Human journeys into space fill us with wonder. But the thrill of space travel for astronauts comes at enormous expense and is fraught with peril. As our robot explorers grow more competent, governments and corporations must ask, does our desire to send astronauts to the Moon and Mars justify the cost and danger? Martin Rees believes that beyond low-Earth orbit, space exploration should proceed without humans.
The United Kingdom’s Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees was previously Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. His latest book, co-written with Donald Goldsmith, is The End of Astronauts. Professor Catherine Heymans is Astronomer Royal for Scotland.
A debut brimful of the music and movement of multicultural London, to stand beside White Teeth, Brick Lane and The Buddha of Suburbia. The stories in We Move are set in London, but chart a wider narrative about the movement of multiple generations of immigrants. In acts of startling imagination, Gurnaik Johal brings together the past and the present, the local and the global, to show the surprising ways we come together.
Beneath the planes circling Heathrow, various lives connect. Priti speaks English and her nani Punjabi. Without Priti’s mum around they struggle to make a shared language. Not far away, Chetan and Aanshi’s relationship shifts when a woman leaves her car in their drive but never returns to collect it. Gujan’s baba steps out of his flat above the chicken shop for the first time in years to take his grandson on a bicycle tour of the old and changed neighbourhood. And returning home after dropping out of university, Lata grapples with a secret about her estranged family friend, now a chart-topping rapper in a crisis of confidence.
Kübra Gümüşay is an award-winning author and activist from Germany. In her bestselling book Speaking and Being she examines how language dictates politics and shapes the way we think. Language opens up our world, and in the same instant, limits it. What does it mean to exist in a language that was never meant for you to speak? Why are we missing certain words? How can we talk about our communal problems without fuelling them? What does it actually mean to speak freely? As a writer and activist fighting for equality, Gümüşay has been thinking about these questions for many years. She addresses language and equalities related to gender with translator Sophie Hughes.
Three prize-winning writers – Damon Galgut, Margo Jefferson and Jennifer Egan – discuss family drama, memory and redemption with Helen Lewis. Damon Galgut’s Booker-winning The Promise tells the story of a family and a country, and the failed promises that destroy them both. The promise of a super-connected world with memories as currency is set against the quest for privacy in Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House. And Margo Jefferson examines every passion and influence in her new memoir, Constructing a Nervous System.
Guides from Brecon Beacons National Park lead a gentle walk through the beautiful surrounds of Hay-on-Wye.
Join actor, comedian and author Lenny Henry as he talks about his brilliantly funny, action-packed adventure story The Boy With Wings. Twelve-year-old Tunde is an average kid with average friends whose life is turned upside down when, in the middle of a football match, he leaps for the ball and stays in the air – on an enormous pair of wings. He discovers newfound powers and a secret past, and finds out how an average kid can become an extraordinary hero.
Join award-winning author and former BookTrust Writer in Residence Smriti Halls for a fun-filled event, jam-packed with games and storytelling. First, it’s all about you as Smriti introduces her new picture book Who Are You? which celebrates the pieces, places and people that make us who we are. Discover Smriti’s inspiration and draw a doodle that represents you.
A one-hour collaging workshop with Hay Festival Illustrator in Residence Tom Etherington and Bethan Thomas, founder of Collage Crew workshops. Tom and Bethan guide you through the playful world of collage. Create striking artwork from old books, while learning about what makes an iconic book cover. Tom is a former Penguin Books designer behind some of the most memorable jacket images of recent times, from Greta Thunberg’s No One is Too Small to Make a Difference and Grayson Perry’s The Descent of Man to the recent Jack Kerouac reissues and the Green Ideas series.
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.
Damon Galgut’s 2021 Booker Prize-winning novel charts a country in transition and a family in crisis. On a farm outside Pretoria, the Swarts are gathering for Ma’s funeral. The younger generation, Anton and Amor, detest everything the family stand for – not least their treatment of the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. Salome was to be given her own house, her own land… yet somehow, that vow is carefully ignored. As each decade passes, and the family assemble again, one question hovers over them. Can you ever escape the repercussions of a broken promise?
Damon Galgut was shortlisted for the Booker Prize twice with The Good Doctor and In a Strange Room before winning in 2021 with The Promise.
In an information age where disinformation and silo-thinking are ever-present, the role of libraries as hubs for knowledge, reflection and community are more essential than ever. In this conversation Britain’s best-loved children’s book writer Michael Morpurgo, renowned author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay and Polly Russell, Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, reflect on the value of libraries and the continuing role these transformational spaces play within our societies.
Brazilian-born botanist Alexandre Antonelli is Director of Science of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he leads the work of over 300 scientists in a quest to protect and restore biodiversity. Founder of the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre and a Cisneros Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, he is one of the world’s most highly cited scientists and has received numerous awards and prizes. His debut book The Hidden Universe: Adventures in Biodiversity is an exploration of the science, stories and wonders of biodiversity. He talks to journalist and editor Rosie Boycott.
Ian McMillan and guests explore language and memory and ask what we choose to write down -or forget. Joining Ian are Jennifer Egan, whose new novel The Candy House imagines wild technological possibilities for human memory; Allie Esiri brings us the words of long forgotten women poets in the anthology A Poet For Every Day of the Year, and Gurnaik Johal examines how we hand down cultural memories in his debut short story collection We Move.
Give a hoot and don’t pollute! The Bolds have decided to do their bit for the planet and go green. They’re reducing, reusing and recycling as much as they can. Not all of their eco-friendly ideas are welcome though – especially when it comes to ‘watering’ the neighbours’ front garden with wee. An eventful trip to the charity shop leads to a new rescue adventure for the Bold family, and an old friend returns with an unexpected list of demands. Can the Bolds keep their cool as temperatures rise? The much-loved comedian and award-winning illustrator reveal the answer!
Find out why eating insects, getting inspiration from desert-dwelling bugs and even using poo for power could help us lead more environmentally friendly lives in the future. Author, scientist and BBC presenter Madeleine Finlay will discuss some of the weird and wacky ideas scientists have to live greener. You’ll get the chance to try some insects and design your own bug-based menu.
Theraplay is a way of playing with your child which builds and enhances attachment, self-esteem, trust in each other and joyful engagement.The ideas can be used in everyday parenting and in any setting where relationship connection is important. It is based on the natural patterns of healthy interaction between parent and child. Join our family Theraplay group and experience what it’s like! The group will be playful, physical, personal and fun. Everyone joins in so come prepared for activity.
Executive producer Lenny Henry and members of the cast and crew discuss the BBC’s adaptation of Kit de Waal’s best-selling novel My Name is Leon, previewing clips from the film.
Set in 1980s Birmingham, it tells the moving story of nine-year-old Leon, a mixed-race boy, and his quest to reunite his family after being taken into care and separated from his blonde and blue-eyed baby brother. Following Leon’s journey, full of energy and hopefulness despite the hardships he encounters, we witness the touching relationship between him and his foster carer Maureen. Leon’s adventure teaches him valuable lessons about himself, the world, love, and what family really means.
The film is Shola Amoo’s first screenplay for television and is directed by Lynette Linton in her directorial debut on a television drama. It stars Sir Lenny Henry CBE (The Lord of the Rings), Malachi Kirby (Small Axe), Monica Dolan (A Very English Scandal), Olivia Williams (Counterpart), Christopher Eccleston (The A Word), Poppy Lee Friar (In My Skin), Shobna Gulati (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Cole Martin plays the lead, Leon, in his first TV role.
In Preventable: The Politics of Pandemics and How to Stop the Next One Professor Devi Sridhar uses the spellbinding story of the Covid-19 pandemic to show how global politics shape our health. Sridhar has risen to prominence for her vital roles in communicating science to the public and speaking truth to power. She highlights lessons learned from outbreaks past and present – including her personal experience as a scientist during the Covid-19 pandemic – and sets out a vision for how we can better protect ourselves from the inevitable health crises to come. In dissecting the global structures that determine our fate, Sridhar reveals the deep-seated economic and social inequalities at their heart. Chaired by Ritu Dhand.
Dr Leor Zmigrod, Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, discusses how political neuroscience can increase our understanding of extremist behaviour and how to tackle it. Her research combines methods from experimental psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience to investigate the psychology of ideological adherence and group identity formation. She focuses on investigating cognitive characteristics that might act as vulnerability factors for radicalisation and ideologically-motivated behaviour.
Maki Sekiya wowed Hay Music audiences in 2021 and returns to Hay, this time with her pianist husband Ilya Chetverikov, in a programme spanning reflective and highly dramatic music for two pianos by French and Russian composers of the early 20th century. The programme features Debussy’s Blanc et Noir (1915), 2nd movement, Lent. Sombre; Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913), arranged for two pianos by the composer: Parts 1 & 2: Adoration of the Earth, The Sacrifice; and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances Op 45 (1940), 2nd & 3rd movements: Andante con moto; Tempo di Valse and Lento assai – Allegro vivace.
Rachmaninov and Stravinsky were born within a few years of each other and had similar musical backgrounds. Oddly both suffered notorious first performances of early major pieces – the scandal around first performance of The Rite of Spring in 1913 is well documented but the first performance of Rachmaninov’s First Symphony some 20 years earlier was also considered a failure and the careers of both composers were significantly influenced by these experiences. Debussy, who was 20 years older than Stravinsky, first met him in 1910 and, despite very different aesthetics, they hugely respected each other’s music.