Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings comes an electric, multi-layered novel about ambition, power, friendship and mentorship, and the romantic ideals we all follow deep into adulthood, not just about who we want to be with, but who we want to be. At its heart, The Female Persuasion is about the flame we all believe is flickering inside us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time. It's a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles evolve over time) and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.
The Growth Delusion: The Wealth and Wellbeing of Nations
Pilling explores how economists and their cult of growth have hijacked our policy-making and infiltrated our thinking about what makes societies work. Our policies are geared relentlessly towards increasing our standard measure of growth, Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By this yardstick we have never been wealthier or happier. So why doesn't it feel that way? Why are we living in such fractured times, with global populism on the rise and wealth inequality as stark as ever?
As Britain's largest wading bird, the curlew is known for its evocative call, providing a range of emotions that many have expressed in poetry, music and art. Join nature activist Mary Colwell, who will be giving an illustrated talk on her book Curlew Moon, the RSPB’s Global Conservation Director Martin Harper, and curlew species champion and Assembly Member Mark Isherwood, as they celebrate this iconic species and look forward towards a brighter future for our most endangered wildlife.
Classicist and broadcaster Mary Beard hosts an episode of the BBC’s flagship arts show. She and her guests debate the big questions in arts and culture.
Broadcasts Friday 1 June at 11pm on BBC Two
The Neolithic in Britain was a period of fundamental change: human communities were transformed, collectively owning domesticated plants and animals, and inhabiting a richer world of material things: timber houses and halls, pottery vessels, polished flint and stone axes, and massive monuments of earth and stone. Equally important was the development of a suite of new social practices, and an emphasis on descent, continuity and inheritance. These innovations set in train social processes that culminated with the construction of Stonehenge, the most remarkable surviving structure from prehistoric Europe. The celebrated archaeologists launch their new book today at Hay.
Join the star of Radio 4’s Just a Minute and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue for an extremely silly evening of interactive fun as we play a special Hay version of Tony’s Game Show Trust The Bucket. It’s laugh-a-minute stuff as The Generation Game meets Vic and Bob meets Whose Line Is It Anyway? Someone in the audience will walk away with a fabulous prize at the end of the evening – something that used to belong to someone else in the audience, and which they are delighted to get rid of. “The sort of bonkers nonsense that one expects from Tony. I loved it. An utterly daft experience.” – Miles Jupp. “Probably the silliest evening I’ve ever been involved in…and the most fun.’ – Jo Brand. #justincaseyoufeelitsallabitseriousthisyear #balance
Following their sell-out UK tour and smash-hit Hay gigs last year, the outrageous and hilarious Scummy Mummies are back with a brand-new comedy show. New songs, new sketches, new catsuits, And even some new jokes! Join Ellie and Helen as they celebrate the scummier side of parenting, from drinking wine at teatime to hiding from the PTA. Bring your friends and make it a mums’ (or dads’!) night out! Based on the hit Scummy Mummies podcast and book.
The new blockbuster show at the V&A begins to imagine where our society might be headed. Cute but intelligent robots, massive unmanned aircraft that deliver internet access, crowdfunded buildings, tools printed in space, mysterious black boxes that understand human genetic codes – how can these objects affect the way we live, learn and love? And how are they challenging our understanding of what it means to be an individual, a citizen, a crowd or a species? Hunt is the Director and Hyde is the Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Orange prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and A Perfect Family reads stories from her newly published, debut short-form collection – Property. In Shriver’s world, we may possess people and objects and places, but in turn they possess us. Chaired by Lisa Dwan.
13th Century Wales. A small monastic outpost is rocked to its core when a gruesome discovery is made on the nearby shoreline: a severed human head, the first of several to wash up along the surrounding coast. Not long after, the holy brothers stumble across the smouldering ruins of a bardic school and within, a pile of decapitated bodies – all that is left of King John’s brutal massacre. But one man, barely alive, is found hiding among the carnage. He is Cian Brydydd Mawr, the greatest bard of his age, who holds in his head all the ancient stories of his land… So begins Lupton’s masterful new novel which tells the story of the making of the Mabinogion, the ancient Welsh myth cycle which existed in oral form for generations before it was set down in writing. In Lupton’s re-telling, we witness these stories of spirits and shape-shifters, giants and time-travellers, curses and spells being told as they originally would have been in the ancient bardic tradition. He introduces the tales and talks to his fellow storyteller Daniel Morden.
Internationally acclaimed writer Alexander McCall Smith speaks to Gavin Esler at Hay Festival. The author of more than 80 books, including, the 44 Scotland Street series has been described as a writer of “gentle wisdom and good cheer”. His books have been translated into more than 46 languages. He will be discussing his huge range of works as well as his three new novels published this year, The Quiet Side of Passion, The Second Worst Restaurant in France, and The Colours of all the Cattle which is another in his hugely successful heart-warming series of books about The Number 1. Ladies’ Detective Agency, that is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year.
Join the audience of BBC Radio 4’s flagship news and current affairs programme as we broadcast live from Hay.
Wake up and re-energise with our morning yoga class. Iyengar yoga is characterised by precision, alignment and attention to detail and is an inclusive and accessible yoga practice. Mats are provided; wear comfortable clothing; all abilities welcome.
While the land is familiar, even reassuring, the sea is unknown and threatening. Why, then, did humans become seafarers? Part of the answer is that we are conditioned by our genetics to be acquisitive animals: we like to acquire rare materials and we are eager for esoteric knowledge, and society rewards us well for both. And our innate inquisitiveness drives us to explore. The pre-eminent archaeologist looks at the development of seafaring on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, two contrasting seas, the Mediterranean without a significant tide, enclosed and soon to become familiar, the Atlantic with its frightening tidal ranges, an ocean without end. Chaired by Gabrielle Walker.
The statistician and data scientist offers an up-close and user-friendly look at artificial intelligence: what it is, how it works, where it came from and how to harness its power for a better world. A revolution of intelligent machines, from self-driving cars to smart digital assistants, is now remaking our world, just as the Industrial Revolution remade the world of the 19th century. Doctors use AI to diagnose and treat cancer. Banks use it to detect fraud. Power companies use it to save energy. AI is changing our lives at lightning speed. Many of these changes offer great promise, including freedom from drudgery, safer workplaces, better health care and fewer language barriers. But others elicit worry - whether about jobs, data privacy, political manipulation or the prospect of machines making biased decisions with no accountability. Scott shows how intelligent machines operating on massive data sets are changing the world around you, and how you can use this knowledge to make better decisions in your own life. Chaired by Hannah MacInnes.
Drawing on his experience as UK Minister for Universities and Science from 2010 to 2014, Willetts offers a powerful account of the value of higher education and the case for more expansion. He discusses access for disadvantaged students, tuition fees, the potential for business and universities to work together in promoting innovation, and envisions how globalisation and technological progress may change the university significantly. He talks to Owen Sheers, Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.
Llew Jones wanted to see the States and write about the experience. Then he met Joe Bosco, a butterfly salesman as charismatic as he was infuriating, and they were soon hurtling across 1980s America together, caught up in an adventure that got way, way out of control. Now Llew is in jail, his friend is gone, and he has to give his side of the story if he’s ever going to get free . . . Part existential road trip, part neo-Gothic thriller, part morality tale, The Killing of Butterfly Joe is a dazzling and propulsive novel full of characters you’ll never forget. The film of Brook’s novel The Aftermath starring Keira Knightley and Alexander Skarsgård comes out later this year. He talks to Peter Florence.
Artist and illustrator of The Lost Words, written by Robert Macfarlane, The Ice Bear, Tell Me a Dragon and Song of the Golden Hare leads an art and story workshop in the landscape, for adults. Sketchbooks and pencils will be provided but bring your own if you wish. The workshop will be by the River Wye looking at river wildlife (but there is a wet-weather plan should it rain).