Hay Festival 2019 Programme

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Event 339

Ma Jian and Sjón talk to Daniel Hahn

Fictions: The Big Picture

Venue: Starlight Stage
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A conversation with two international superstar novelists who’ve created new works of extraordinary scale and scope. From exile, Ma Jian shoots an arrow at President Xi Jinping’s China Dream propaganda, creating a biting satire of totalitarianism that reveals what happens to a nation when it is blinded by materialism and governed by violence and lies. Sjón’s Codex 1962 is a breathtakingly ambitious novel. As the late, great Eileen Battersby wrote of him, the Icelandic writer “has mastered the fabulist’s technique of merging history with high-speed comedy and surreal profundity. With a man made of clay and a bewildered angel struggling to get rid of a symbolic trumpet, there are shades of the Bible as well as Milton. Sjón, an heir of Mikhail Bulgakov and Laurence Sterne, eases literary references into the text as mere suggestions.” 

Price: £8.00
 
 

Event 402

Writing Radio Drama

Workshop

Venue: Scribblers Hut
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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.

18+
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Writing Radio Drama

Event HD78

Jacqueline Wilson

Dancing the Charleston

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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Join bestselling Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who introduces her gloriously atmospheric new book and discusses how she created some of her best-loved characters including Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. Please note that there will be no book signing after the talk, but printed bookplates with Jacqueline’s signature on will be available from the Bookshop.

9+
Price: £10.00
 
 

Event W107

Foraged Art Workshop 15

Rooted Forest Schools

Venue: Wild Garden
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Come and join Rooted Forest School (rootedforestschool.co.uk) for an outdoor family session inspired by the Forest School approach. We will be making charcoal on the fire, using natural pigments to create our own paint, making brushes from found materials and creating communal land art. These sessions are aimed at families and will run whatever the weather, so make sure you’re wrapped up for the conditions.

9–11
Parents may attend but don’t require a ticket
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Foraged Art Workshop 15

Event 341

Ian McEwan talks to Marcus du Sautoy

Fictions: Machines Like Me

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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McEwan’s new novel Machines Like Me takes place in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses the fundamental question: what makes us human? Du Sautoy’s new book is The Creativity Code: How AI is learning to write, paint and think.

Price: £10.00
 
 

Event 342

Kathryn Mannix talks to Stephanie Boland

With the End in Mind: How to Live and Die Well

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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Mannix has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. Told through a series of beautifully crafted stories taken from nearly four decades of clinical practice, she answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. She makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation but with openness, clarity and understanding. You will meet Holly, who danced her last day away; Eric, the retired head teacher who, even with motor neurone disease, gets things done; loving, tender-hearted Nelly and Joe, each living a lonely lie to save their beloved from distress; and Sylvie, 19, dying of leukaemia, sewing a cushion for her mum to hug by the fire after she has died.
Boland is head of Digital at Prospect magazine.

Price: £9.00
 
 
Kathryn Mannix talks to Stephanie Boland

Event 343

François-Xavier Fauvelle talks to Georgina Godwin

The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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From the birth of Islam in the 7th century to the voyages of European exploration in the 15th, Africa was at the centre of a vibrant exchange of goods and ideas. It was an African golden age in which places like Mali, Ghana, Nubia and Zimbabwe became the crossroads of civilisations, and where African royals, thinkers and artists played celebrated roles in the globalised world of the Middle Ages.

Price: £9.00
 
 
François-Xavier Fauvelle talks to Georgina Godwin

Event 344

Michael Pollan talks to Katya Adler

How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics

Venue: Hay Festival Foundation Stage
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Could psychedelic drugs change our worldview? Join Michael Pollan on a journey to the frontiers of the human mind. Diving deep into an extraordinary world – from shamans and magic mushroom hunts to the pioneering labs mapping our brains – and putting himself forward as a guinea pig, Michael Pollan has written a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinated by the implications of these drugs. How To Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of consciousness.

Price: £8.00
 
 

Event 408

Hay Festival Youth Council

How I Got Here

Venue: Compass Studio
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How I Got Here sessions are in-conversation events where Hay Festival Youth Council members interview Hay Festival speakers (speakers will be chalkboarded at the venue and updated on #HAYCOMPASS). These sessions are programmed and delivered by young people for young people. Free for 16–25-year-olds who register at hayfestival.org/compass.

Price: £7.00
 
 
Hay Festival Youth Council

Event HD79

Katherine Rundell

The Good Thieves and Into the Jungle

Venue: Starlight Stage
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Katherine Rundell discusses her two most recent titles: The Good Thieves, the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong, and Into the Jungle, a collection of beautifully imagined stories about the origins of the animals in Rudyard Kipling’s classic Just So Stories.

9+
Price: £8.00
 
 

Event W110

Foraged Art Workshop 16

Rooted Forest Schools

Venue: Wild Garden
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Come and join Rooted Forest School (rootedforestschool.co.uk) for an outdoor family session inspired by the Forest School approach. We will be making charcoal on the fire, using natural pigments to create our own paint, making brushes from found materials and creating communal land art. These sessions are aimed at families and will run whatever the weather, so make sure you’re wrapped up for the conditions.

4–6
Parents must attend but don’t require a ticket
Price: £10.00
 
 
Foraged Art Workshop 16

Event 345

Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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The world is messing with our minds. Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? How do we stay human in a technological world? How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious? After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.

Price: £10.00
 
 
Matt Haig

Event 346

Marcus du Sautoy

The Creativity Code: How AI is Learning to Write, Paint and Think

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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The mathematician examines the nature of creativity and provides an essential guide into how algorithms work, and the mathematical rules underpinning them. He asks how much of our emotional response to art is a product of our brains reacting to pattern and structure, and exactly what it is to be creative in mathematics, art, language and music. Du Sautoy finds out how long it might be before machines come up with something creative, and whether they might jolt us into being more imaginative in turn. The result is a fascinating and very different exploration into both AI and the essence of what it means to be human.

Price: £10.00
 
 
Marcus du Sautoy

Event 347

Leila Slimani talks to Philippe Sands

A Conversation

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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Leïla Slimani is the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, which she won for the shocking thriller and global best-seller, Lullaby. She discusses her work and her new novel Adèle with the Anglo-French author of East West Street, winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, Slimani is Presidents Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. 

Price: £10.00
 
 
Leila Slimani talks to Philippe Sands

Event 348

Simon Reid-Henry

Empire of Democracy: The Remaking of the West Since the Cold War 1971–2017

Venue: Hay Festival Foundation Stage
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The historian shows how liberal democracy, and Western history with it, was profoundly reimagined when the post-war Golden Age ended. As the institutions of liberal rule were reinvented, a new generation of politicians emerged: Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, Kohl. The late 20th-century heyday they oversaw carried the Western democracies triumphantly to victory in the Cold War and into the economic boom of the 1990s. But equally it led them into the fiasco of Iraq, to the high drama of the financial crisis in 2007/8, and ultimately to the anti-liberal surge of our own times. The present crisis of liberalism enjoins us to revisit these times with close attention. The era we have all been living through is closing out; democracy is turning on its axis once again. Chaired by Katya Adler.

Price: £10.00
 
 

Event 349

Fariha Shaikh

19th-century Emigration in British Literature and Art

Venue: Compass Studio
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The explosion of settler emigration during the 19th century to colonies in Canada, Australia and New Zealand was supported and underpinned by a vast outpouring of text including printed emigrants’ letters, manuscript shipboard newspapers and settler fiction. These textual cultures pervaded the cultural imagination of 19th century authors such as Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Catherine Helen Spence and Ford Madox Brown, and provided new means of interrogating representations of space and place, home-making and colonial encounters. Fariha Shaikh is Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Birmingham.

Price: £8.00
 
 
Fariha Shaikh

Event 350

Emily Maitlis talks to Hannah MacInnes

Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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The Newsnight presenter takes us behind the camera and onto the newsroom floor: “The things that are said on camera are only part of the story. Behind every interview there is a backstory. How it came about. How it ended. The compromises that were made. The regrets, the rows, the deeply inappropriate comedy. Making news is an essential but imperfect art. It rarely goes according to plan.

I never expected to find myself wandering around the Maharani of Jaipur’s bedroom with Bill Clinton or invited to the Miss USA beauty pageant by its owner, Donald Trump. I never expected to be thrown into a provincial Cuban jail, or to be drinking red wine at Steve Bannon’s kitchen table or spend three hours in a lift with Alan Partridge. I certainly didn’t expect the Dalai Lama to tell me the story of his most memorable poo. 

The beauty of television is its ability to simplify. That’s also its weakness: it can distil everything down to one snapshot, one sound bite. Then the news cycle moves on.”

Price: £10.00
 
 
Emily Maitlis talks to Hannah MacInnes

Event 351

Noel Malcolm

Useful Enemies: Islam and The Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450–1750

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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From the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 18th century, many Western European writers viewed the Ottoman Empire with almost obsessive interest. Typically, they reacted to it with fear and distrust; and such feelings were reinforced by the deep hostility of Western Christendom towards Islam. Yet there was also much curiosity about the social and political system on which the huge power of the sultans was based. In the 16th century, especially, when Ottoman territorial expansion was rapid and Ottoman institutions seemed particularly robust, there was even open admiration. Chaired by Tom Clark of Prospect magazine.

Price: £8.00
 
 

Event 352

Javier Cercas talks to Daniel Hahn

Fictions: Lord of All the Dead

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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Soldiers of Salamis cemented Cercas’ reputation as one of the world’s greatest novelists. His new book is a courageous journey into his own family history and that of a country collapsing from a fratricidal war. The author revisits Ibahernando, his parents’ village in southern Spain, to research the life of Manuel Mena. This ancestor, dearly loved by Cercas’ mother, died in combat at the age of nineteen during the battle of the Ebro, the bloodiest episode in Spain’s history. Who was Manuel Mena? A fascist hero whose memory is an embarrassment to the author, or a young idealist who happened to fight on the wrong side? And how should we judge him, as grandchildren and great-grandchildren of that generation, interpreting history from our supposed omniscience and the misleading perspective of a present full of automatic answers, which fails to consider the particularities of each personal and family drama?

Price: £8.00
 
 

Event 353

Ben Goldfarb talks to Andy Fryers

Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

Venue: Starlight Stage
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In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of ‘Beaver Believers’ – including scientists, ranchers and passionate citizens – recognises that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish Highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Ben Goldfarb is an environmental journalist and Eager has won the 2019 Pen/EO Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing.

Price: £8.00
 
 
Ben Goldfarb talks to Andy Fryers

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