Hay Festival 2021

We are delighted to present our 2021 Digital Festival programme.

Find more information on how to register here. Most events will be available for free replay for up to 24 hours after the start time of the event. After this they will be available in our online archive Hay Player - please see individual listings for more details.

All events are available with subtitles – this option can be selected when you watch the event.

Event 87

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro and Samar Yazbek talk to Philippe Sands

Writing with Courage

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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2021 marks the centenary of English PEN, the organisation that promotes the freedom to write and to read. Mexican journalist and activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro and Syrian journalist and author Samar Yazbek are both winners of the PEN Pinter Prize for an International Writer of Courage. They talk to the English PEN president and international human rights lawyer Philippe Sands about the vital role of free expression in speaking truth to power.

Event 88

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Anna Jones talks to Stanley Tucci

One: Pot, Pan, Planet

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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One brings together a way of eating that is mindful of the planet with practical advice and detailing how every small change in planning, shopping and reducing waste makes a difference. With dozens of inventive and varied ideas for super-quick vegetarian and vegan irresistible dishes, you can travel the world guilt-free in these pages. Try Persian noodle soup, Korean carrot and sesame pancakes, African peanut stew, baked dahl with tamarind-glazed sweet potato, followed by halloumi, mint, lemon and caramelised onion pie. Anna also helps you to reduce waste, use leftovers and go plastic-free. She talks to Stanley Tucci, writer, producer and author of The Tucci Cookbook.

Event 89

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Jessie and Paul Greengrass

Fiction and film: the creative process

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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The author of An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to one who saw it, talks about her novel, The High House, to her uncle, the film director, producer, and screenwriter Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, United 93 and the Bourne series). They discuss apocalyptic books and films, compare their individual creative processes and ask, how do ideas translate to the big screen? What are the influences on their recent work?

Event 90

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Emma Gregg and Nick Hunt in conversation

Travel the world and save the planet

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Emma Gregg shows you how to get a no-fly holiday off the ground in The Flightless Traveller with 50 life-affirming trip ideas for those who would like to fly less, or not at all. City breaks and coastal retreats, bike rides and sailing voyages, vintage railways jaunts and intercontinental journeys are all within reach. Best of all, they make the journey an essential part of the adventure.

In Outlandish, Nick Hunt takes us across landscapes that should not logically be there, wildernesses in Europe that belong to far-flung places: a patch of Arctic tundra in Scotland, the continent’s largest surviving remnant of primeval forest in Poland and Belarus, Europe’s only true desert in Spain; and the fathomless grassland steppes of Hungary.

Event 91

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Rebecca Watson talks to Thea Lenarduzzi

10@10: New writers – little scratch

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Rebecca Watson's book traces a day in the life of an unnamed woman, living in a world of demarcated fridge shelves and office politics, clock-watching and WhatsApp communication. Underneath this monotony, at every minute along the way, ideas about sex, violence, survival and comedy intertwine. Fearless and playful, the book explores how our minds function in – and survive – the darkest moments.

Thea Lenarduzzi is a commissioning editor at the Times Literary Supplement.

There will be no Q&A at the end of this event.

Event HD16

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Rob Biddulph

Draw With Rob

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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The author, illustrator and draw-along genius is thrilled to be back at Hay. Find out about his career from young illustrator to picture book creator and Guinness World Record holder for the largest online art lesson during lockdown, when 45,611 participants drew a whale with him.

3+

Event HD17

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Michelle Paver

Skin Taker

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Run wild with this author as she introduces you to the latest book in her Wolf Brother series. Set in a Stone Age world, it invites you to rejoin Torak, Renn and Wolf for a non-stop adventure where the clans are tested like never before, as they battle to find ways to survive and thrive in the forest.

9+

Event HD18

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Angie Thomas talks to Jenny Valentine

The Hate U Give and Concrete Rose

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Thomas’ internationally acclaimed debut novel The Hate U Give was adapted for the big screen. Find out how this was achieved and discover more about the world of Garden Heights in her new novel. Jenny Valentine's latest book is A Girl Called Joy.

12+

Event 92

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Lucy Jones talks to Andy Fryers

Why Our Minds Need the Wild

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Do humans need the tonic of the wild to be happy? There is more and more evidence that we are dependent on nature’s goods and services, not just to stay alive physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually, too. In Losing Eden, the author and journalistexplains the latest research in human biology, neuroscience and psychology and discovers new ways of understanding our dysfunctional relationship with the Earth.

Andy Fryers is Hay Festival Sustainability Director.

Event 93

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Vince Cable talks to Grace Blakeley

Money and Power

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Through economics, our politicians have the power to transform people's lives for better or worse. Deng Xiaoping lifted millions out of poverty by opening up China, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal helped the USA break free from the Great Depression, and Peron and his successors in Argentina brought the country to the brink of ruin. The economist and politician examines the legacy of 16 world leaders who transformed their countries' economic fortunes, and also challenged convention. From Thatcher to Trump, Lenin to Bismarck, this book offers a new perspective on the science of government over the past 300 years. He talks to Grace Blakeley, political and economic commentator and author of The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic will Change Capitalism.

Part of the Festival’s PM300 series marking 300 years since the UK’s first Prime Minister with conversations on leadership and the future of democracy.

Event 94

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Rebecca Ruth Gould and Kayvan Tahmasebian

Lunchtime Lecture Series 8: Translation as a Form of Activism

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Translation is an act of activism that enables readers and citizens to think differently about power. Yet every translator understands their activism differently. What are translators’ roles in bringing about social change? How is transnational activism shaped by class, race, and geography, be it the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, East Asia, the US or Europe?

Rebecca Ruth Gould is a writer, translator, and Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Literature; Kayvan Tahmasebian is an Iranian poet, translator, critic, andMarie-Curie Research Fellow; both at University of Birmingham. They are co-editors of The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism and co-authors of a forthcoming book on translation as activism.

This event will be pre-recorded but the speakers will be live on the chat to answer questions during the event, and for 15 minutes afterwards.

Event 95

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Lemn Sissay presents... Maaza Mengiste and Aida Edemariam

Who is telling the story?

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Both Maaza Mengiste's Booker Prize-shortlisted novel The Shadow King and Aida Edemariam's Ondaatje Prize-winning biography of her grandmother, The Wife's Tale, approach the history of 20th-century Ethiopia through female protagonists. How does this change what is seen, what is heard, and what, in the end, lasts?

There will be no Q&A at the end of this event

Event 96

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Tahmima Anam talks to Georgina Godwin

The Startup Wife

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Halfway through her PhD and already dreaming of running her own lab, computer scientist Asha has her future mapped out. Then a chance meeting and whirlwind romance with her old high-school crush, Cyrus, changes everything. Dreaming big, they come up with a revolutionary idea: to build a social networking app that could bring meaning to millions of lives. While Asha creates an ingenious algorithm, Cyrus’ charismatic appeal throws him into the spotlight. When the app becomes the next big thing, Asha should be happy, but decisions are being made without her and she feels invisible in the boardroom of her own company? The author talks to writer and broadcaster Georgina Godwin.

Event 98

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Neil Mendoza, Nina Plowman and Iwona Blazwick talk to Ed Vaizey

Your Culture Needs You!

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Ed Vaizey, former Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, leads a discussion on how our luxury brands can support our culture and its institutions in a time of crisis. On the panel is Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal and Provost of Oriel College, Oxford University, Iwona Blazwick from The Whitechapel Gallery, and Nina Plowman is managing partner at top PR agency Cultural Comms.

#artsandculture #politicsandhealth #society

Event 99

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Isabel Allende in conversation with Sophie Hughes

Hay Festival Digital Querétaro presents: The Soul of a Woman

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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The great Chilean writer discusses her lifelong feminism and hard-won life lessons – "When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating". Her new book is a wise, warm, defiant manifesto, in which she calls for the need to live one’s old age to the full: "My story is told in every year I have lived and every wrinkle I have”. She talks to translator and editor Sophie Hughes.

Event 100

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Noam Chomsky talks to Gary Younge

Consequences of Capitalism

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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“Covid-19 has revealed glaring failures and monstrous brutalities in the current capitalist system. It represents both a crisis and an opportunity. Everything depends on the actions that people take into their own hands.”

How does politics shape our world, our lives and our perceptions? How much of 'common sense' is actually driven by the ruling classes' needs and interests? And how are we to challenge the capitalist structures that now threaten all life on the planet? Consequences of Capitalism exposes the deep, often unseen connections between neoliberal 'common sense' and structural power. In making these linkages, we see how the current hegemony keeps social justice movements divided and marginalized. And, most importantly, we see how we can fight to overcome these divisions.

Event 101

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Diane Cook and Imbolo Mbue

The New Wilderness and How Beautiful We Were

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Two authors explore a future affected by environmental exploitation. In Diane Cook's novel, a lament for our alienation from nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood, Bea's five-year-old daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away. The smog and pollution of the over-developed, over-populated metropolis they call home is ravaging her lungs. Bea knows she cannot stay in the city, but there is only one alternative:The New Wilderness.

Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were, set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation imposed by an American oil company. Told through the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula, it explores what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, confronts one community’s determination to preserve its ancestral land.

Imbolo Mbue's Behold the Dreamers won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Diane Cook's collection of short stories, Man v. Nature, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the L.A. Times Book Prize.

Event 102

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Sam Lee talks to Leah Borromeo

The Nightingale

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Imagine yourself in the forest, sit by the fire and listen to the intoxicating song of the nightingale. Every year, as darkness falls in the woods, this mysterious bird heralds the arrival of spring. Throughout history, its sweet song has inspired musicians, writers and artists around the world, from Germany, France and Italy to Greece, Ukraine and Korea. The conservationist, musician and folk expert reveals in beautiful detail the bird's song, habitat, characteristics and migration patterns, as well as the environmental issues that threaten its livelihood. Join us for a spell-binding blend of chat and music.
Leah Borromeo is a journalist, filmmaker and co-founder of Disobedient films.

Event 103

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Natasha Brown talks to Meena Kandasamy

10@10: New writers – Assembly

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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The book's narrator is a black British woman preparing to attend a lavish garden party at her boyfriend's family estate in the English countryside. At the same time, she is considering the carefully assembled pieces of herself. As the minutes tick down and the future beckons, she can't escape the question: is it time to take it all apart? This is about the stories we live within – of race and class, safety and freedom, winners and losers. And it is about one woman daring to take control of her own story, even at the cost of her life. "Assembly is illuminating on everything from microaggressions in the workplace, to the reality of living in the 'hostile environment', to the legacy of British colonialism." – Observer

Meena Kandasamy is an Indian poet, fiction writer, translator and activist.

There will be no Q&A at the end of this event.

Event HD19

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Pamela Butchart

The Broken Leg of Doom

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Come quick, there’s been a disaster! A session of extreme dancing has left Maisie in hospital with a broken leg and things are taking a real turn for the weird. Join the Blue Peter Award-winning author for some seriously silly stories, cuddly toys and tuna sandwiches (yuck!). Could Maisie’s leg be cursed? If it is, and it definitely is, then everything is doomed.

5+

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