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The unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement, in a 6 x 9-foot cell, twenty-three hours a day, in the notorious Angola prison in Louisiana – all for a crime he did not commit. That Albert Woodfox survived was, in itself, a feat of extraordinary endurance against the violence and deprivation he faced daily. That he was able to emerge whole from his odyssey within America’s prison and judicial systems is a triumph of the human spirit.
“I’ve discovered that going for a daily walk has become as essential to me feeling good for the rest of the day as that first cup of tea. But I would argue that all I am doing is responding to a natural need we all have. Humans have always been migrants, the physiological urge to be nomadic is deep-rooted in all of us and, perhaps because of that, our brains are stimulated by walking. I solve all sorts of problems, formulate ideas, work things out to that gentle rhythm of self-propelled movement.” As she explores the reasons why we walk, whether for creative energy, challenge and pleasure, or therapeutic benefits, Kate’s reflections and insights will encourage, motivate and spur readers into action.
Who or what determines what we eat? The Bernard Wolfe Professor of Health Neuroscience at Cambridge University will outline the brain processes involved in responding to environmental stimuli and determining our food choices.
After three years of being on the statute books, what has the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015 achieved? Has the groundbreaking, world-leading legislation achieved world-beating results? Has the legal responsibility put on the Welsh public sector, including Welsh Government, to consider sustainability in all of its actions, actually made a difference? Jane Hutt, Welsh Assembly Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Davidson, the original architect of this Act, and Sophie Howe, the independent commissioner responsible for delivery, discuss progress.
A two-hour practical writing workshop led by award-winning playwright Sebastian Baczkiewicz. We’ll look at what you love about radio plays and find out how to unlock that initial idea that’s been itching to break free. We’ll look at how to write scenes and to keep the all-important action of your story moving. You will also find out how to get your work read in the first place, as well as insights into how radio drama series such as Homefront came to be developed and produced. There will be plenty of time for any questions you may be burning to ask! Sebastian has written for radio, TV and theatre. Among his many radio credits are seven seasons of his acclaimed series Pilgrim as well as adaptations of Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo. He was also part of the core writing team for Radio 4’s landmark WWI drama Homefront.
Traditional Japanese gardens combine aesthetics with ethics, beauty with philosophy in a perfectly curated celebration of the natural world. A Japanese garden is the world in miniature: rocks represent mountains, ponds represent seas. Natural and man-made elements combine to create a garden that, while natural, is not wild. The gardener and photographer look at the traditions and culture which inform some of the most beautiful and famous gardens from all over Japan, from Kenroku-en to the Zen gardens of Tokyo and the historic beauty of Kyoto, and from the famous cherry blossom celebration hanami to the autumnal crimson magnificence of momijigari.
Fauré’s Requiem has rightly become a well-loved standard work in the choral repertoire. The work itself has been described as a lullaby to death and Fauré’s questioning attitude to his own faith is evident in the way he modifies the religious text, giving it more relevance to a wider community. By the time of his death in 1924, jazz was becoming a major form of musical expression. It is with these factors in mind that Paula Gardiner and Fiona Evans are excited to be collaborating on a jazz Fauré Requiem.
Paula is Head of Jazz at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is an inspirational and important presence on the Welsh jazz scene. Just as the late Jacques Loussier explored the potential for jazz in JS Bach’s music, Paula has followed a similar path, using Fauré’s beautiful melodies and gentle harmonic structure to produce a crossover performance of this much-loved work. Fiona worked as a professional singer with small consorts including The Sixteen for over a decade. Drawing on her performance experience, she has been running a number of community choirs for over twenty years and is currently MD of the Hay Community Choir.
Jazz trio performers: Josh Heaton: saxophone; Frazer Mcintosh: piano; Paula Gardiner: double bass. Conductor: Fiona Evans.
Chorus Membership: £20
Open to all singers, this event is developing the Hay Festival Chorus idea from its initial performance in December 2018, with Fiona’s rearranged Handel’s Messiah for three part mixed voices. Performers can choose to sing a high, middle or low voice part. There will be three afternoon rehearsals on 29, 30 and 31 May (2pm–5pm) at Hay Primary School, culminating in a performance on 31 May at 7pm. Scores may be purchased from Amazon. Voice part CDs are available from the Festival Office. The Hay Community Choir will be working on this exciting project weekly in the Parish Hall on Thursday evenings from 7.30pm if you wish to join in earlier.
This is a very exciting and innovative look at this choral classic and one that will bring a new dimension to your experience of this beautiful piece. The Hay Festival Chorus idea hopes to join together singers from a wide variety of abilities and traditions, bringing a new slant to standard works, in parallel with the Hay Festival’s approach to exploration and investigation of word and thought.
At a time when opinion trumps fact and truth is treated as nothing more than another perspective, free speech has become a battleground. While authoritarians and algorithms threaten democracy, we argue over who has the right to speak. The singer-songwriter and activist argues that, to protect ourselves from encroaching tyranny, we must look beyond this one-dimensional notion of what it means to be free and, by reconnecting liberty to equality and accountability, restore the individual agency engendered by the three dimensions of freedom.
In 1187, Saladin marched triumphantly into Jerusalem, ending decades of struggle against the Christians and reclaiming the holy city for Islam. Four years later he fought off the armies of the Third Crusade, which were commanded by Richard the Lionheart. A fierce warrior and savvy diplomat, Saladin’s unparalleled courtesy, justice, generosity and mercy were revered by both his fellow Muslims and his Christian rivals. Phillips offers a fresh and captivating look at the triumphs, failures and contradictions of one of the medieval world’s most influential figures. The Crusade historian looks at Saladin’s complicated legacy, examining the ways he has been invoked in the modern age by Arab and Muslim leaders ranging from Nasser in Egypt and al-Assad in Syria to Osama bin Laden.
A celebration of the brand-new, plant-based cookbook from the vegan superhero chefs. Do you want a quick weeknight supper that gets more veg into your diet? A show-stopping vegan Christmas dinner? A fun, fresh meal plan to set you up with plant-based packed lunches? Whatever you’re after, BISH BASH BOSH! has the perfect recipe. Henry and Ian have created a food revolution through the world’s biggest plant-based platform. BOSH! are on a mission to show the world just how versatile cooking with veg can be. Chaired by John Mitchinson.
How I Got Here sessions are in-conversation events where Hay Festival Youth Council members interview Hay Festival speakers. This session is with comedian, writer and broadcaster, Marcus Brigstocke. These sessions are programmed and delivered by young people for young people. Free for 16–25-year-olds who register at hayfestival.org/compass.
Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible? If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred and irrationality. Yet Pinker argues that this is an illusion – a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, more peaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous – not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: it’s the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us embrace without even realising it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress. The leading thinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe. We will never have a perfect world, but – defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction – we can continue to make it a better one.
Ian Robertson joined the BBC during the golden age of radio broadcasting. Almost half a century after being introduced to the rugby airwaves by his inspiring mentor Bill McLaren, the former Scotland fly-half looks back on the most eventful of careers, during which he covered nine British and Irish Lions tours and eight World Cups. ‘Robbo’ is one of the great storytellers, with a wealth of insight and anecdotes about the greats of the game and its many fans – including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Nelson Mandela. Sitting in a field in Wales, he might even be persuaded to venture some predictions for RWC in Japan.
The historian presents a lavish introduction to the Elizabethan aesthetic. Beginning with the great portrait of the Queen in grand procession with her Garter Knights, Strong explores chivalry, the changing structure of society, the complexities of imagery and heraldic symbols, and the richness of the Elizabethan imagination. Significantly, these paintings were personal commissions by private individuals and not for public viewing, so they speak volumes about the people who commissioned, painted and saw them. Strong was Director of the National Portrait Gallery 1967–1973 and of the Victoria & Albert Museum 1974–1984.
The Roundhouse Poetry Collective is a group of some of the most exciting young, emerging poets in the country. Previous collective members include Jack Rooke, Caleb Femi and Cecilia Knapp. The group meets weekly to create and experiment under guidance from lead tutors Bridget Minamore (a former Poetry Collective member herself) and Cecilia Knapp. The Poetry Collective performs a mix of heartfelt, funny and challenging material, which they tour across the UK. We are delighted to present a selection of poems from this year’s collective.
There is a move in the field of mental health to shift from asking the question “What’s wrong with you?” to “What’s happened to you?” in an attempt to place traumatic life experiences and adversity at the heart of understanding mental health difficulties. Dr Lucy Johnstone, Clinical Psychologist and one of the lead authors of a radical new conceptualisation of mental distress called the Power Threat Meaning Framework, joins co-author Professor John Cromby for a discussion with consultant clinical psychologist Benna Waites.
BAFTA and Perrier Award-winning comedian Dylan Moran brings his acclaimed show to Hay Festival. Moran will offer his unique take on love, politics, misery and the everyday absurdities of life, all served with poetical panache by one of the finest comedians of his generation. Moran has been called the Oscar Wilde of comedy, and his famed style – deadpan, witty and crackpot lyricism – promises to be an unmissable journey through his interpretations of the world, swerving cliché to offer a cutting blow to our idiosyncrasies. “Top-drawer stand-up from this master of the form” – Guardian.
Widely celebrated as one of the greatest poets of his generation, Zephaniah is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls ‘street politics’. His poetry, books and plays have captivated hearts and minds, fuelling imaginations and winning him a legion of fans all over the world. Though his music is lesser known, it is no less fervent. Created alongside his accomplished producer and collaborator The Sea, his Revolutionary Minds album is a deep selection of dub-reggae juggernauts, the essence and style of which fully reinforce the messages projected through Zephaniah’s powerful lyrics. He is one of the great performers of our age. He plays Hay with his band.
What is the potential of complex, ambiguous, wordless picture books and short films as springboards for children’s critical and creative discussions about the world and how we live together in it? Fiona Maine is a lecturer in literacy education at Cambridge University.
Horatio Clare, author of Something of His Art: Walking to Lübeck with JS Bach, The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal and Running for the Hills, will look at writers inspired by the Welsh border landscape including Coleridge, the Wordsworths, Bruce Chatwin and David Jones, and will explore what it means to walk in the footsteps of writers and walkers.
Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. There will be a bus journey to and from the walk location; return to Festival site by 1pm.