Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2021

Welcome to the Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2021 programme.

You will need to purchase tickets whether you attend in person or watch online.

If you wish to attend in person, please see the individual listings below for ticket prices.

If you intend to watch online, the best value option is the Online Festival Pass for £25, which will allow you to watch all streamed events either live or on replay for the duration of the Festival. Individual online event tickets cost £5 each. Please note that the Online Festival Pass is for viewing events online only.

There are also five Winter Warmer events, free for everyone to watch and enjoy online featuring Matt Haig, Siri Hustvedt, Bill McKibben, Steven Pinker, and the 2021 Booker Prize winner, Damon Galgut.

Anyone attending in person must adhere to current Welsh Government Covid-19 guidelines and the entry requirements of the Festival, which can be found here.

Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 21

Shaun Bythell

Remainders of the Day: More Diaries from The Bookshop, Wigtown

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

From one booktown to another…

The Bookshop in Wigtown is the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland, with over a mile of shelving supporting100,000 books, a real log fire, and Captain the cat. The owner continues his diary series with a new edition, filled with the pernickety warmth and humour that has touched readers around the world.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 22

Charlotte Williams talks to Kirsti Bohata

Sugar and Slate

 Hay Castle Clore Learning Space

The daughter of a white Welsh-speaking mother and a black father from Guyana, the author grew up in a small town on the coast of north Wales, with few role models. In search of her roots, she travelled to Africa and the Caribbean, before returning to Wales. 

Hers is a story of Welshness and otherness, of roots and rootlessness, in which there is a constant going away and coming back with always a sense of being ‘half home’. It is both a personal memoir and a tale that speaks to the wider experience of mixed-race Britons. 

‘An engaging and perceptive voice describing an engrossing and particular personal story’ – journalist Gary Younge

Williams is Honorary Professor at the School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences at Bangor University and Honorary Fellow at University of South Wales.

In conversation with Kirsti Bohata, a professor at Swansea University and a leading scholar in the field of Welsh writing in English.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 23

Katherine Rundell talks to Francine Stock

The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

A swift flies two million kilometres in its lifetime. That’s far enough to get to the moon and back twice over – and then once more to the moon. A giraffe was once given to the King of France; she marched through the streets, dressed in the finest couture raincoat Paris could produce. A pangolin’s tongue is longer than its body. It keeps it neatly furled in a pouch near the hip.

Each of these animals is extraordinary. And each of them may soon disappear from the Earth. A lavishly illustrated collection of the lives of some of our astounding animals, this is a chance to be awestruck and lovestruck – to reckon with the beauty of the world, its fragility, and its strangeness.

Rundell’s books include Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, and Why You Should Read Children's Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise.

In conversation with broadcaster and writer Francine Stock

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 24

Garry J Shaw

The Story of Tutankhamun: An Intimate Life of the Boy who Became King

 Hay Castle Clore Learning Space

The discvery khamun’s tomb in November 1922 sparked imaginations across the globe. While Howard Carter emptied its treasures, Tut-mania gripped the world – and in many ways, has never left. But who was the ‘boy king’, and what was his life really like?

This illustrated biography uses the most up-to-date research to present Tutankhamun as a person, rather than as a distant god-king or a symbol of ancient Egypt. The compelling narrative weaves together numerous intriguing details from the boy king’s treasures and possessions – from a lock of his grandmother’s hair to a reed cut with his own hands – to reveal the life of this enigmatic figure.

Shaw is a journalist and author of The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign, The Egyptian Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends, and Egyptian Mythology.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 25

Richard Herring talks to Natalie Haynes

Can I Have My Ball Back?

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

At the start of 2021 Richard Herring was diagnosed with testicular cancer. For a man whose output includes a stand-up tour titled Talking Cock and who regularly interrogates our attitudes towards masculinity, it was a diagnosis that came with additional layers of complexity.

Mixing his personal story with what defines masculinity and 'maleness' in society, Can I Have My Ball Back? is not your typical cancer memoir. Whether they're nuts, or bollocks, or gonads, or family jewels; from the phrase 'grow some balls' to infamous WWII songs about Hitler, Rich unpicks the tangle of emotions around his own testing times.

In conversation with classicist, broadcaster and comedian Natalie Haynes.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 26

Juan Gabriel Vásquez in conversation with Philippe Sands

Retrospective

 Hay Castle Clore Learning Space

The life of Colombian film director Sergio Cabrera is the backdrop for a story about the relationship between parents and children marked by political ideas and fanaticism. From the Spanish Civil War to the exile of his Republican family in Latin America, and from the Cultural Revolution in China to the guerrilla movements of 1960s Latin America, not only will do we discover a series of extraordinary adventures, but also a devastating portrait of the forces that for half a century turned the world upside down and created the one we now inhabit.

Regarded as one of the most important Latin American novelists working today, the author has published seven novels, including The Informers and The Sound of Things Falling, two volumes of short stories – The All Saints’ Day Lovers and Canciones para el incendio – and two collections of literary essays.

Philippe Sands QC is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He attends the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. His books include the Baillie Gifford Prize-winning East West Street, The Ratline and The Colony.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 27

Leo Houlding talks to Tori James

Closer to the Edge: Climbing to the Ends of the Earth

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

The mountaineer and adventurer is a veteran of a score of epic ascents, including Everest, but specialises in free-climbing the most technical peaks and biggest walls in the world.

What drives him? How does he assess risk and how does he balance this with teaching his own children the lessons he has learnt in some of the world’s most dangerous and extreme places? Honest, raw and exhilarating, this is a ‘warts-and-all’ insight into Houlkding’s extreme life and the losses he has faced.

In conversation with adventurer Tori James, the first Welsh woman to climb Everest.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 28

Paul Coldwell

The Printed Image: A Personal Perspective

 Hay Castle Clore Learning Space

This illustrated talk by the Professor of Fine Art at the University of the Arts in London explores the role of printmaking through the work of Dürer, Rembrandt and Morandi, as well as contemporary artists Paula Rego, Patrick Caulfield and Willie Cole. Why do artists make prints and what differentiates an original print from a reproduction? The speaker’s practice

includes printmaking, sculpture, book works and installation, and his work features in the current Hay Castle exhibition, The Printed Line.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 29

Yomi Sode

Poetry Live

 The Poetry Bookshop

The Nigerian-British poet reads from his new collection, Manorism, charting the vulnerabilities and rich nuances of Black masculinity, and exploring family, survival, generational trauma and the complexities of belonging. It takes aim at the legacies of the British Empire – racism, classism and toxic masculinity. Woven with references to white cultural figures from Shakespeare to Caravaggio, this thrillingly original work asks what it means to live as a Black man in Britain today. The poet is a recipient of the 2019 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship and was shortlisted for The Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021.

‘Thrilling... once-in-a-generation’ – Jackie Kay

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 30

Hay Community Choir and Hay Shantymen

Winter Warmer

 St Mary’s Church

A celebration of our great community at the changing of the season. Hay Community Choir will be joined by Hay Shantymen for a one-off evening guaranteed to get you in the festive mood. With shanties, world songs, excerpts from Handel's Messiah and some surprises to get your feet tapping, this is not your average carol concert. 

Price: £10.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 31

Paul Coldwell

After Hours: Tour of The Printed Line exhibition

 Hay Castle

Enjoy the current Hay Castle exhibition with informed commentary from one of the artists featured.

Price: £10.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 32

Mike Wozniak: Zusa

Little Wander in Association with PBJ Management present a preview of Wozniak's stand up tour

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

Ever wondered how Mike’s great-aunt Zusa made it from Poland to Luton with a war nipping at her heels? Here’s your chance to find out.

As seen on Taskmaster and Man Down (both Channel 4) and Would I Lie To You? (BBC One) and heard on Small Scenes (BBC Radio 4), the podcasts St Elwick’s Neighbourhood Association Newsletter and the Three Bean Salad podcast.



Age guidance: 14+
There will be an interval.
Price: £15.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 33

Tom True

Breakfast Tour of Hay Castle

 Hay Castle

Battles, borders, books and breakfast. Explore Hay Castle with Executive Director, Tom True, who will give an introduction to the history and invite you to get to know some of the characters from the Castle's past as well as talking about the recent restoration project. Continental breakfast included in the ticket price.

This event is run by Hay Castle with all proceeds going to the Hay Castle Trust
Price: £20.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 34

Festival guests in conversation with Oliver Bullough

Where do we go from here?

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

A new sovereign, a new Prime Minister and a new world order: our Festival guests take stock of the moment, reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to 2023. ​ Investigative jounralist Oliver Bullough is author of Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals.

Strong coffee recommended.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 35

Mari Fforde

Cyanotype Workshop

 Hay Castle Clore Learning Space

Explore your artistic expression with this print-based workshop where you will learn how to create images with the cyanotype process, a technique using the power of the sun, invented in 1841 by Sir John Herschel and popularised by photographer and botanist Anna Atkins. Tuition by the Castle’s historian.

This event is run by Hay Castle with all proceeds going to the Hay Castle Trust
Price: £15.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 36

Kamila Shamsie talks to Razia Iqbal

Best of Friends

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

Fourteen-year-old Maryam and Zahra have always been the best of friends, despite their different backgrounds. Maryam takes for granted that she will stay in Karachi and inherit the family business, while Zahra keeps her desires secret, and dreams of escaping abroad. In 1988, anything seems possible for the girls; and for Pakistan, emerging from the darkness of dictatorship into a bright future under a young woman, Benazir Bhutto. But a snap decision at a party celebrating the return of democracy brings the girls’ childhoods abruptly to an end. Its consequences will shape their futures in ways they cannot imagine…

Three decades later, in London, Zahra and Maryam are still best friends despite living very different lives. But when unwelcome ghosts from their shared past re-enter their world, both women find themselves driven to act in ways that will stretch and twist their bond beyond all recognition.

This is a novel about Britain today, about power and how we use it, and about what we owe to those who have loved us the longest.

In conversation with BBC broadcaster Razia Iqbal.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 37

Heather Hurley

Horse-drawn Tramways of the Wye Valley

 Hay Castle Clore Learning Space

The early tramways in the Wye Valley (variously termed as railways, wagon-ways or tram roads) were a transport system of horse-drawn wagons on rails. In this richly illustrated book, the local historian explores all known tramways – the routes taken, the companies that built and ran them and the people who used them – in and around the Wye Valley, to provide a fascinating history of this short-lived form of transport from the late 18th century to the introduction of steam railway on the Welsh border.

Drawing on extensive research of tramway company archives, maps and plans, newspapers and journals, archaeological reports, books and illustrations, the author also carried out fieldwork in Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Powys.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 38

Vince Cable

How to be a Politician: 2000 Years of Good (and bad) Advice

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

The former Liberal Democrat leader curates the ultimate book of political advice, conjuring the warp, weft, ebbs, flows, highs and lows of a political life, in the words of those who said it best.

His book follows the arc of a life in politics – from childhood signs of potential to running for office, getting elected and forming a government; climbing the greasy pole to the pinnacle of leadership and a place on the world’s stage; dealing with mistakes, detractors, criticism, humiliation and failure; and finally escaping the political life altogether.

The wittiest, wisest and most acerbic political quotations from the last two thousand years are interspersed, making this an entertaining education in the dark art of politics.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 39

Carlos Fonseca in conversation with Natalie Haynes

Untold Microcosms: Latin American Writers in the British Museum

 Hay Castle Clore Learning Space

The Central and South American collection at the British Museum contains approximately 62,000 objects, spanning ten thousand years of human history. The vast majority of this heritage is not displayed.

These objects are the subject of Untold Microcosms, a project resulting from the collaboration between the British Museum’s Santo Domin and his contribution, Heritage. His previous work includes the novels Coronel Lágrimas and Museo Animal, the essay La lucidez del miope, which won the National Prize for Literature in Costa Rica.

Natalie Haynes is a writer, broadcaster and classicist.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.

Event 40

Philippe Sands talks to Razia Iqbal

The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile, Justice and Britain’s Colonial Legacy

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle, Great Hall)

Offering a unique and vital contribution to the discussion around Britain’s colonial past, this is a powerful tale about the making of modern international law, one woman’s fight for justice and a personal journey that culminates with an historic ruling.

Deftly combining powerful storytelling with history and matters of law to unveil the devastating impact of Britain’s racist grip on its last colony in Africa, this is the story of the struggle for justice in the face of a relenting crime against humanity.

The author is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He was involved in important international cases including Pinochet, Congo, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq, Guantanamo and the Rohingya. His books include Lawless, Torture Team, East West Street, which won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction, and The Ratline. He is President of English PEN.

In conversation with BBC broadcaster Razia Iqbal.

Price: £12.00
Only Friends of Hay Festival may buy tickets prior to public launch. If you are already a Friend please log in here. If you would like to become a Friend, you can do so here.