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Hay Festival 2023

Our 2023 Festival took place 25 May - 4 June. The programme is listed below.

Most of the events are now available in our online archive Hay Player – please see individual listings for more details.

Page  13 of 20
ActivityMake & Take Crafting

Event MT16

Make & Take Crafting

Thursday Morning Session

–  Make & Take Hub
Read more

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 1.5 hour duration. Accompanying adults: please stay in attendance at all times, but you do not require a ticket.

3–11 years
Price: £5.00
WorkshopPizza-making Workshop

Event W51

Pizza-making Workshop

Kitchen Garden Pizza

–  Family Garden
Read more

Come to the Family Garden for a pizza masterclass with Kitchen Garden Pizza. In this one-hour session your imagination and creativity will be fed along with your belly! You’ll get your hands messy with freshly grown and foraged ingredients, make and top your own dough and observe the pizzaioli at work at the wood-fired oven. And while you wait for your pizza to cook, you can decorate your own pizza box!
Dairy-free and gluten-free options available.

4+ years
Parents/carers must attend but do not need a ticket.
Sold out
Please log in to add this event to your wish list so we can notify you in case of further availability
WorkshopCrafting for Kids: Recycled Architecture

Event HC14

Crafting for Kids: Recycled Architecture

–  Hay Castle
Read more

Come to Hay Castle for this drop-in session for families, where you’ll be inspired to design and build your own dream house out of recycled materials.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Activities are aimed at children aged 4+ years, but younger siblings are very welcome.

4+ years
Sold out
Please log in to add this event to your wish list so we can notify you in case of further availability
ConversationSue Kent and Sarah Raven

Event 229

Sue Kent and Sarah Raven

The Gardener’s Year

–  Global Stage
Read more

Discover how to make your garden successful, whatever your abilities, and how to combine colours and pots for instant impact, from gardeners Sue Kent and Sarah Raven. Gardeners’ World presenter Kent is an RHS disability ambassador and RHS award-winning garden designer. Her book Sue Kent Garden Notes provides tips and tricks to successful gardening for all abilities. Gardener, cook and podcaster Sarah Raven’s A Year Full of Pots: Container Flowers for All Seasons demonstrates how accessible and satisfying growing flowers in pots can be. In conversation with Tamsin Westhorpe, editor of the Horticultural Trade Association magazine and curator and gardener of Stockton Bury Gardens, Herefordshire. Tamsin is also an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Judge and author of Grasping the Nettle and Diary of a Modern Country Gardener.

Price: £13.00
ConversationSarah Bernstein and Eley Williams talk to Max Liu

Event 230

Sarah Bernstein and Eley Williams talk to Max Liu

Fictions: Silence and Confusion

–  Wye Stage
Read more

Two of the best young British novelists of 2023, as selected by Granta magazine, discuss their recent books. Sarah Bernstein’s Study for Obedience is about a woman who moves from the place of her birth to the remote northern country of her ancestors, to be housekeeper to her recently divorced brother. There, a strange series of unfortunate events begin to occur and she is put under suspicion by the locals. Eley Williams’ Moderate to Poor, Occasionally Good, due in June, is a forth-coming collection of stories from the award-winning author of The Liar’s Dictionary and Attrib. and Other Stories. The stories explore uncertainty and how we grapple with it, as well as misunderstandings and confusions in a world that appears bound by rules and codes, both spoken and unspoken. The authors speak to writer Max Liu.

Price: £11.00
ConversationMererid Hopwood and Jenny Mathers talk to Betsan Powys

Event 231

Mererid Hopwood and Jenny Mathers talk to Betsan Powys

Inspiration for a New Generation: The Welsh Women’s Peace Petition

–  Meadow Stage
Read more

Can the peace efforts of ordinary citizens impact a world engulfed in war? One hundred years ago the women of Wales dared to imagine a world without war and took steps to achieve it: nearly 400,000 signed a petition appealing to the women of America to support their call for peace. Join Mererid Hopwood and Jenny Mathers, editors of Yr Apêl/The Appeal 1923–24, as they discuss the remarkable story of the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition with Welsh journalist Betsan Powys, and seek inspiration for a new generation of peacemakers.

Price: £11.00
PerformanceRead Smart Podcast Live

Event 232

Read Smart Podcast Live

–  Exchange Marquee
Read more

Join Monocle Radio Books Editor Georgina Godwin and last year’s Prize winner John Vaillant for a special Hay Festival edition of the Read Smart podcast, recorded live. Together with a line-up of special guests, they explore crucial topics often overshadowed by mainstream news. While the media fixates on one monolithic story after another – Brexit, COVID, Ukraine, Gaza – what vital news remains overlooked elsewhere? During the event we’ll gather suggestions from speakers and the audience. The most compelling ideas will shape a future episode of the Read Smart podcast.

Free – drop in
PerformanceAndy Stanton & Carrie Quinlan

Event F52

Andy Stanton & Carrie Quinlan

Ask the Nincompoops

–  Discovery Stage
Read more

What’s the opposite of a kettle? Why is the sky blue? Who invented cheese? Following last year’s triumphant Hay Festival debut, the Nincompoops return to bring some much-needed intellijments to the Festival! Join Andy Stanton (Mr Gum) and Carrie Quinlan (John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme) for a special live version of their family podcast, answering your questions with their unique mixture of wisdumb, nollidge and outright fibs. Madness, mayhem and mirth guaranteed!

7+ years
Please bring your own notebook and pen or pencil to this event.
Price: £7.00
ConversationThe Repair Shop Teddy Bear Ladies

Event F53

The Repair Shop Teddy Bear Ladies

Bartie Bristle and Other Stories

–  Spring Stage
Read more

Cuddle up with the Teddy Bear Ladies, Julie Tatchell and Amanda Middleditch, best known as stars of the BBC’s The Repair Shop. They’ve created the magical world of Bartie Bristle and friends in their stunning treasury Bartie Bristle and Other Stories: Tales from the Teddy Bear Ladies, and they can’t wait to share it with you!

Family, 0–5 years
Price: £7.00
WorkshopIllustration Workshop: Create Your Own River Spirit

Event W52

Illustration Workshop: Create Your Own River Spirit

With the University of Worcester Illustration Department

–  Creative Hub
Read more

Embark on a river-inspired journey in this magical figure-making workshop, where the wonders of nature come to life in the form of enchanting river spirits and the river goddess Gwy. We guide you through the art of crafting these whimsical figures using found leaves, sticks, flowers, seeds, nuts and a touch of string magic. No two River Spirits are alike – express your individuality through your one-of-a-kind creation. All materials are provided.

6–8 years
Parents/carers must attend but do not need a ticket.
Sold out
Please log in to add this event to your wish list so we can notify you in case of further availability
ActivityMake & Take Crafting

Event MT17

Make & Take Crafting

Thursday Lunchtime Session

–  Make & Take Hub
Read more

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 1.5 hour duration. Accompanying adults: please stay in attendance at all times, but you do not require a ticket.

3–11 years
Price: £5.00
ConversationJohn Vaillant talks to Katherine Rundell

Event 233

John Vaillant talks to Katherine Rundell

Fire Weather

–  Discovery Stage
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In May 2016, Fort McMurray, Alberta, the hub of Canada’s oil industry, was overrun by wildfire. It was a multi-billion-dollar disaster that drove 88,000 people from their homes. Canadian writer and journalist John Vaillant talks to author Katherine Rundell about how we must prepare for a hotter, more flammable world. In Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World (winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2023) Vaillant delves into the intertwined histories of the oil industry and climate science, the unprecedented devastation wrought by modern wildfires and the lives forever changed by these disasters. John Vaillant is a best-selling author and freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and the Guardian, among others. As well as the Baillie Gifford Prize, Fire Weather also won Canada's Shaughnessy Cohen Prize, and was a finalist the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. A #1 bestseller in Canada, Fire Weather was also named one of the ten best books of 2023 by The New York Times, among many other prominent publications in Europe and North America.

Price: £13.00
TalkNatalie Haynes

Event 234

Natalie Haynes

Divine Might: Goddesses in Greek Myth

–  Global Stage
Read more

Festival favourite Natalie Haynes returns with a fresh dose of mythological musings. From Artemis to Aphrodite and Hera to Hestia, the bestselling author of Pandora’s Jar and Stone Blind brings formidable Greek goddesses the attention they deserve. These goddesses are as mighty, revered and destructive as their male counterparts. Isn’t it time we looked beyond the columns of a ruined temple to the awesome power within?

ConversationAkshat Rathi and Hannah Ritchie talk to Bronwyn Wake

Event 235

Akshat Rathi and Hannah Ritchie talk to Bronwyn Wake

The John Maddox Conversation: Capitalism and the Climate

–  Meadow Stage
Read more

Two experts on green capitalism discuss its limits and possibilities with Bronwyn Wake, Editor in Chief of Nature Climate Change. Rathi is an award-winning senior reporter for Bloomberg News and host of climate podcast Zero. In Climate Capitalism: Winning the Global Race to Zero Emissions he looks at stories that bring people, policy and technology together, suggesting that the green economy is not only possible, but profitable. Dr Ritchie is senior researcher in the Programme for Global Development at the University of Oxford, as well as deputy editor and lead researcher at the highly influential online publication Our World in Data, which brings together the latest data and research on the world’s largest problems and makes it accessible for a general audience. Her latest book is Not the End of the World: How We Can be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet.

Price: £11.00
PerformanceWelsh National Opera Recital

Event 236

Welsh National Opera Recital

–  Exchange Marquee
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Don’t miss this recital performance and conversation with singers from Welsh National Opera’s young artists programme. The musicians perform a mix of well loved opera classics and some traditional Welsh folk music, accompanied by WNO players. A conversation with the artists offers the chance to find out more about life on the road with the UK’s largest touring opera company.

Sold out
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PerformanceLeonore Piano Trio

Event 237

Leonore Piano Trio

BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert 4

–  St Mary’s Church
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A BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concert series marking the centenary of Gabriel Fauré’s death. In this last of four recitals recorded for broadcast, the Leonore Piano Trio performs Fauré’s Piano Trio in D minor, Op 120 and Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor.

Recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Please arrive in good time.
Sold out
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TalkDaisy Dunn

Event 417

Daisy Dunn

The Missing Thread

–  Global Stage
Read more

Spanning 3,000 years, from the birth of Minoan Crete to the death of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome, The Missing Thread: A New History of the Ancient World Through the Women Who Shaped It is a new history of the ancient world told, for the very first time, through women. For centuries, men have been writing histories of antiquity filled with warlords, emperors and kings. But when it comes to incorporating women, aside from Cleopatra and Boudica, writers have been more comfortable describing mythical heroines than real ones. While Penelope and Helen of Troy live on in the imagination, their real-life counterparts have been relegated to the margins. In The Missing Thread, Daisy Dunn inverts this tradition and puts the women of history at the centre of the narrative.

Dr Daisy Dunn is an award-winning classicist and author. Her previous book, Not Far From Brideshead: Oxford Between the Wars, was selected for Radio 4’s Open Book and longlisted for the Runciman Award. Her In The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times and a book of the year in several outlets.

This has replaced event 234 with Natalie Haynes
Price: £13.00
ConversationJacqueline Wilson

Event F54

Jacqueline Wilson

The Girl Who Wasn’t There

–  Wye Stage
Read more

Discover how the much-loved Dame Jacqueline Wilson started her writing career, how she created some of her best-loved characters and hear all about her new book The Girl Who Wasn’t There – a story about siblings and friendship, with a hint of ghostliness! Former Children’s Laureate and author of over 100 books, Dame Jacqueline Wilson is one of Britain’s bestselling children’s authors. Best-known for characters such as Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather, she has legions of loyal fans in the UK and throughout the world.

There will be no signing after this event but printed signed bookplates will be available.

9+ years
Price: £7.00
ConversationNia Morais

Event F55

Nia Morais

Writing Ghost Stories

–  Spring Stage
Read more

Join Nia Morais (Bardd Plant Cymru 2023–2025) in this interactive workshop-style event, to write your own ghost story. You’ll learn how to create tension and atmosphere in your writing that will scare and delight your audience.

Please bring your own notebook and pen or pencil to this event.

12+ years
Price: £7.00
WorkshopIllustration Workshop: Wye Masquerade

Event W53

Illustration Workshop: Wye Masquerade

With the University of Worcester Illustration Department

–  Creative Hub
Read more

Make your own mask based on the nature, wildlife and folklore associated with the River Wye. Learn how to create a simple paper mask, which you can accessorise to make a river scene, an animal, a fish or a bird associated with the Wye, or the river goddess Gwy. All materials are provided.

7–9 years
Parents/carers must attend but do not need a ticket.
Price: £10.00
PerformanceHay Community Choir

Event 238

Hay Community Choir

–  Bookshop Garden
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Enjoy a half-hour open air performance between events. Singing is fun with Hay Community Choir – good for mental health, feeling you’re part of a whole. Come along and have a listen as the Choir share their joy in music.

Free – drop in
WorkshopThe Art of Decision-Making in the Face of Climate Change

Event 407

The Art of Decision-Making in the Face of Climate Change

A collaborative, real-world simulation

–  Meeting Place on Festival Site
Read more
Imagine a focus group created by escape room designers, where 12 players work
together to safeguard the future of a fictional company threatened by the impending and
uncertain impacts of climate change. That experience is called Do What You Must.

Participate in this entertaining, interactive workshop to uncover essential insights on how
groups work together and how the challenge of climate change requires us to
collaborate differently.

Participants will be guided through the 2-hour workshop by a team from the UCL Climate
Action Unit, which closes with a debrief with one of the co-creators of the experience:
Neuroscientist and Science Communicator, Dr Kris De Meyer.

Discover the art of decision-making in this beautifully created simulation from the critically
acclaimed digital storytelling studio Fast Familiar.
16+ years
This workshop is repeated on Thursday 30th, Friday 31st and Saturday 1st at 10am and 2pm
Sold out
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ConversationJay Blades talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

Event 239

Jay Blades talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

Life Lessons

–  Global Stage
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The host of The Repair Shop shares his inspirational words for making the very best of life. With characteristic warmth and humour, he talks about the life lessons that have helped him to find positivity and growth, no matter what he’s found himself facing. “It’s very easy to be passive in life and just do what you know. But you’ll be a lot more excited every day if you shape your own future.” After leaving school at 15 without qualifications, Blades eventually managed to study for a degree in criminology and philosophy at Buckingham University before finding his vocation in restoration. He is co-founder of the social enterprises Out of the Dark and Street of Dreams, working with disadvantaged young people.

Price: £13.00
ConversationHoward Jacobson talks to Georgina Godwin

Event 240

Howard Jacobson talks to Georgina Godwin

What Will Survive of Us

–  Wye Stage
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The Booker Prize-winning author of The Finkler Question interrogates the power of love to change your life, and vice versa, in his 17th novel What Will Survive of Us. Lily and Sam, both highly successful in their careers but marking time in relationships that have quietly expired, find a connection that makes them come alive again. As they begin to work together on the page and on screen, an affair takes hold that they are powerless to resist. Arriving in mid-life, their relationship opens unexpected new worlds. But what will happen to them when familiarity, illness and age begin to take their toll? Jacobson talks to the Monocle Radio Books Editor

Price: £13.00
PanelJoseph Coelho, Mererid Hopwood, Roy McFarlane and guests

Event 241

Joseph Coelho, Mererid Hopwood, Roy McFarlane and guests

Memories of Benjamin Zephaniah

–  Meadow Stage
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Birmingham-born performance poet, musician, professor, novelist and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah was ‘a hero to millions’ and a much-loved and respected performer at the Festival, counting among his many awards and accolades the Hay Festival Medal for poetry in 2021.

We assemble in memory of his life and his work. Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho, Welsh poet and Professor at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies Mererid Hopwood, poet, playwright and author of Living by Troubled Waters Roy McFarlane and friends together, through reading works by Benjamin Zephaniah and their own works in response, create a tribute to this exceptional and much-missed poet.

Sold out
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WorkshopCome and Sing with Welsh National Opera

Event 242

Come and Sing with Welsh National Opera

–  Exchange Marquee
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A wonderful opportunity to sing with musicians from Welsh National Opera. Come and learn some classic operatic repertoire in this fun, interactive workshop, suitable for all ages and with no singing experience needed. This is a family-friendly event where everyone is welcome. At the end of the workshop the WNO singers will answer all your questions in a Q&A session.

Sold out
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ConversationRobin Stevens

Event F56

Robin Stevens

The Ministry of Unladylike Activity 2: The Body in the Blitz

–  Discovery Stage
Read more

Bring your magnifying glasses to help Robin Stevens celebrate 10 years of her iconic Murder Most Unladylike series. Whether you’re part of the Detective Society, a Ministry Member or just want to join the party, come and hear all about Daisy and Hazel with Robin, and take a look forward to what’s next in the Ministry of Unladylike Activity.

8+ years
Price: £7.00
ConversationJulian Sedgwick and Chie Kutsuwada

Event F57

Julian Sedgwick and Chie Kutsuwada

100 Tales from the Tokyo Ghost Café

–  Spring Stage
Read more

Welcome to the Tokyo Ghost Café! Get your sketchbooks at the ready as author Julian Sedgwick and Manga artist Chie Kutsuwada take you on an incredible journey, introducing the weird and wonderful Japanese spirits, or yokai. Learn about their unique collaboration style, the influence of Japanese culture on their books and join in with live Manga drawing with Chie.

12+ years
Please bring your own sketchbook and pencils to draw along in this event.
Price: £7.00
WorkshopIllustration Workshop: River Warriors

Event W54

Illustration Workshop: River Warriors

With the University of Worcester Illustration Department

–  Creative Hub
Read more

The River Wye is under threat from pollution and environmental collapse. Become a River Wye Protector in this mixed media workshop, and design your own River Warrior to help preserve the magnificent Wye. All materials are provided.

10+ years
Parents/carers may attend (no ticket required), or sign children in/out.
Sold out
Please log in to add this event to your wish list so we can notify you in case of further availability
ActivityMake & Take Crafting

Event MT18

Make & Take Crafting

Thursday Afternoon Session

–  Make & Take Hub
Read more

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 1.5 hour duration. Accompanying adults: please stay in attendance at all times, but you do not require a ticket.

3–11 years
Price: £5.00
WorkshopPizza-making Workshop

Event W55

Pizza-making Workshop

Kitchen Garden Pizza

–  Family Garden
Read more

Come to the Family Garden for a pizza masterclass with Kitchen Garden Pizza. In this one-hour session your imagination and creativity will be fed along with your belly! You’ll get your hands messy with freshly grown and foraged ingredients, make and top your own dough and observe the pizzaioli at work at the wood-fired oven. And while you wait for your pizza to cook, you can decorate your own pizza box!
Dairy-free and gluten-free options available.

4+ years
Parents/carers must attend but do not need a ticket.
Sold out
Please log in to add this event to your wish list so we can notify you in case of further availability
PanelDanny Dorling, AC Grayling and Jess Phillips talk to Jennifer Nadel

Event 243

Danny Dorling, AC Grayling and Jess Phillips talk to Jennifer Nadel

Towards Compassionate Politics

–  Global Stage
Read more

Politics can often seem devoid of compassion, with the focus on systems over people, on making money over the needs of the vulnerable. With voter distrust of politics at an all-time high, it’s clear that our existing political systems are failing to deliver solutions to the multiple interlocking crises that our world faces. In this event, our panel members talk to journalist Jennifer Nadel about everything from the refugee crisis to wars across the world, how we can renew support for democratic ideals and what role compassion can play in creating a new political settlement that is inclusive, cooperative and effective in improving the lives of us all.

Dorling is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford. Grayling is a philosopher and principal of the New College of the Humanities at Northeastern University, London. Phillips is Labour Party MP for Birmingham Yardley.

Price: £15.00
Page  13 of 20