Join the audience for a recording of Sky Arts Big Weekend, a 90-minute TV programme featuring interviews and conversations with some of the biggest and best names at the Festival. The programmes will air across the weekend of 10–12 June on Sky Arts (Freeview Channel 11), Sky Arts HD and Now. Studio guests include Anthony Horowitz, Jeffrey Boakye, Laurie Penny, Alexis Caught and Cressida Cowell.
Throughout another year of bluster and bedlam in Westminster, John Crace’s brilliantly acerbic political sketches have once more provided the nation with a much-needed injection of humour and satire. In A Farewell to Calm the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer introduces an infectiously funny selection of his finest pieces and talks to journalist Max Liu about everything from Covid to Partygate and Brexit to war in Ukraine.
“It’s now becoming easier and easier to predict government policy. Just listen to what the prime minister said in the morning and the opposite is likely to be true come the middle of the afternoon.”
MacManus, aka DJ and broadcaster Annie Mac, discusses her new direction – a writing debut. A powerful coming of age novel and an intimate family study, Mother Mother examines the cost of unconditional love.
Mary McConnell grew up longing for information about the mother she never knew – who died suddenly when Mary was only a baby. Her brother Sean was barely old enough to remember, and their father numbed his pain with drink. Now thirty-five years old, Mary has lived in the same house her whole life. She’s never left Belfast. She has a son, TJ, who’s about to turn eighteen, and is itching to see more of the world. One Saturday morning, TJ wakes up to find his mother gone. He doesn’t know where – or why – but he’s the only one who can help find her.
Mother Mother takes us down the challenging road of Mary’s life, while following Joe’s increasingly desperate search for his mother, as he begins to understand what has led her to this point.
Sixteen hundred years ago Britain left the Roman Empire and swiftly fell into ruin. Into this violent and unstable world came foreign invaders from across the sea, and established themselves as its new masters. In his sweeping and original history, renowned historian Marc Morris separates the truth from the legend and tells the extraordinary story of how the foundations of England were laid.
Dame Jacqueline Wilson is the highly acclaimed and adored author of so many stories for young people including The Story of Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. She is praised for her engaging, warm, funny and insightful take on subjects from adoption to divorce and children in care. She will be in lively conversation with John Wilson about the most formative influences on her writing life for a special edition of BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life.
Melvyn Bragg revisits and reflects on his life from childhood to adulthood in the Cumbrian market town of Wigton, from the early years alone with his mother while his father fought in the war to the moment he left the town. It’s the tale of a working-class boy who grew up in a pub and expected to leave school at 15; who happily roamed the streets and raided orchards with his friends yet had a chronic breakdown when he was 13, forcing him to find new survival strategies; who was deeply embedded in a close-knit community, and experiencing the joys of first love, yet also found himself drawn to a mentor keen to steer him towards the challenge of an Oxford scholarship.
It’s equally the tale of the place that formed him and a compelling and poignant recreation of a vanished era: an elegy for a community-spirited northern town with its factories and churches and chapels steeped in the old ways, but on the cusp of rapid post-war change; and a celebration of the glorious Lakeland landscapes which inspired Bragg from an early age. This love letter to his home town and the people who shaped him is imbued with all the luminous wonder of those indelible early memories which nurtured his future life as a writer, broadcaster, and champion of the arts.
In this spoken-word event PJ Harvey recites poems from her new book and discusses the lyric line with renowned British poet and writer Paul Farley. Orlam reveals Harvey as a gifted poet – whose formal skill and transforming eye and ear have produced a strange and moving poem like no other. Orlam is not only a remarkable coming-of-age tale, but the first full-length book written in the Dorset dialect for many decades.
Jeffrey Boakye was often the only black boy in his class. And then, after training to become a teacher, he was often teaching the handful of black students, as the only black teacher in the school. In I Heard What You Said, Boakye recounts how that felt and how it feels. His report exposes the underlying habits, presumptions, silences and distortions that underpin the whole British educational system that black students, and teachers, experience. He offers sharp analysis, sharp patter and even sharper hopes for what might come, to writer and critic Chris Power.
Global conservation efforts are failing to halt the current rate of extinction. As wildlife declines, conservation needs to make trade-offs, but what should we conserve and why? What do we want the ‘natural world’ to look like? And how close are we to forgetting what we’re about to lose?
In Tickets for the Ark ecologist Rebecca Nesbit questions our preferences for some species over others, and challenges our assumptions that native is always better than invasive, and ‘wild’ is always superior to human-altered. She gives ethics a central role in considering nature.
Millennial science communicator Sophie Pavelle’s Forget Me Not: Finding the Forgotten Species of Climate-change Britain is a clarion call, following rare native species on the front lines of the climate and biodiversity crises. They discuss the environmental crisis and the urgent, passionate attention needed from us all. In conversation with Pete Myers, Environmental Investor and Campaigner.
Join Helena Merriman (Creator of Tunnel 29 and Room 5) for a special recording of BBC Radio 4’s new series all about our minds and bodies – and what happens when they behave in ways we don’t understand.
Helena’s guest is Abi Morgan - the BAFTA and Emmy-award winning playwright and screenwriter whose credits include The Iron Lady, Suffragette, Sex Traffic, The Hour, Brick Lane and Shame. Abi Morgan is also the creator and writer of BBC drama, The Split.
Abi will be talking about her book - This is Not A Pity Memoir. One June morning, Abi came home to find the man she loved lying on the bathroom floor. Rushed to hospital, he was put into a coma and it was clear that life as they knew it would never be the same again.
Mistakes happen. In most fields the consequences are limited, but in healthcare they can be fatal. Every week in England there are 150 avoidable deaths. Most tragedies could be prevented simply and cheaply if we were better at learning from mistakes. Instead, the system ‘goes after’ someone when something goes wrong, and the result is a blame game that stops learning and allows the same mistake to be repeated, often countless times.
Zero investigates how the NHS can reduce the number of avoidable deaths to zero, and in the process save money, reduce backlogs and improve working conditions. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks to NHS palliative care doctor, writer and former broadcast journalist Rachel Clarke about the imperative to deliver the safest, highest quality care in the NHS post-pandemic – our own 1948 moment.
The author of the bestselling, Booker Prize-shortlisted phenomenon We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves discusses her brilliant new historical novel, Booth. In 1822, the Booth family move into a secret cabin near Baltimore to farm; to hide. Junius – breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor and master of the house in all ways – is at once a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability.
The Booths cement their place as one of the country’s leading theatrical families, but behind the curtains multiple scandals, family triumphs and disasters begin to take their toll. But it is Johnny who makes the terrible decision that will change the course of history – the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
A God at the Door, by poet and dancer Tishani Doshi, is an exquisite collection about nature and humanity to elevate the marginalised. Paul Farley’s latest eclectic poetry collection The Mizzy ranges from confusing encounters with tech, modernity and its accelerated rate of change, to the lives of others and their strange occupations. Conversation and readings with the founder of National Poetry Day and the Forward Prize, William Sieghart.
From ghostly phantoms to UFOs, The Battersea Poltergeist’s Danny Robins investigates real-life stories of paranormal encounters with special guests paranormal experts Ciaran O'Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow.
A new collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe brings nine performances of Julius Caesar to a specially commissioned open-air theatre at the newly renovated Hay Castle. The travelling company of actors, will bring to life Shakespeare’s political thriller with a stripped back production made fresh for our world today.
Touring has been a longstanding tradition at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, since the tours of the Elizabethan Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Shakespeare’s versatile troupe toured frequently in the summer especially when there was a plague or political unrest. Shakespeare’s Globe has now established a world renowned reputation for highly ambitious and economical Shakespearean storytelling in the rough and ready fashion of Elizabethan times.
“We are so delighted to be able to finally come to the Hay Festival to perform against the breath-taking backdrop of Hay Castle.” – Shakespeare’s Globe
Click here to pre-book a delicious picnic box to enjoy during the performance.
A Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, educator and social activist, Danilo Pérez is one of the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. His music blends Panamanian roots with elements of Latin American folk music, jazz, European impressionism, West Africa, and other musical heritages that seek harmony as a multi-dimensional bridge among peoples.
As a solo artist and collaborator with jazz giants ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to Wayne Shorter, he has been hailed as one of the most creative forces in contemporary music.
Pérez is the paragon of an international jazz citizen and visionary leader who believes that a united global perspective for the arts and social justice is key to moving humanity forward in harmony. Currently, he serves as a UNESCO Artist For Peace, Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama, and Founder and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival and Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
His latest release Crisálida opens new formations that explore all dimensions of the process of creation. In this search for the unexpected, Pérez brings Global Jazz Womxn from the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute. He visualizes Crisálida as a protected multicultural platform where we can creatively address issues of immigration, climate change, environmental justice and social justice. Global Jazz Womxn are Patricia Zárate Pérez from Chile on sax, Francesca Remigi from Italy on drums and Ciara Paula Moser from Austria on electric bass.
With his first stand-up tour since the release of internationally acclaimed feature film Benjamin and Netflix special Set Free, Simon Amstell brings Spirit Hole to a theatre near you. Due to high demand additional dates have been added for 2022 for this critically lauded show. Spirit Hole is a blissful, spiritual, sensational exploration of love, sex, shame, mushrooms and more. If you yearn for a night of unprecedented joy and laughter, book now and avoid regret. With support from Leo Reich.
Sponsored by GL events UK
All Walls Collapse brings together newly commissioned fiction in translation by twelve acclaimed writers from across the world, exploring the walls and borders that have sought to divide communities and nations, and their effects on people’s lives and histories.
From the Berlin Wall to the fences of Uyghur internment camps in Xinjiang, the US–Mexico border to the edge of the ‘Fortress of Europe’, and the barbed wire of the Korean Demilitarised Zone to the fences erected to hide Rio’s favelas before the 2016 Olympics, this groundbreaking collection of short stories examines our relationship to walls, both real and perceived.
Krisztina Tóth is a highly acclaimed Hungarian poet and Geetajali Shree is a Hindi author longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2022.
Born and raised in Zanzibar, Abdulrazak Gurnah is a Professor Emeritus of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent. He is author of nine novels, including Paradise (shortlisted for the Booker Prize), By the Sea (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the LA Times Book Award) and Desertion.
In 2021 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his uncompromising work on the effects of colonialism between cultures and continents. He talks to journalist Max Liu about his work, in particular his recent book Afterlives, a compelling historical novel focused on those enduring German rule in East Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century.
There are categories of intimate writing which modern technology has rendered obsolete. Keats sealed his letters to his beloved with a kiss. Whoever did that to an email in the age of electronic Valentines? Who, nowadays, keeps a private written journal? It’s all up there in the cloudy Diary in the Sky. Until well into the 20th century young men and women carried ‘autograph books’ for sketches, verbal and pictorial, by friends. They now only exist as relics on eBay. Is intimate writing a dead letter – as obsolete as the quill pen? Not entirely. John Crace has revived the political sketch, diary and (highly personalised) critical ‘digest’.
John Sutherland has written intimate memoirs (one of which, his struggle with alcoholism, he regrets publishing). He recently met himself – sixty years younger – in his university tutor’s voluminous letters about him to Philip Larkin. It inspired his latest book, Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Me.
The Two Johns discuss intimacy in public and personal writing – the difference between writing with one eye on publication and for oneself alone – and where, in an era of grams, selfies and tweeting it can go. And have fun while doing so.