elephant in the boardroom’ – executive pay. Lord Jones was Director General of the CBI. In 2007 he was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade and Investment. He talks to Jesse Norman.
Politics: Between the Extremes
Event 20 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The former Deputy Prime Minister lifts the lid on the workings and failings of the 2010--2015 coalition government, analyses the 2017 European electoral cycle, and assesses the opportunities for the liberal centre ground of politics.
Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World
Event 21 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
500 years ago, Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Pope with a radical new vision of what Christianity could be. The revolution he set in motion has toppled governments, upended social norms, and transformed millions of people’s understanding of their relationship with God. In his dazzling global history charting five centuries of innovation and change, Ryrie makes the case that the world we live in was indelibly shaped by Protestants.
The May Day Manifesto
Event 29 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
It is 50 years since the publication of the May Day Manifesto, edited by Raymond Williams. The manifesto reflected the growing disillusionment on the Left with what the authors argued to be the surrendering of socialist principles by the Labour Party. The panel explores the making of the manifesto and examines its relevance today.
Stefan Collini is Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at the University of Cambridge, Bonnie Greer is a playwright, author and judge for this year’s Orwell Prize, Leanne Wood AM is the Leader of Plaid Cymru, Merryn Williams is a critic, poet, and daughter of Raymond Williams and Daniel G. Williams is Professor of English Literature at Swansea University.
Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy and Myths
Event 40 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
100 years on, as Russia again fills the headlines, an intriguing insight into a world shocked and changed forever. The British Library curator introduces the most resonant exhibits from their Russian collection -- from a first edition of the Communist Manifesto to anti-Bolshevik propaganda and Lenin’s handwritten application for a Reader Pass. Chaired by Oliver Bullough.
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
A Life in Questions
Event 65 • • Venue: Tata Tent
“Why is this lying bastard lying to me?” was at the front of his mind as the grand inquisitor conducted every interview on Newsnight. He has been known to be less hard on the students of University Challenge. He is lightly grilled with a touch of spice by the satirist and Now Show star.
Event 77 • • Venue: Tata Tent
The highs and lows of life in and out of politics – from the despatch box to Strictly stage with one of Britain’s most influential and charming political figures. He’s funny, and acute about the madhouse of Parliament. Ed Balls is not currently an MP.
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
The Disappearance of Emile Zola
Event 83 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
18 July 1898 and the world-renowned novelist Emile Zola is on the run. His crime? Intervening in the Dreyfus case and taking on the highest powers in France with his open letter J’accuse. Forced to leave Paris with nothing but the clothes he is standing in and a nightshirt wrapped in newspaper, Zola flees to England with no idea when he will return. This is the little-known story of his time in exile. Rosen offers an intriguing insight into the mind, the loves, the politics and the work of the great writer.
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.
On the Brink: A Dialogue
Event 98 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
In d’Ancona’s book Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back he examines how the art of the lie is shaking the very foundations of democracy and the world as we know it. Brexit, Trump, the rejection of climate change science, and the vilification of immigrants have all have been based on the power to evoke feelings and not facts. In The Retreat of Western Liberalism Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society’s economic losers, and complacency about our system’s durability. Our faith in history teaches us to take democracy for granted. Reality tells us something troublingly different.
The Index Platform – Pussy Riot
Event 105 • • Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
An interview with the musician and activist, who was arrested after her punk band’s 2012 performance in a Moscow cathedral. She was convicted of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' and sentenced to two years penal servitude. Nadya Tolokno now has permanent residency in Canada, from where she continues to protest human rights abuses.
Governing Global Health
Event 113 • • Venue: Starlight Stage
Governments, NGOs and corporations collaborate across the world on campaigns to respond to global health issues such as AIDS, Ebola, SARS and malaria. But how do you regulate these PPPs (private-public partnerships)? The Edinburgh academic and her co-author, Chelsea Clinton, analyse the accountability, effectiveness and sustainability of the biggest campaigns. Chaired by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera.
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.
Reformations 3: Policy
Event 126 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
The Economist Platform
The British-American economist examines the formation of policy in the post-truth world, and reconfigures how expertise is mediated and how we manage the boundaries between advisors and politicians. Shafik was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and is the incoming Director of the London School of Economics. Chaired by Zanny Minton Beddoes.
The Good Immigrant
Event 144 • • Venue: Cube
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.
Brexit Britain 1 – Sovereignty
Event 153 • • Venue: Good Energy Stage
Who actually holds power in Britain? As the Prime Minister invokes Article 50 with parliamentary approval, what are we giving up and taking back? A free-ranging conversation with Gina Miller, who successfully led the legal challenge to the government over parliamentary prerogative and Henry Porter, host of the Convention on Brexit and the Political Crash.
The Alternative – Is it Time for a new Progressive Politics to Arise in Britain?
Event 155 • • Venue: Cube
With old British political alignments shifting, sharp divisions within government and at least as much in the official opposition, is a very different, new, progressive alliance the way ahead?
A Woman’s Work
Event 162 • • Venue: Tata Tent
A fascinating account of an exemplary Parliamentary and political career from an insider committed to progressing gender equality. There’s a great quote about her in The Times: “Countless blows have tempered Harman into something fearless and indestructible”. She talks to the founder of the Everyday Sexism project.
Dismembered: How the Attack on the State Harms Us All
Event 168 • • Venue: Oxfam Moot
The two journalists travelled around Great Britain gathering the voices of the people who make up the public sector: nurses and patients, teachers and policemen and civilians. The story they tell is one of society’s dismemberment across our nation state: a fragmented NHS, a reduced police force, divided schools and a vulnerable military.
Adults In The Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment
Event 172 • • Venue: Tata Tent
As Greek finance minister, Varoufakis confronted the EU head-on over debt. He tells a tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion and betrayal, and he issues an urgent call to renew European democracy.
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.
Cambridge Series: How do drugs, alcohol and obesity affect people’s ability to work?
Event 176 • • Venue: Cube
These three conditions impose great costs on individuals and society. Dame Carol Black’s independent government review examines the challenges and the data; and she makes recommendations that could improve the lives of those affected.