We are delighted to announce the full programme of events for Hay Festival 2022.
Please note: tickets on sale are for live events, to attend in person. Details of our online Festival will be released on Tuesday 17 May.
Join Benedict Cumberbatch and friends as the hugely popular all-star show returns for the sixth year to Hay Festival and in aid of the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. A celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence, Letters Live sees a diverse array of outstanding performers read remarkable letters, inspired by and often drawn from Shaun Usher’s bestselling Letters of Note anthologies. The full cast will be kept under wraps until the performance.
Leslie Thomas QC is author of Do Right and Fear No One, an account of an idealistic and outspoken lawyer’s coming-of-age and a powerful portrait of the lives of those he has fought for. Lady Brenda Hale retired as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the UK’s most senior judge, in January 2020. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is a distinguished lawyer and advocate of civil liberties and human rights. These three exceptional experts talk about speaking the truth and the power of law with writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn.
The Aberystwyth University academic examines the human body from the perspective of our imagination through history. Vernon explores a timeline of body myths, from medieval cruentation to the conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines. She demonstrates how our imagination can both benefit and hinder medical understanding.
The Manchester-based author discusses his new novel of fathers and sons, friendships and lovers. His debut The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Polari First Book Prize. In 2021, it was selected for the Kingston University Big Read. A lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, he talks to journalist and Director of the European Literature Network Rosie Goldsmith.
In association with the British Council
The celebrated Welsh writers and poets read their work in a special evening for poetry. Clarke’s most recent book is The Gododdin: Lament for the Fallen, which charts the fall of 363 warriors in the battle of Catraeth, around the year 600 AD, when the men of the Brittonic kingdom of Gododdin rose to unite the Welsh and the Picts against the English, only to meet a devastating fate. Minhinnick’s new short prose book is Delirium, a kaleidoscopic collection in which poetry jostles consumerism, the implacability of the algorithm, local history, nature and much else.
Gillian Clarke’s work has been on the GCSE and A Level syllabus for more than 30 years. She has written numerous radio and theatre dramas, and translated poetry and prose from Welsh. Robert Minhinnick is a poet, essayist and novelist. A three-time winner of Wales Book of the Year, he has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and Ondaatje Prize (twice). He is co-founder of Friends of the Earth Cymru and Sustainable Wales.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men – with a history stretching back to Shakespeare himself – invite you to join them for a sparkling comedy. One of the UK’s finest touring theatre companies, they present this great play as Shakespeare first saw it performed: in the open air, by an all male cast and with Elizabethan costumes, music and dance.
Banished to the Forest of Arden, Rosalind, Celia, Orlando and the Duke are freed from the constraints of their former lives – lovers tussle, wits and fools spar, familial bonds are challenged, and everyone wrestles with what it really means to be yourself. A rustic romp packed with music, laughs, cross-dressing confusion and a dash of wrestling!
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” – William Shakespeare.
There are five performances As You Like It, on Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June. Seating at all performances is unallocated. These are outdoor performances, come rain or shine, so please dress warmly and according to the weather.
You can enjoy a tipple, soft drink or ice cream from the licensed bar and ice cream stand before the performance and during the interval.
Click here to pre-book a delicious picnic box to enjoy during the performance.
Toilet facilities are available on site.
Baddiel’s Jews Don’t Count is a book for people on the right side of history. People fighting the good fight against homophobia, disablism, transphobia and, particularly, racism. The comedian and writer follows the antisemitism he finds in his Twitter feed and, with a combination of reasoning, polemic, personal experience and humour, argues that those who think of themselves as on the right side of history have often ignored the history of antisemitism. He outlines to historian Simon Schama why and how, in a time of intensely heightened awareness of minorities and the discriminations they face, Jews don’t count as a real minority.
Ramirez reappraises medieval history to reveal why women were struck from historical narrative and restores them to their rightful positions as the power-players who shaped our world. An Oxford lecturer, BBC broadcaster, researcher and author, she has presented and written BBC history documentaries and series on TV and radio, and writes for both children and adults. Femina is published on 21 July 2022: the first 40 people to buy a ticket to the event will receive an advance proof copy! Kavita Puri is an award-winning journalist, executive producer and broadcaster for the BBC. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Partition Voices: Untold British Stories.
Is the publishing sector gender-biased? Do men read more male than female writers? Do reviewers review more books by male writers? Or are women currently getting more opportunities than male novelists? Join the debate with Dorothy Koomson, novelist and 2022 Women’s Prize judge, Kate Mosse, novelist and Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and Mary Ann Sieghart, journalist, author of The Authority Gap and this year’s chair of the Women’s Prize for Fiction judges. They talk to author, broadcaster and Women in Journalism Deputy Chair Genelle Aldred.
The comedian, actor, musician and author, team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and Strictly Come Dancing champion 2020 returns to Hay. His comedy is a fusion of the surreal and the intelligent, blending stories, poetry and deft wordplay that targets the absurdities of our world, involving an array of weird and wonderful instruments. Music defines his shows, with playful interpretations of classic styles such as Tom Waits performing Old Macdonald or Kraftwerk singing the Hokey Cokey.
His work for television includes the two-part series Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero for BBC Two about the Victorian naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, and a brilliant deconstruction of the way orchestras work in Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra.
How do we comfort each other and ourselves in an age of disbelief? The historian and Booker Prize-nominated novelist has pieced together a series of clues in a timely, moving and profound exploration of how writers, composers and artists have sought solace in the face of loss, tragedy and crisis. From the books of Job and the Psalms to Albert Camus, Anna Akhmatova and Primo Levi, Ignatieff shows in On Consolation how men and women in extreme situations have looked to each other through time to regain hope and resilience. He talks to Claire Armitstead, Associate Editor, Culture, for the Guardian.
This is the story of a group who anticipated, traced and hunted the coronavirus; who understood the need to learn from history, to question everything, and to do all of this fast, in order to save lives, communities, society itself. It’s about the failures and triumphs of human judgement and imagination. Lewis’s previous books have lifted the lid on some of the biggest stories of our times: they include Flash Boys, an exposé of high-speed scamming, Liar’s Poker, which defined the excesses of the 1980s, and The Fifth Risk, revealing what happens when democracy unravels.
It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu. For comfort, they take their most treasured possession, a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, whose ancient fables offer solace as they travel. Years later, Renshu has settled in America. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. Based on the life of Melissa’s father and on her own attempts to understand her Chinese heritage, this debut novel spans continents in a bold exploration of the history of modern China. Fu talks to Helena Lee, founder/editor of East Side Voices and Features Director of Harper’s Bazaar.
Meet the authors of the Kid Normal series to hear about their new book that tells of a hospital heist, some banana-loving llamas and a talking cat called Bin Bag. This mind-bending adventure is packed full of laughter and imagination.
Join Amelia Fang creator Laura Ellen Anderson for a journey to The Weatherlands, the magical setting for her Rainbow Grey series. Meet an extraordinary cast of characters including Ray Grey and her Weatherling friends, Snowden Everfreeze and Droplett Dewbells. Create an exciting book cover, featuring your very own climate-controlling Weatherling character and learn how to draw Ray’s adorable cloud-cat Nim.
An opportunity to get crafting! Activities differ every day, including everything from print-making to junk modelling with recycled materials. Get messy and creative: your imagination is the limit.
Book for the session and you can drop in at any point during the 2.5 hour duration. An accompanying adult must attend at all times but does not require a ticket.
Join Benedict Cumberbatch and friends for a one-off, family-friendly edition of Letters Live, a hugely popular celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence. The event sees a diverse array of outstanding performers read remarkable letters, inspired by and often drawn from Shaun Usher’s best-selling Letters of Note anthologies. The full cast will be kept under wraps until the performance.
In his follow-up to The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World, the environmental campaigner chronicles how determined individuals are proving that the crisis in our oceans can be reversed. We need to step aside and let nature repair the damage: whether it is the overfishing of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic or the destruction of coral gardens by dredgers in Lyme Bay. Trawling and dredging create more CO2 than the aviation industry and damage vast areas of the continental shelves, stopping them soaking up carbon. We need to fish in different ways, where we fish at all. Charles Clover is Executive director and co-founder of the Blue Marine Foundation.
From the author of Miss Austen comes an emotionally complex novel following 31-year-old Anne Sharpe, a governess who arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent with no experience of teaching or of fine country houses. For her new charge 12-year-old Fanny Austen, Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement. As governess, Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and balancing a position between the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. When Mr Edward Austen's family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane, but when Jane’s brother Henry takes a strong interest in Anne, her days are numbered. The novelist talks to journalist and Director of the European Literature Network Rosie Goldsmith.