Hay Festival 2019 Programme

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Event 181

Mary Norris

Greek to Me

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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The Comma Queen, the bestselling author of Between You & Me, delivers another wise and witty paean to the art of expressing oneself clearly and convincingly, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek. From convincing her New Yorker bosses to pay for Ancient Greek studies to travelling the sacred way in search of Persephone, Norris gives an unforgettable account of both her lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way she explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Chaired by Sameer Rahim of Prospect.

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Mary Norris

Event 182

Linda Grant talks to Claire Armitstead

Fictions: A Stranger City

Venue: Hay Festival Foundation Stage
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When a dead body is found in the Thames, caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, it sets off a search for a missing woman and confirms a sense that in London a person can become invisible once outside their community. Assuming they even have a community. The Orange Prize-winning novelist weaves a tale around ideas of home; how London can be a place of exile or expulsion, how home can be a physical place or an idea. How all our lives intersect and how coincidence or the randomness of birthplace can decide how we live and with whom.

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Event 183

Beyond Belief: Faith and the Imagination

BBC Radio 4

Venue: BBC Tent
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In this special episode of BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief, Ernie Rea and a panel of artists, writers and neuroscientists explore the relationship between faith and the imagination. Creative expression has often accompanied internal religious experience and this discussion explores the way our understanding of the imagination has changed over time and how it can be simultaneously limiting and transcendental.

Free but ticketed
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Event HD34

Professor Robert Winston

Ask a Scientist

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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Do you have a puzzling science question that you have always wanted to know the answer to? In his new book Ask a Scientist, Professor Robert Winston answers over 100 curious questions from children around the world, such as ‘How do dogs cry?’, ‘Why do the stars twinkle?’ and ‘Why don’t jellyfish get their tentacles in a tangle?’ Join Robert as he explains the science behind some of the most bizarre and intriguing questions he’s ever been asked – you can even send in your own question for Robert to answer on the day!

Click here to submit your question.

6+
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Event HD35

CLiPPA Poetry Award

Shortlist announcement

Venue: Starlight Stage
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An energetic poetry show celebrating the shortlist for CLiPPA 2019. Join poet and 2019 CLiPPA Chair of Judges AF Harrold, 2018 CLiPPA shortlisted poet Ruth Awolola and previous CLiPPA winner Rachel Rooney for a conversation about the magic and power of poetry for all - and hear more about this year's shortlist. Former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell will live illustrate throughout.

Photo: Ellie Kurttz
9+
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Event HD36

Discover Story Building

Perfectly Norman

Venue: Cube
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Join Story Builders from Discover Children’s Story Centre (discover.org.uk) to explore picture book Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival. In this interactive event children will hear all about Norman, a boy with an extraordinary secret. Explore why Norman feels the way he does, and reflect on what makes us all unique. The event includes a craft activity for each child to complete and take home.

4–7
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Event W57

HCA Illustration Workshop 3

Working with Nature

Venue: Scribblers Hut
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Work with Hereford College of Arts BA (Hons) Illustration students to create exciting and inventive images based on the natural world. Explore ideas about the world around us, and how we can share these with everyone else who inhabits this planet, including animals, insects, plants and sea life. Have fun making 2D and 3D creations using a wide variety of materials.

11–13
Parents may attend but don’t require a ticket
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Event 184

John Simpson talks to Oliver Bullough

Moscow, Midnight

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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The legendary BBC World Affairs Editor discusses his new thriller and the way in which, in fact as in fiction, so many of the most improbable or extraordinary stories and trails all lead back to Moscow.

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John Simpson talks to Oliver Bullough

Event 185

Anthony Shillito and Neil Davies

Cambridge Series 8: A Path Well-trodden

Venue: Hay Festival Foundation Stage
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The two geologists from the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University follow the footprints of fearsome beasts from Britain’s deep past. Throughout its ancient history, the UK has been home to many amazing creatures that are now long extinct. From dinosaurs to giant millipedes, discover how these animals shaped the land around them and what secrets are held within their prehistoric footprints.

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Event 186

Thomas J Bollyky

Plagues and the Paradox of Progress: Why the World Is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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For the first time in recorded history viruses, bacteria and other infectious diseases are not the leading cause of death or disability in any region of the world. People are living longer, and fewer mothers are giving birth to many children in the hope that some might survive. And yet, the news is not all good. Recent reductions in infectious disease have not been accompanied by the same improvements in income, job opportunities and governance that occurred with these changes in wealthier countries decades ago. There have also been unintended consequences. Whether the peril or promise of that progress prevails, Bollyky explains, depends on what we do next. Bollyky is the Director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Chaired by Isaac Florence.

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Thomas J Bollyky

Event 187

Catherine Hanley

Matilda: Empress, Queen, Warrior

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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A life of Matilda – empress, skilled military leader and one of the greatest figures of the English Middle Ages. Matilda was a daughter, wife and mother. But she was also empress, heir to the English crown and the first woman ever to hold the position; and she was an extremely able military general. Hanley’s new biography explores Matilda’s achievements as military and political leader, and sets her 12th-century life and career in full context. Chaired by Sameer Rahim of Prospect.

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Catherine Hanley

Event 188

Tonight at Hay

BBC Radio Wales

Venue: BBC Tent
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Lively discussion with Guto Harri. Forensic scientist Angela Gallop explores the ever-increasing importance of science in criminal investigation. Plus thriller-writer Chris Ryan on the journey from SAS corporal to best-selling author, Tracy Chevalier on creating compelling stories from the tiniest sparks and The Mash Report’s Nish Kumar on the future of satire in an ever more implausible political world.

Free but ticketed
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Event 189

The Power of Poetry

Activity-based skills session for educators

Venue: Scribblers Hut
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Drawing on the results of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education’s research project, The Power of Poetry, this practical, activity-based workshop will explore how a focus on poetry in the classroom can improve children’s reading and language skills. Attendees will receive a copy of the CLPE publication Poetry in Primary Schools: What We Know Works.

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Event HD37

Lauren St John and Piers Torday

Kat Wolfe Takes the Case and The Lost Magician

Venue: Starlight Stage
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Lauren St John grew up surrounded by animals on a farm and a game reserve in Zimbabwe while Piers Torday was introduced to nature by being taken on storytelling walks in the forests of Northumberland by his father. Since then both have been passionate about animals, their environments and the need to protect them. Join Lauren and Piers as they discuss their books and the importance for all of saving animals from extinction, in conversation with Professor Ben Garrod, author of The Chimpanzee and Me.

9+
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Event 440

Barbara Erskine

The 10-minute readings

Venue: Serious Reading Room
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Free, short readings in the Serious Reading Room by some of the stars speaking at Hay.
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Barbara Erskine

Event 190

Alf Dubs, Renate Collins, Josie Naughton and Barbara Winton

80 Years On, It’s Our Turn

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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Lord Dubs and Renate Collins were two of 669 Czech-resident, mainly Jewish children saved from the Nazis by the British stockbroker Nicholas Winton and others on the Kindertransport. We mark the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport with Nicholas Winton’s daughter, Barbara, and survivors of the original operation, and discuss the opportunities today to help children fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in Britain. Josie Naughton is co-founder and CEO of Help Refugees.

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Event 191

Robin Ince talks to Stephanie Merritt

I’m a Joke and So Are You: A Comedian’s Take on What Makes us Human

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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Where does anxiety come from? How do we overcome imposter syndrome? What is the key to creativity? How can we deal with grief? Informed by personal insights as well as interviews with some of the world’s top comedians, neuroscientists and psychologists, the comedian and Infinite Monkey Cage host offers a hilarious and often moving primer to the mind. But it is also a powerful call to embrace the full breadth of our inner experience – no matter how strange we worry it may be!

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Event 192

Rosie Boycott, Hannah Critchlow, Fiona Fox, Bronwen Maddox and Magdalena Skipper

Nature 150 Platform: Separating Science Fact from Science Fiction

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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How do we guard against fake news about true science? President Trump tweeting “HIV is cured” isn’t anywhere close to the story. How do we ensure that the science that is published is robust and stands up to scrutiny as well as ensuring that this science is accurately and responsibly reported? Boycott is a cross-bench peer, who has edited both tabloid and broadsheet newspapers; Critchlow is a neuroscientist; Fox is Director of the Science Media Centre; Maddox is a journalist and Director of the Institute for Government; Skipper is Editor of the scientific journal Nature, which celebrates its 150th anniversary at Hay.

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Event 193

Jon Anderson, Mary-Ann Constantine and Damian Walford Davies

Wales: A Tapestry of Literature and Landscape

Venue: Starlight Stage
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The relationship between literature and landscape has long fascinated writers, storytellers and readers. This is particularly evident in Wales, where the physical, fabled, industrial and social landscapes continue to influence the fiction that defines the country and its culture. Drawing on the Literary Atlas project, experts from Cardiff University and the University of Wales explore the relations between literature and landscape.

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Event 194

Richard Suggett

Hay Castle and Hay Lordship: Discovering and Dating the Buildings of a Medieval Frontier Society

Venue: Hay Festival Foundation Stage
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The historian will focus on the development of the castle, the discovery of the 15th-century houses of the lordship’s tenants and new ways of dating medieval timberwork, including the extraordinary castle gates. Suggett is Senior Investigator for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments for Wales. Introduced by Justin Albert.

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Richard Suggett

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