Hay Festival 2021

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.

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Event HD25

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Jessica Love and Mama G

Julian at the Wedding

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Julian is off to a wedding and you’re invited, too. Enjoy a reading by the creator of Julian Is A Mermaid and Julian at the Wedding, then help Mama G get all glammed up and ready to be the most gorgeous wedding guest in town.

3+
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Event HD26

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Liz Pichon

Ten Tremendous Tales

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Join the brilliant author/illustrator of the Tom Gates series as she introduces her latest book with live drawing and plenty of jokes and tricks along the way. Pichon's books have been translated into 41 languages worldwide.

7+
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Event HD27

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Michael Morpurgo

The Puffin Keeper

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Joining from the island of Bryher in the Scillies, the setting for many of his books, the author talks to Julia Eccleshare about his new book, published to celebrate 80 years of Puffin Books and inspired by his father-in-law, Allen Lane, founder of Penguin. This is a magical story about how one stormy night changed a whole life. Julia Eccleshare is Children's Director at Hay Festival.

8+, Family
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Event 128

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Joe Wicks talks to David and Stephen Flynn

Joe’s Family Food

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Spending quality time with the people we love around the dinner table brings us so much happiness. But when we’re busy, tired and have a million other things to do, it can be hard to motivate ourselves to get in the kitchen and cook wonderful food. But fitness coach Joe Wicks has done the hard work for you, with 100 simple, healthy, delicious recipes the whole family will love. He is joined by the Happy Pear twins whose latest book The Happy Health Plan brings you 90 brand new, mouth-watering recipes that have been specially designed with medical experts to help you took after your whole body health, inside and out.

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Event 129

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Simon Armitage talks to Natalie Haynes

Magnetic Field and A Vertical Art

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Growing up in Marsden in West Yorkshire, the Poet Laureate always associated his early poetic experiences with the night-time view from his bedroom window – those 'private, moonstruck observations' and the clockwork comings and goings in the village providing rich subject matter for his first poems. Decades on, that window continues to operate as both framework and focal point for the writing, the vastness of the surrounding moors always at his shoulder forming a constant psychological backdrop. Magnetic Fieldbrings together his Marsden poems, from his very first pamphlet to new work from a forthcoming collection. It offers his perspective on a locality he describes as 'transcendent and transgressive', a unique region forming a frontier territory between many different worlds.

A Vertical Art gathers together the poet's spirited public lectures delivered during his four-year tenure as Oxford University Professor of Poetry. Armitage tries to identify a 'common sense' approach to an art form that can lend itself to grand statements and vacuous gestures, questioning both the facile and obscure ends of the poetry spectrum. He asserts fundamental qualities that separate the genre from prose and song lyrics, examining who poetry is written for and its value today.

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Event 130

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Karen Harvey

Lunchtime Lecture Series 11: The Imposteress Rabbit Breeder

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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In October 1726, newspapers reported that in the town of Godalming, Surrey, a woman called Mary Toft had started to give birth to rabbits. Several leading doctors, some sent directly by King George I, travelled to examine the woman who was then moved to London to be closer to them. By December, she had been accused of fraud and taken into custody. The case caused a media sensation, prompting public curiosity but also a vicious backlash. The author uses archival research to explore the motivations of the medics who examined her, the role of the women who remained close to Mary Toft, and the reasons the case attracted the attention of the King and his government.

Karen Harvey is Professor of Cultural History at University of Birmingham.

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.
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Event 131

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Gordon Brown, introduced by Hugh Muir

The Raymond Williams Lecture: Seven Ways to Change the World

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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When Covid swept across the globe, the impact was arguably greater than the aftermath of 9/11 or the global financial crisis. But out of catastrophe can come a new way of thinking.Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown offers his solutions to the challenges we face in 2021 and beyond, outlining seven challenges: global health, climate change, nuclear proliferation, global financial instability, the humanitarian crisis and global poverty, the barriers to education and opportunity, and global inequality and global tax havens.None of these can be solved by one nation acting on its own, but all can be addressed if we work together as a global community.

Hugh Muir is Senior Assistant Editor at the Guardian

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Event 132

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Suzette Llewellyn, Suzanne Packer and guests talk to Colin Jackson

Still Breathing: 100 Black Voices on Racism – 100 Ways to Change the Narrative

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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"I'm empowered, exhausted, devastated, and exhilarated in equal measure.” A young woman in Britain today describes her feelings about the protests following the murder of George Floyd. Her sisters and brothers across Britain and her borders, share the same emotions. How has each been jolted by racism and Empire?

Following a cast of 100 voices across Britain and gathering strength from the wider Pan African community, this book reveals both hopes and frustrations. Whether actress, poet, shopkeeper, MP, Dame or doctor, each voice starts a hopeful new conversation about racism in Britain. Each lived experience adds to a colourful tapestry of optimism so that future generations can pause, take stock and keep breathing. The book's contributors include David Lammy, Beverly Knight, Pat Younge, Dawn Butler, Bishop Rose, Shaun Bailey, Arthur Torrington, Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Jason Penny Cooke and Fiona Compston.

Suzette Llewellyn has acted in Fearless, Holby City and EastEnders.Suzanne Packer is known for her roles in Casualty, Death In Paradise and Doctor Who. She is the sister of athlete and Strictlystar, Colin Jackson.

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Event 133

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

David Lammy, Philippe Sands and Jojo Mehta

Ecocide

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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In December 2019, at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, a radical suggestion was made by the Vanuatu ambassador (formerly New Hebrides) to the EU: make the destruction of the environment a crime. Ecocide literally means 'killing the environment' and proposal was that no one should go unpunished for destroying the natural world. By making Ecocide a crime, the perpetrators of environmental destruction would be liable to prosecution and imprisonment. But how to create a clear and legally robust definition, and build the support required across the globe? Join the discussion with David Lammy MP, UK Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and author of Tribes, Philippe Sands QC, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals at University College London and author of The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive. Jojo Mehta is Co-Founder & Executive Director of Stop Ecocide International & Chair of the Stop Ecocide Foundation.

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Event 134

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Lionel Shriver talks to Georgina Godwin

Should We Stay or Should We Go

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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When her father dies, Kay Wilkinson can’t cry. Over ten years, Alzheimer’s had steadily eroded this erudite man. But surely one’s own father passing should never come as such a relief?

Both healthy and vital medical professionals in their early fifties, Kay and her husband Cyril have seen too many of their elderly NHS patients in similar states of decay. Determined to die with dignity, Cyril makes a modest proposal: they should agree to commit suicide together once they’ve both turned 80. When their deal is sealed in 1991, the spouses are blithely looking forward to another three decades together. But then they turn eighty. By turns hilarious and touching, playful and grave, Should We Stay or Should We Goportrays 12 parallel universes, each one a possible future for Kay and Cyril, from a purgatorial retirement home to the discovery of a cure for ageing, from cryogenic preservation to the unexpected pleasures of dementia. The author talks to writer and broadcaster Georgina Godwin.

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Event 135

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Ali Smith in collaboration with Sarah Wood

Summer

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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An exclusive live screening of a one-off film created by Ali Smith and Sarah Wood to celebrate the conclusion of her seasonal quartet. Summer is the story of people on the brink of change. In the present, Sacha knows the world's in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world's in meltdown – and the real meltdown hasn't even started yet. In the past, they had a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they're living on borrowed time. They're family, but they think they're strangers. So, where does family begin? And what do people who think they've got nothing in common have in common? This special event includes contributions from film-maker Sarah Wood.

This event will not be available for replay after broadcast.
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Event 136

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Derek Gow talks to Kitty Corrigan

Bringing Back the Beaver

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Farmer-turned-ecologist Derek Gow is responsible for probably the single most dramatic and subversive nature conservation act of the modern era – rewilding the British landscape with beavers. Since the early 1990s, in the face of opposition from government, landowning élites and even some conservationists, he has imported, quarantined and assisted the re-establishment of beavers in waterways across England and Scotland. He makes the case that the return of the beaver offers a natural solution to flooding and drought, and is a crucial part of the aim to enable the broadest possible spectrum of Britain’s wildlife to thrive.

Kitty Corrigan is a journalist with a special interest in rural and environmental issues.

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Event 137

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Frank Skinner talks to Marcus Brigstocke

A Comedian's Prayer Book

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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God is a tough audience as far as audible response is concerned, but at least you don't have to explain the references. In this collection of 'prayers', the comedian, broadcaster and radio host lays bare his convictions, questions, fears and doubts – all presented in an eavesdropper-friendly form. Hell, Judgement, atheism, money, faith and the X-Men all feature: it's a bit like reading the Bible, except you only get one side of the conversation, and all the jokes are left in. Is there a place for comedy in prayer? If there’s a place for comedy in life, there’s a place for comedy in prayer.

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Event 138

Events taking place online 24 May - 6 June

Your Questions Answered by the QI Elves

Funny You Should Ask...

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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The QI Elves are the brains behind the hit panel show QI and the hugely popular spin-off podcast No Such Thing As A Fish. Every week the Elves appear on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show's 'Why Workshop' where they answer the ponderings and wonderings of Radio 2's most inquisitive listeners. Join Anne Miller, James Harkin and James Rawson for a live show as they prepare to answer questions such as: "If spiders can walk on the ceiling why can't they get out of the bath?", "Why is there an Essex, a Wessex, a Sussex but no Nossex?" and "How can I live for ever?"

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