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.
To whet your appetite, there will also be five Winter Warmer events to watch and enjoy online featuring Matt Haig, Siri Hustvedt, Bill McKibben, Steven Pinker, and the 2021 Booker Prize winner. These events will be free for everyone to watch and will be available online on our website from 15 November.
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.
Henry Blofeld led the commentary on Test Match Special for five decades, before retiring four years ago. He was inspired to delve into past triumphs and near-misses of historic matches when re-reading Newbolt’s 1892 poem Vitai Lampada, about a cricketing schoolboy’s commitment to duty, both on the pitch and in the field of battle.
Ten to make and the match to win—
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
Blofeld brings to life 30 Test Match cliff-hangers, ranging from the match-winning bowling of Australia’s F. R. Spofforth against W.G. Grace’s England in 1882, via the first tied Test between Benaud's Australia and Worrell’s West Indies in 1960, to the never-say-die batting of Ben Stokes in 2019. He revisits less celebrated matches such as South Africa's hard-fought first Test win in 1906, a crucial innings from Denis Compton in 1948, and a match-saving performance by a young Alan Knott in Guyana in 1968.
He talks to cricket writer Peter Hayter who has ghost-written books with Ian Botham, Phil Tufnell and Marcus Trescothick.
The world will have been in Glasgow at COP26 in early November, thrashing out how we can reduce, manage and mitigate the impacts of climate change. We know that this is going to require a major shift in the way we live, work and play. Our expert panel looks at key decisions made at COP26 and discusses the role of creativity, design, storytelling and innovation in conveying the issues and ultimately influencing behavioural change.
Owen Sheers is a poet, playwright, author and screenwriter including most recently The Trick - The ClimateGate Affair, Amika George is the founder of the Free Periods campaign and author of Make it Happen - How To Be An Activist, Sophie Howe is the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. They talk to Hay Festival's Sustainability Director, Andy Fryers.
From the author of The Templars comes the story of how our world was built, exploring the rise of the West to global domination, from a state of crisis and collapse. He identifies three key themes underpinning this achievement: commerce, conquest and Christianity.
Hallie Rubenhold is an author, social historian, broadcaster and historical consultant for TV and film.
Climate change is the defining issue of our time. And just as it is accelerating, so too must we summon up a greater sense of urgency. The good news is that we still have time to address the challenge, if we move now – and move together. The co-founder of sustainable development charity Forum for the Future explores the positives of new technology, innovation, activism of young people – and the growing sense of solidarity between generations as young and older grasp their obligation to secure a safer world.
Jonathon Porritt was Director of Friends of the Earth 1984–90, co-chair of the Green Party 1980-83 and from 2000-2009 was Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission.
Hannah Martin is the Co-Executive Director of Green New Deal UK.
A conversation with two masters of fiction. Moss’ latest novel is the pandemic-inspired The Fell, and Hall’s Burntcoat was also written in lockdown, focusing on the story of two new lovers confined. They discuss their new works and reflect on the role of fiction in challenging times.
Moss’ previous books include a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, and novels Summerwater, Cold Earth, Night Waking, Bodies of Light, Signs for Lost Children, The Tidal Zone and Ghost Wall.
Hall has written five novels and three short-story collections. Twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize, she is currently the only author to be four times shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, which she won in 2013 with Mrs Fox and in 2020 with The Grotesques.
Toby Lichtig is assistant editor at the Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
Fascism is back. In January 2021, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. From Brazil to India to Sweden, the Far Right is on the rise. Fascism is not a horror that we have left in the past; it is a recurring nightmare that is happening again – and we need to find a better way to fight it. The new Far Right is organisationally small, but its ideologies and symbols are proliferating across networks and social media, into the lives of ordinary people.
The author and broadcaster offers a radical, hopeful blueprint for resisting and defeating the new Far Right. His book is both a chilling portrait of contemporary fascism – what fascists believe and how they operate today – and a compelling history of the fascist phenomenon: its psychological roots, political theories and genocidal logic. He argues that fascism is a symptom of capitalist failure, and one that continues to haunt us.
Come and join the party as Hay welcomes everyone to the beginning of the festive season with music and food and good cheer, and the turning-on of the Christmas lights by a celebrity guest.
Spend an evening in the company of one of Britain’s favourite (and naughtiest) actors and national treasures, as she shares stories from her remarkable life. The BAFTA-winning creator of a myriad of unforgettable characters from Lady Whiteadder to Professor Sprout, is one of the most recognisable performers working today. Now, at 80, she has finally decided to publish her memoir.
She talks to the classicist, writer and comedian Natalie Haynes.
BBC Music Introducing in Hereford & Worcester supports the very best new music from across the region. Since 2005, it has broadcast nearly two thousand sessions, showcasing some of the area’s most talented musicians. Chart-topping success stories include Kington’s Ellie Goulding, Bewdley’s Becky Hill and Weobley’s 220 Kid (who used to work at The Swan Hotel in Hay).
Andrew Marston hosts some of the finest acts discovered over lockdown: “In just seven days, more than 10,500 artists uploaded their music to BBC Music Introducing across the UK,” he says. “We’ve struggled to fit all of our favourite acts into the eight hours of music we generate every single week, so I’m excited to be bringing some of these to Hay.”
The show includes one interval.
Father Richard Williams’ film nights are renowned. Parish priest in Hay since 2001, he trained as a professional musician at Trinity College of Music, London, studying piano, organ and composition. His offering this Winter Weekend in the late Georgian-Gothic setting of St Mary’s Church is a live accompaniment on the Bevington organ to the classic 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene, written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer.
At a fairground, a Dr Caligari has a somnambulist, Cesare, who can predict the future. When a young man visits him and asks how long he will live, the answer is until dawn…
To whet your appetite, there will also be 5 Winter Warmer events to watch and enjoy online featuring Matt Haig, Steven Pinker, Bill McKibben, Siri Hustvedt and the 2021 Booker Prize winner. These events will be free for everyone to watch and will be available online on our website from 15 November.