We are pleased to announce the full programme for Hay Festival 2018.
How does automatic translation work and will machines ever be able to replace a ‘human’ translator? A panel of experts from University of Cambridge discuss latest developments. Sanson is a Reader in Italian Language, Literature and Culture, Byrne is Professor of Information Engineering and Tomalin is Research Associate in the Speech Research Group of the University Engineering Department.
The longlist for this year's international fiction prize consists of Laurent Binet, Javier Cercas, Virginie Despentes, Jenny Erpenbeck, Han Kang, Ariana Harwicz, László Krasznahorkai, Antonio Muñoz, Christoph Ransmayr, Ahmed Saadawi, Olga Tokarczuk, Wu Ming-Yi and Gabriela Ybarra. The shortlist will be released on 12 April, and the winner will be announced on 22 May.
The author of Icebreaker, Down to the Sea in Ships, A Single Swallow and Running for the Hills leads a walk from Tretower Court through the Cwmdu Valley looking at stories in his Myths and Legends of the Brecon Beacons. A member of the Brecon Beacons National Park team will join the walk.
This is the first of two sessions introducing the most exciting voices of Latin American fiction, stars of the 2018 selection for Bogotà 39 and launching the English-language edition of a globally published anthology. Colanzi is a Bolivian short story writer and editor whose work includes the collection Our Dead World. Restrepo Pombo is the editor of Gatopardo magazine and of the anthology The Sorrows of Mexico. His fiction appears in the Bogotà 39 Anthology. Fonseca was born in Costa Rica and grew up in Puerto Rico. His novel Colonel Lagrimas is available in English. They read and talk to Daniel Hahn.
The screenwriter (War and Peace, Bleak House, Dr Zhivago, Pride and Prejudice) is joined by his script editor and producer to discuss the challenges of adapting Victor Hugo’s masterpiece for the screen. The six-hour series will broadcast later this year with Dominic West as Valjean, David Oyelowo as Javert and Olivia Colman as Mme Thénardier. Chaired by Francine Stock.
Following the drought of 2012, the community of Gumbi in rural Malawi decided they needed to diversify to protect their families from further famine and create a brighter future for their children. They decided that education was the key. Today, thanks to the support of the Gumbi Education Fund, Book Aid International and others, Gumbi has a small library, three villagers are qualified teachers, and three more are going to university. John Vidal, who covered the famine in the Guardian,and Patrick Kamzitu from Gumbi, will tell this inspiring story. They are joined by broadcaster and historian Bettany Hughes, a long-term supporter of the Gumbi Education Fund and Emma Taylor, Book Aid International’s Head of Communications.
The new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Paddy Clark Ha! Ha! Ha! has all the features for which Roddy Doyle has become famous: the razor-sharp dialogue, the humour, the superb evocation of adolescence, but this is a novel unlike any he has written before. When you finish the last page you will have been challenged to re-evaluate everything you think you remember so clearly.
What is the best Booker winner? To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the fiction prize, five judges have each selected what they think is the best winner of each decade since 1968. The shortlist result will be announced at Hay on 26 May. Wood, the Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, hosts an all-star panel who will have read the shortlisted books and will pick a Hay winner. Sands won the non-fiction Baillie Gifford Prize for East West Street. Turkish author Shafak’s novels include Honour, The Forty Rules of Love and Three Daughters of Eve. The Colombian novelist Gabriel Vasquez won the Premio Alfaguara and the IMPAC award for The Sound of Things Falling. His latest novel is The Shape of the Ruins.
The Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford leads a walk through ancient woodland at Whitney-on-Wye talking about her acclaimed book, The Long, Long Life of Trees, a lyrical tribute to the diversity of trees, drawing on material from folklore, natural science, literature, cultural history, European art, ancient mythology and modern medicine to illuminate each tree’s central place in Western civilisation. Walk accompanied by naturalist and forester Tom Fairfield and Lydia Robbins.
A conversation about fiction and language with two of the greatest Spanish language writers. The Impostor is Cercas’ new novel about the notorious fake Holocaust survivor, Enric Marco. With profound compassion and lacerating honesty, Cercas takes the reader on a journey not only into one man’s gigantic lie, but also into the deepest, most flawed parts of our humanity. Cercas also publishes his book of essays on the novel The Blind Spot. Gabriel Vasquez introduces his novel The Shape of the Ruins. It takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vásquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since. They talk, in English, to Daniel Hahn.
The novelist talks about his writing and reading, and the translation of his books into film. The movie of On Chesil Beach is released on 18 May. Towards the end of this event McEwan will introduce the winner of the 2018 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers’ Award.
The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey, is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty and power; about marriage, family and identity; and about travellers, hospitality and the changing meanings of home in a strange world. The vivid new translation, the first by a woman, matches the number of lines in the Greek original, striding at Homer's sprightly pace. Wilson employs elemental, resonant language and a five-beat line to produce a translation with an enchanting ‘rhythm and rumble’. She recaptures what is epic about this wellspring of world literature. This inaugural translation lecture is given in the name of the pre-eminent translator, whose peerless work rendering French, Danish and German literature into English ranges from Asterix to Austerlitz. Chaired by Charlotte Higgins.
Armitage, the current Oxford Professor of Poetry and Hay favourite, delivers his Oxford lecture on the connections and contradictions between the art of song-writing and the art of poetry, a topic brought to a head by Bob Dylan’s recent recognition by the Swedish Academy. The paperback edition of Simon Armitage’s eleventh volume of poetry, The Unaccompanied, is published this month, as is Flit, a new collection of poems with accompanying photographs taken by the author, published by Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
"Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion" – Rumi. Jalaluddin Rumi is one of the foremost poets of the Sufi tradition, with a lasting influence that transcends nationality, religion and literary genre. His poetry distils the purest experience of love, life and God into some of the most haunting, beautiful and profound verse ever written. The acclaimed Turkish novelist celebrates Rumi’s philosophy of love and life and reflects on her own experience of Sufism, and its impact on her work. Chaired by William Sieghart.
The second of two sessions introducing the most exciting voices of Latin American fiction, award-winning stars of the 2018 selection for Bogota 39, and launching the English-language edition of a globally published anthology. Ulloa is a short story writer from Peru, whose collection Little Birds beautifully combines cruelty and tenderness. Monge’s The Arid Sky has seen him hailed as a Mexican Cormac McCarthy. Jufresa’s masterpiece Umami is a darkly comic portrayal of contemporary life in Mexico City. They talk to Daniel Hahn.
The French winner of the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize introduces her magnificent novel Mend the Living, a story that is both intimate and epic, that goes to the heart of what it means to be human.
Mary Shelley was brought up by her father in a house filled with radical thinkers, poets, philosophers and writers of the day. Aged 16, she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a relationship that was lived on the move across Britain and Europe, as she coped with debt, infidelity and the deaths of three children, before early widowhood changed her life for ever. Most astonishingly, it was while she was still a teenager that Mary composed her canonical novel Frankenstein, which was published exactly 200 years ago. In this fascinating dialogue with the past, Sampson sifts through letters, diaries and records to find the real woman behind the story.
An all-star book group of Hay writers gather to recommend books for our #Vote100Books campaign: We want a new library of 100 great books by women that have inspired readers over the past century. Which books would you want to add to this library? Books have liberated and empowered people, books have enabled readers to imagine the world to be braver, more equal and more dynamic. Democracy is vulnerable to cynicism. Books offer empathy and hope.
Find out more about the #vote100books campaign and submit your nominations here
The astronomer subverts conventional astronomical thought by eschewing the classical naming of constellations and investigating Welsh and Celtic naming. Ancient peoples around the world placed their own myths and legends in the heavens, though these have tended to become lost behind the dominant use of classical cultural stories to name stars. In many cases it is a result of a literary culture displacing an oral culture. Griffiths has researched past use of Welsh heroes from the Mabinogion in the naming of constellations and his new book is both an interesting, provocative combination of a new perspective on Welsh mythology and an astronomy guidebook.
Following the publication of The Welsh and the Medieval World: Travel, Migration and Exile, Dr Kathryn Hurlock talks about medieval movement and travel through Wales and the Welsh Marches. Having published widely on crusading and pilgrimage, she looks at Welsh and Marcher engagement in religious travel in the area, their responses to it in literature and oral culture, and the ways in which they engaged with, and understood, the world (both the natural and the man-made) through which they passed. After the talk, Ron Shoesmith, archaeologist, will lead a guided walk around Craswall Priory, founded by Walter de Lacy in c1225, and belonging to the French Order of Grandmont.