How I Got Here sessions are in-conversation events where Hay Festival Youth Council members interview Hay Festival speakers. This session is with Welsh international rugby union referee, Nigel Owens. These sessions are programmed and delivered by young people for young people. Free for 16–25-year-olds who register at hayfestival.org/compass.
The YA Book Prize singles out the best new fiction for young adults every year. Join shortlisted authors Juno Dawson (Clean), Laura Dockrill (Big Bones) and Fiona Shaw (Outwalkers) for a discussion of their books and the importance of YA fiction. Chaired by Anna James.
Join eight leading folk musicians for an evening of enchanting new commissions based on the book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.
The musicians are singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, kora player Seckou Keita, Scottish contemporary folk musician and songwriter Kris Drever, British composer Kerry Andrew, singer and harpist Rachel Newton, cellist Beth Porter and multi-instrumentalist Jim Molyneux.
Spell Songs engages deeply with landscape and nature, to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words - A Spell Book. Spell Songs will allow these acclaimed and diverse musicians to weave together elements of British folk music, Senegalese folk traditions, experimental and classical music, and create an inspiring new body of work.
Featuring live painting by Jackie Morris.
See also event 
Rugby is a serious global business that is scaling up, and facing regional and global challenges and revolutions. WRU CEO and Chair of GlobalWelsh Martyn Phillips, Sam Warburton, the former Wales, Lions and Cardiff Blues captain and THE ref Nigel Owens discuss all aspects of the sport: its challenges, both on and off the field, and the culture that underpins the essence of the game, in conversation with Carolyn Hitt, author of Wales Play in Red.
Moneyland is the secret country of the lawless, stateless, super rich. Over the past fifty years it has become the third largest economy in the world, and is annexing more every day. Investigative journalist Oliver Bullough explains how the City of London created this phenomenon, what damage it’s doing to the world and what Britain must do to stop being the problem.
The horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust spurred the creation of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, decolonisation and the creation of what is now the EU. The era established principles and institutions of tolerance, equality, humanity and democracy that have guided successive generations since. Today those values are threatened by a rising tide of hostility, racism, nationalism and religious intolerance. How can we stem this tide and, through education, take action to promote inclusion, understanding and community cohesion? Barbara Winton, daughter and biographer of Sir Nicholas Winton, Auschwitz survivor Mindu Hornick and Jabba Riaz, the Mayor of Worcester, talk to University of Worcester Vice Chancellor David Green.
Working class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged and dispossessed. Kit De Waal, bestselling author of My Name is Leon and The Trick to Time celebrates the new anthology of working class writers she has edited for Unbound. She is joined by Lisa Blower, who teaches creative writing at the Bangor University. Her first novel Sitting Ducks was shortlisted for the Arnold Bennett Prize and her second It’s Gone Dark over Bill’s Mother’s is out now from Myriad Editions. Loretta Ramkissoon, an Italian-Mauritian Londoner whose account of life in a tower block ('Which Floor?') is her first published piece. Chaired by Rachael Kerr of Unbound.
A former SAS corporal and the only man to escape death or capture during the Bravo Two Zero operation during the 1991 Gulf War, Ryan turned to writing thrillers to tell the stories the Official Secrets Act stops him putting in his non-fiction. His novels have gone on to inspire the Sky One series Strike Back. Red Strike sees Ryan’s two heroes go undercover into the circle of a British populist demagogue with links to the Kremlin.
Meltem Arıkan received the Freedom of Thought and Speech Award 2004 from the Turkish Publishers Association after the government tried to censor her fourth novel Yeter Tenimi Acıtmayın (Stop Hurting My Flesh). In 2013, her play Mi Minor was claimed by the Turkish authorities to be a rehearsal for the Gezi Park demonstrations later that year. The ensuing mob hysteria and death threats led to her leaving Turkey, where she now faces a life sentence on charges of attempting the violent overthrow of the government. Memet Ali Alabora, the play’s director, has also been charged with treason and also now lives in exile in Wales, with his wife, actress Pınar Öğün. The writer and director will discuss issues of censorship and exile as well as their work with researcher Filiz Çelik and writer Dylan Moore.
The impact of suicide on friends and family can be devastating and far-reaching. Kate Harding and Billie Charity, who lost a husband and brother to suicide respectively, and Sarah Stone, Director of Samaritans in Wales, join Benna Waites to talk about the experience of grieving following suicide. Kate is a palliative care doctor and GP, Billie Charity is an award-winning photographer and Benna Waites is Joint Head of Psychology for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
Paul Merton, Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch, Suki Webster, Mike McShane
and accompanist Kirsty Newton are rocking back to Hay with another evening of mindblowing impro. The collective improvisational experience embodied in the Chums is enough to stun an elephant. They flex their improvisational muscles to delight and entertain audiences in this country and abroad.
From tree to timber – a chance to see up close how a small-scale, sustainable wood is managed. The tour visits planting, ecosystem care and tree grading, and goes into the sawmill to see the log being converted into timber. Find out what the challenges and opportunities are for the timber industry.
Richard King’s new book The Lark Ascending: Music of the British Landscape explores how Britain’s history and identity have been shaped by the relationship between music and nature. The Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ pastoral romance for orchestra, was premièred in 1921 and has worked its way into the collective consciousness to define a mythical concept of the English countryside: babbling brooks and skylarks. But the birth and legacy of the composition are much more complex than this simplified pastoral vision suggests. The landscape we celebrate as unsullied and ripe with mystique is a living, working and occasionally rancorous environment that forged a nation’s musical personality and its dissenting traditions. The walk will include a discussion of our place in the landscape, both as individuals and as a society, the role of hedonism and celebration in our enjoyment of the countryside and will feature elements of both local and national rural history, breathtaking views, and pauses for rest and conversation.
Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. There will be a bus journey to and from the walk location; return to Festival site by 12.30pm.
A little more light ridicule, mockery and fun to start the day as the satirists read the tabloids and surf the social media storms for an irreverent look at what’s tickling the nation’s fancy – and driving it to splenetic fury – today.
In their controversial book Engines of Privilege: Britain’s Private School Problem Green and Kynaston contend that, in a society that mouths the virtues of equality of opportunity, of fairness and of social cohesion, the educational apartheid separating private schools from our state schools deploys our national educational resources unfairly and inefficiently; blocks social mobility; reproduces privilege down the generations; and underpins a damaging democratic deficit in our society. Rajvi Glasbrook Griffiths is a deputy head teacher in Newport. Alex Beard taught in an inner city comprehensive before joining Teach For All and is author of Natural Born Learners: Our Incredible Capacity to Learn and How We Can Harness It. What does the best possible education look like? How will the Hay audience, many of whom are teachers, contribute to the debate?
When Alice Morrison first headed out to Morocco, it was to take on one of the most daunting challenges: to run in the famous Marathon des Sables. But as soon as she settled in a flat in Marrakesh she was won over by the people, the spectacular scenery and the ancient alleyways of the souk. Soon she was hiking over the Atlas Mountains, joining nomads to sample their timeless way of life as they crossed the Sahara desert, and finding peace in a tranquil oasis. Alice came to fame with her BBC Two series Morocco to Timbuktu. Chaired by Kitty Corrigan.
Huge efforts have been made to combat malaria for over a century, yet each year hundreds of thousands of people still die from the disease, particularly in sub Saharan Africa. The last decade has seen major reductions in this toll: are we at last on the road to eradication? The latest research charts a path towards a vaccine and new weapons against malaria mosquitoes. Faith Osier is Professor of Malaria Immunology at Oxford University and Chris Thomas is Professor of Zoology and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at Aberystwyth University.
Join award-winning songwriter and debut children’s writer Karine Polwart and acclaimed illustrator Kate Leiper as they share their new picture book, A Wee Bird Was Watching. Through music and drawing, discover an enchanted woodland of delights in a story that is a wonderful tale of resilience, kindness and courage.
Explore the magical possibilities of stories and the unlikely places they can take you. Travel with PG Bell, whose Train to Impossible Places is a rollicking adventure, fall into the heart of storyland with Anna James in Pages & Co and head down into an unexpectedly different world with Nadine Wild-Palmer in The Tunnels Beneath. Chaired by Sian Cain, Online Books Editor at the Guardian.