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 FiltersYou are viewing events filtered bySaturday 29 May 2021View All

Event HD1

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Supertato: Bubbly Troubly

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Join Sue and Paul in a sing-along event as they battle the Evil Pea and watch Supertato fly through the air. Take part in games and activities and dive into a new adventure.

3+ years

Event HD2

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Cressida Cowell

Wizard in the Woods

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Join the Children’s Laureate on location in Kingley Vale Woodland as she talks about the final book in her Wizards of Once series, Never and Forever, and one of the main inspirations behind the books: the magic of trees and woodland. Live Q&A follows.

7+ years

Event HD3

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

David Walliams in conversation with Judi Love

Code Name Bananas

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Join the author as he talks to comedian Judi Love about his career in children’s books. Hear what inspires his stories and about the inspiration behind his best-loved characters. Then listen to him reading from his books and ask the questions you've been longing to ask.

8+Family

Event 32

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

David Hockney and Martin Gayford

Spring Cannot Be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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On turning 80, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquillity for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the changing seasons; a place to enjoy simple pleasures, undisturbed and undistracted: "We have lost touch with nature rather foolishly as we are a part of it, not outside it". So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where he had set up a studio the previous year, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation. His book affirms the capacity of art to divert and inspire, based on a wealth of conversations and correspondence with Martin Gayford, his long-time collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new Normandy drawings and paintings, many previously unpublished. Martin Gayford is art critic of The Spectator. His books include A History of Pictures (with David Hockney) and Shaping the World: Sculpture from Pre-History to Now (with Antony Gormley).

Event 33

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Ray Mears talks to Yvonne Witter

We Are Nature

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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A journey of discovery through the natural world with the bushcraft and survival legend takes us into the British countryside and across continents, teaching us how to tune our senses, enhance our experience of nature, and understand our place within it. Guiding us through practical fieldcraft tips, Ray Mears explains how we can learn from the creatures with which we share the planet, from the stealth of the leopard to the patience of the crocodile, and even the colour-changing camouflage of the octopus.

In conversation with Yvonne Witter, Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion, leader of the Peak District Mosaic group and one of the BBC's Woman's Hour Power List 2020.

Event 34

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Jennifer Mathers

Lunchtime Lecture Series 3: Women and Leadership

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Would the world be different – and better – if more women occupied leadership positions? This controversial question is re-examined in the context of the global pandemic. Gender is part of the explanation for the stark contrast between the Covid experience of Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand and that of Donald Trump’s America. Some have argued that the 2008 Global Financial Crisis might have been mitigated if more women had been seated at he top tables of key financial institutions. But female leadership is still relatively rare, and the women who lead governments and organisations through crises are treated more harshly than their male counterparts.

Jennifer Mathers is a Senior Lecturer and former Head of the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University.

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

Event 35

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Anne Applebaum, introduced by Simon Schama

The Christopher Hitchens Lecture: Twilight of Democracy- Disinformation, Polarization and the Digital Future

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Instead of civic organizations, we join internet mobs. Instead of reasoned conversation, the voices of the angriest, most divisive participants are amplified. Rational voices are hard to hear; radicalization spreads quickly. Unsurprisingly, an internet controlled by a tiny number of secretive companies in Silicon Valley does not reflect democratic values of openness, accountability and respect for human rights. Instead, the current rules of online conversation are undermining our democracies. Why don’t we change them?

Pulitzer Prizewinning historian Anne Applebaum is author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University, New York.

Event 36

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Colin Tudge and Anne Karpf talk to Rosie Boycott

Re-Thinking the 21st Century

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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To avoid global collapse, we need to re-think everything we do and take for granted, from growing and cooking food, to the economy and methods of governance. It demands a Renaissance, a re-birth, and it must be driven and led by us, because the governments, corporations and financiers dominating the world have lost touch with the moral and ecological realities of life. The good news is, millions of grassroots initiatives the world over are already moving in the right direction.

This Renaissance needs to have at its heart, people who have traditionally been on the margins of business and politics – women. From New Orleans to Bangladesh, women, especially poor women of colour, are suffering most from a crisis they have done nothing to cause. Yet where, in environmental policy, are the voices of elderly European women dying in heatwaves? Of African girls dropping out of school due to drought? Our highest-profile climate activists are women and girls; but, at the top table, it’s men deciding the Earth’s future.

We’re not all in it together – but we could be. Anne Karpf makes the case for visionary, global climate policies that are gender-inclusive and promote gender equality.

Anne Karpf, sociologist, journalist and author of How Women can Save the Planet and Colin Tudge, biologist, broadcaster and author of The Great Re-Think: A 21st Century Renaissance talk to journalist Rosie Boycott.

Event 37

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Deborah Levy talks to Lisa Appignanesi

Real Estate

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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The final instalment of Levy's 'Living Autobiography' series is a thought-provoking and intimate meditation on home and the spectres that haunt it. With her characteristic wit and acute insights, she crafts a searing examination of womanhood and ownership. Her possessions, real and imagined, push us as readers to question our cultural understanding of belonging and belongings and to consider the value of a woman's intellectual and personal life. Blending personal history, gender politics, philosophy, and literary theory, Real Estate is a compulsively readable narrative. Lisa Appignanesi is a writer, Chair of the Royal Society of Literature and a former president of English PEN.

Event 38

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Andria Zafirakou talks to Marcus Brigstocke

Those Who Can, Teach: What it Takes to Make the Next Generation

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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This arts teacher was always a rule-breaker. At her school where more than 30 languages were spoken, she sensed urgent needs: mending uniforms, calling social services, shielding vulnerable teens from gangs. And she tailored each class to its pupils, fiercely believing in the power of art to unlock trauma, or give a mute child the confidence to speak. Time and again, she would be proved right. In 2018, when Andria won the million-dollar Global Teacher Prize, she knew exactly where the money would go: back into arts education for all, because she believes the UK government's cuts and curriculum changes are destroying the arts, while its refusal to tackle the threats of cyber-bullying, gang violence, hunger and deprivation puts teachers on the safeguarding frontline.

Event 39

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Peter Scott-Morgan talks to Stephen Fry

Peter 2.0: The Human Cyborg

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Peter, a brilliant scientist, is told he will lose everything he loves – his husband, family, friends. He has Motor Neurone Disease, a condition universally considered to be terminal. He is told it will destroy his nerve cells and that within two years, it will take his life, too. But face-to-face with death, he decides there is another way and using science and technology, he navigates a new path that will enable him not just to survive, but to thrive. This is true story about the first person to combine his very humanity with artificial intelligence and robotics to become a full Cyborg. His discovery means that his terminal diagnosis is negotiable, something that will rewrite the future. By embracing love, life and hope rather than fear, tragedy and despair he will become Peter 2.0.

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

Event 40

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Malcolm Gladwell

The Bomber Mafia: A Story set in War

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Before the Second World War, at a sleepy Air Force base in central Alabama, a group of renegade pilots puts forth a radical idea. What if we made bombing so accurate that wars could be fought entirely from the air? And if we could make the brutal clashes between armies on the ground a thing of the past? This book tells the story of what happened when that dream was put to the test, following the stories of a reclusive Dutch genius and his homemade computer, Winston Churchill's forbidding best friend, a team of pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard, a brilliant pilot who sang vaudeville tunes to his crew, and the bomber commander, Curtis Emerson LeMay, who would order the bloodiest attack of the Second World War.

Event 41

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Mel Giedroyc talks to Andy Bush

The Best Things

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Have you ever felt as if you’re losing your grip? Then you'll love Sally Parker, who's struggling to find the hero inside herself, when all she really wants to do is lie down. Her husband Frank has lost his business, their home and their savings. Their bank cards have been declined. The children have gone feral. And now the bailiffs are at the door. What does an ordinary woman do when the bottom falls out of her world? This is a life-affirming tale of failing, falling, and finding a way back up, from the comedian, actress and TV presenter.

Andy Bush is a writer, illustrator and broadcaster on Absolute Radio.

Event 42

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Tom Allen and Pippa Evans talk to Marcus Brigstocke

Three Funny People, Two Funny Books

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Tom Allen's No Shame is a candid and emotional ride of a memoir. The working-class son of a coach driver, and the youngest member of the Noël Coward Society, the author grew up in '90s suburbia as the eternal outsider. He writes with caustic wit about his childhood, adolescence, the family he still lives with, and his attempts to come out and negotiate the gay dating scene.

Pippa Evans is an expert at saying Yes – and No. She's a master of thinking on her feet, but has also had to learn how to go with the flow. In her book Improv Your Life she's passing on everything she's learned from her career as both a performer and teacher, so that you can take centre-stage in your life. By passing on fun exercises you can practise at home, she aims to help you reach your full potential.

The two share laughs with the comedian and satirist Marcus Brigstocke.

Event 43

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Caleb Azumah Nelson talks to Candice Brathwaite

10@10: New writers – Open Water

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Two young people meet at a pub in south-east London. Both are black British and won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong. Both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence. Both a love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, the book asks what it means to be seen only as a black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength. Caleb talks to the author of I Am Not Your Baby Mother. Candice's new book Sista Sister is published in July.

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

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