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.
Join the farmer/author/broadcaster on a tour of his Cotswold farm. Did you know that a shearer can shear 200 sheep in a day? Or that robots can milk cows? Animal lovers and budding farmers can learn where food comes from, peek inside a combine harvester, and discover incredible facts about farm animals.
Lose yourself in a broken England of the future, where gunfights and monsters collide. Learn how the writer draws his landscapes and creates his witty characters. Then find out what adventures await in his latest book.
Join the legendary poet and author to talk about his latest book, a novel for children reflecting on the experiences of the Windrush Generation in the UK.
Whether seeking knowledge, riches, or a better life, the characters in Jo Lloyd's debut collection, The Earth, Thy Great Exchequer, Ready Lies, are united by a quest for lasting value, as they ask how we should treat our world, our work, our selves, and each other. The stories are lyrical, compassionate, full of wit and truth.
Many Rivers to Cross by Dylan Moore traces a series of migrations, from Wales to Calais, and from Ethiopia to Lampedusa. Aman is a failed asylum seeker, David a journalist, Jasmine is a sex worker, Mike is a lorry driver, Claudie is a churchgoer, Selam is a single mother, Solomon a refugee. And Gareth is dead. When Aman goes missing, presumed drowned in the river Usk in Wales, David embarks on an unexpected journey, ending face down in the dust of Addis Ababa. When Mike crosses the Channel, unaware of four men stowed in the back of his lorry, he has no idea Solomon will turn up at his local pub. And when Selam feels the first flutter of life inside her, she could not begin to imagine her daughter flying high – a poet-princess of their strange new homeland. The author is a former Hay Festival International Fellow.
The Wolfson History Prize is the UK’s most prestigious history writing prize, recognising outstanding works of historical non-fiction and awarded annually to a work that combines excellent research and readability for a general audience. £40,000 is awarded to the winner, with each shortlisted author receiving £4,000.
Previous winners include Mary Beard, Simon Schama, Eric J. Hobsbawm, Amanda Vickery, Antony Beevor, Christopher Bayly, Antonia Fraser, Mary Fulbrook and David Abulafia.
The books shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2021 are:
• Survivors: Children’s Lives after the Holocaust by Rebecca Clifford
• Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh
• Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe by Judith Herrin
• Double Lives: A History of Working Motherhood by Helen McCarthy
• Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack by Richard Ovenden
• Atlantic Wars: From the Fifteenth Century to the Age of Revolution by Geoffrey Plank
The winner will be announced on 9 June.
The shortlisted authors for this year’s Prize will join previous winner, Professor Amanda Vickery, to discuss their books and historical writing today.
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout progresses, many of us are feeling cautiously optimistic about the future, tempered by an awareness of the social and economic devastation wrought by the pandemic. What could the new normal look like? Past mistakes, current initiatives and bold imaginative visions of the future are considered by the environmentalist, and diverse approaches explored
to learn how a reset could work for everyone – and other species – in the wider environment. Dr Siobhan Maderson is an ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University.
From the seemingly familiar tomato and dandelion to the eerie mandrake and Spanish ‘moss’ of Louisiana, via the early histories of beer and the contraceptive pill, we delve into the fascinating science of plants and how their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. Jonathan Drori is an author, scientist and executive TV producer. His previous book was Around the World in 80 Trees.
We hear a lot about reaching Net Zero on carbon emissions but what does that look like for the average person? Is reaching Net Zero by 2050 achievable and how will it change the way we live, work and play? How will we heat our houses, travel to work and feed ourselves in a Net Zero world? This is your chance to quiz two experts on the likely scenarios. Emily Shuckburgh is a climate scientist, mathematician and science communicator. She is Director of Cambridge Zero, the University of Cambridge’s climate change initiative. Owen Hewlett is Chief Technical Officer at The Gold Standard Foundation, responsible for key innovations in carbon markets, climate finance and corporate reporting. Andy Fryers is Hay Festival Sustainability Director.
From the author of The Mothers, this follows the parallel lives of estranged twin sisters who choose to live in two contrasting worlds – one black and one white. The Vignes twins are identical but after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age 16, everything is different for them as adults: their families, communities, and racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' story lines intersect? Looking beyond issues of race, the book considers the lasting influence of the past on a person's decisions, desires, and expectations. Bennett talks to Arifa Akbar, the author of Consumed: A Sister's Story.
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.