Our 2021 Digital Festival took place 26 May - 6th June, the programme is below.
Most of the events are now available in our online archive Hay Player - please see individual listings for more details.
A woman invites a famous artist to the remote coastal landscape where she lives. Powerfully drawn to his paintings, she believes his vision may penetrate the mystery at the centre of her life. But as a long, dry summer sets in, his provocative presence soon twists the human patterns of her secluded household. From the author of the Outline trilogy, this is a fable of female fate and male privilege, and one of unfathomable attractions. Sheila Heti's eight books of fiction and non-fiction have been translated into 22 languages.
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.
Samar Yazbek will be working with the interpreter Ibrahim Kadouni for this event.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Tony Blair served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007 - the only Labour leader in the party’s 100-year history to win three consecutive elections.
He helped secure the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 bringing peace to Northern Ireland and was a passionate advocate of an interventionist foreign policy, tripling the UK’s foreign aid to Africa, and introducing legislation to tackle climate change.
Since leaving office his work has focused on three areas: supporting governments to deliver effectively for their people, working for peace in the Middle East, and countering extremism through the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
On this 300th anniversary of the British PM, he reflects on his time in office, the role of the PM and the challenges facing leaders across the world. He talks to Alastair Campbell, best known for his role as Director of Communications and Strategy throughout his tenure.
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, Emma Rickett, Global Lifestyle Communications Manager of Rolls-Royce and Nina Plowman is managing partner at top PR agency Cultural Comms.
#artsandculture #politicsandhealth #society
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.
“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.
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.
In conversation with John Mitchinson, co-founder of Unbound and co-writer of the QI series of books.
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.