Welcome to our programme for Hay Festival 2023.
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Hear the very best new music from across the region in this BBC Music Introducing showcase from BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester.
Develop your illustration skills at this masterclass in collaging for grown-ups, delivered by Hay Festival 2023 Illustrator in Residence Beth Suzanna. You’ll work with Beth through a series of quick exercises and collage techniques to explore your body language and minuscule quirks and create a piece of art that captures your essence in a self-portrait.
Beth has collaborated with hip hop star, actor and writer Jordan Stephens on a children’s book The Missing Piece, published in 2022 – you can see them talking about their collaboration in an event on Sunday 28 May, 10am.
Collaging materials will be provided but feel free to bring your own along.
Our politics – and our politicians – can seem chaotic and confusing, so how do we make sense of what’s happening? Daniel Finkelstein, who has had a long political career in the Conservative Party and who now works as a journalist for The Times, Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, John Crace, parliamentary sketch writer for the Guardian, and editor and journalist Baroness Rosie Boycott help us understand British politics today.
Twitter’s unofficial poet laureate Brian Bilston presents an hour of poetry and laughter as he reads from work including his latest book Days Like These. Expect poems that will take the blues out of Monday, flatten the Wednesday hump and amplify that Friday feeling, from January through to December.
MP Jesse Norman’s witty historical novel The Winding Stair is the story of the rivalry between scholar Francis Bacon and Edward Coke, already acclaimed as the greatest lawyer of his generation. As Queen Elizabeth I is dying and James I waiting to accede, Bacon and Coke are locked in a bitter struggle for influence and power in the palaces, parliaments and royal courts. Norman, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire and currently Minister of State in the Department for Transport, discusses combining history and fiction to create a tale of political machinations.
Norman is in conversation with award-winning historian, author, and broadcaster Professor Suzannah Lipscomb.
What would we think if we saw the wonderful things around us without our cultural filters? And how would we behave? In Do Not Call The Tortoise our own Festival Bookseller, Gareth Howell-Jones, explores these questions with essays on ignorance, Darwin, Coleridge, cats and even, rather daringly, the meaning of life. He discovers a radical, fresh perspective called STA, an attempt to see the wonders around us without our cultural preconceptions. “I am a great believer in STA. It is more than a book and has enriched my life deeply” – Max Porter. Gareth will be talking to Horatio Clare, author of Heavy Light: A Journey Through Madness, Mania and Healing and The Light in the Dark.
Visionary singer, cultural ambassador and epic storyteller Baaba Maal performs his definitive tracks and music from his latest album, Being. Born in Senegal, and growing up inspired by indigenous African music, American R&B, soul, jazz, reggae and blues, Maal defied expectation to become a musician. Through the 1970s and 1980s he developed a distinctive sound that fused traditional African instruments with an adventurous electronic approach. He has collaborated with artists including Mumford & Sons, and helped Ludwig Goransson create the sound of Marvel’s Afrofuturistic Black Panther films.
Vallance became a familiar face to many during the pandemic lockdowns, offering jargon-free knowledge and reassurance to the public at a time of uncertainty. He talks to doctor and journalist Clarke about why we should collectively and persistently care about science, advocating for citizens to demand that the government always consider science all the time. Vallance was the government’s chief scientific adviser and national technology adviser until April this year. He had a prominent role during the pandemic and has led the enhancement of science, technology and innovation capability within government.
Celebration Day on 28 May is an initiative to put aside one day a year to celebrate people we’ve lost and have loved or have had a huge impact on our lives. To talk about why we need new ways of talking about death and grief, our panel discuss their experience of loss.
In 2006, Mackintosh and her husband took the difficult decision to remove life support from their critically ill son and her novel After the End explores this situation through the filter of fiction. Her memoir I Promise it Won’t Always Hurt Like This: 18 Assurances on Grief will be published in 2024. James McConnel is a musician, composer and performer, part of the Kit & McConnel cabaret act, and author of Life Interrupted, about growing up in the shadow of the death of his sister. His cabaret partner Kit Hesketh-Harvey recently passed, and he lost his 18-year-old son to heroin. Yousefzada is a writer, artist and designer who recently published a memoir, The Go-Between. He is also working on a series of poems and a new book about grief following the death of his mother a year ago. Pickering is a speaker and grief investigator who lost her eldest son Harry in 2000. She is author of When Grief Equals Love.
There is one question that Butler-Gallie is asked regularly: “What made you become a priest?” Talking to journalist and editor Alex Clark about his irreverent memoir Touching Cloth: A Year in the Life of a Young Priest, he reveals what it’s like to become a young priest in the 21st century, correcting misconceptions about his vocation with humour and a light touch. From sharing stories about unusual problems with parishioners to how to keep a straight face when someone is inadvertently hot-boxing a funeral, Butler-Gaillie’s book is also a love letter to the Church of England and to the community of people who keep it going.
Broadcaster, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes takes us on a fast-paced tour through the history of Medusa and shows how to survive contact with someone who can turn you to stone with a glance.
A ‘rock star mythologist’ in the words of the Washington Post, Haynes is well-versed in taking a fresh look at the ancient world for her BBC Radio 4 show Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics. Her stand-up routines about figures from ancient Greece and Rome bring a new comedy to the world of retellings. Haynes’ books include A Thousand Ships, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her new show Stone Blind is inspired by her latest novel of the same name.
Start your day with a morning yoga class designed to reinvigorate your energy and spirit. Enjoy a grounding, energising, alignment‐based yoga practice, using the breath and sound to rediscover and rejuvenate the body and mind. Beginners and experienced students are most welcome. Yoga mats and props are provided.
Please contact Kanga Wellbeing on email@example.com for any questions relating to these classes. As capacity is limited, we recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.
Kanga Wellbeing will also be onsite throughout the Festival offering wellbeing and a wide range of holistic massage therapies. Therapies will be held in cosy lotus belle tents with heaters and fans. For more information or to book, please visit www.kangaevents.com/hay-
Bring your best ideas to this solutions-focused workshop session. Facilitated by sustainability entrepreneur Andy Middleton, Chief Exploration Officer at the TYF Group, and joined by Philip Lymbery, Global CEO of farm animal welfare charity, Compassion in World Farming International and Jane Davidson, former Chair of the Wales Inquiry of Food, Farming and Countryside Commission and current Chair of Wales Net Zero 2035, we’ll look at the key issue of food. We’ll discuss the scale of the issue and a range of solutions, how to action them, how they might impact on their lives and how to manage the change.
Food supplies are under intense pressure and what we’ve taken for granted is no longer guaranteed. To continue functioning, local economies and sustainable livelihoods must be able to thrive, both in the UK and all producer countries. Plant and animal diversity, as well as the welfare of farmed and wild species, must be protected. How can we design a food production system that reverses damage to nature and restores climate balance?
This workshop is part of our Hay Festival Planet Assembly, a daily, inclusive conversation over ten days involving lay people, scientists, commentators and experts. We want to empower everyone to be accelerators and multipliers for the dramatic policy transformations that are needed immediately to tackle the acute climate and biodiversity emergencies.
The world today – what would Dickens say? Barbara Kingsolver talks to Tom Sutcliffe about her retelling of David Copperfield: her eponymous hero must struggle to survive amid America’s opioid crisis. Michael Rosen has imagined his own modern Oliver Twist and reflects on the unspoken grief and trauma of recent years. And while Natalie Haynes’s favourite Dickens adaptation is The Muppet Christmas Carol, she explores how the telling and retelling of stories and ancient myths shines a light on our contemporary world.
Come to Andrew and Rachel Giles’ farm with local vet Barney Sampson and agronomist Jonathon Harrington to see how their herd of dairy cows produce most of their milk from grass. You can enter the milking parlour and help to milk some of the cows, as well as see the young calves. Learn how the cows are fed and find out how their four stomachs enable them to digest grass. You can taste samples of the dairy products, and a local cheese maker will explain the art and science beneath the rind.
With thanks to Andrew & Rachel Giles for welcoming us to their farm.
Please wear walking boots or Wellingtons and waterproof clothing in case of inclement weather. These are visits to real working farms and are suitable for anyone interested in learning more about food and farming. Families are welcome but children must be supervised at all times.
There are few people better placed than Kate Bingham, Ilan Gur and Patrick Vallance discuss the role of science in tackling future health challenges. As chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, Bingham was responsible for making sure the Covid-19 vaccine was administered as fast as possible to as many people as possible, a task she recounts in The Long Shot. She has spent 30 years in biotech investing, which has resulted in the launch of eight drugs for the treatment of patients with inflammatory and autoimmune disease and cancer. Ilan Gur is CEO of ARIA, a research and development funding agency working to further the UK’s world-class research capacities and supporting transformative science to change the way we live. Vallance served as the government’s chief scientific adviser until April this year, and became a familiar and reassuring face to many during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Before this Patrick was president for research and development at GlaxoSmithKline a key experience that meant he saw the need to create the Vaccine Taskforce in 2020.
Having spent a lifetime studying Europe, Timothy Garton Ash gives his account of a period of unprecedented progress on the continent, calling on citizens to understand and defend what we have collectively achieved in conversation. In conversation with writer and Institute of Human Science (Vienna) rector Misha Glenny, Garton Ash shares vivid experiences from his book Homelands, including his father's memories of D-Day, interviewing Polish dockers, Albanian guerrillas in the mountains of Kosovo, and angry teenagers in the poorest quarters of Paris, as well as advising prime ministers, chancellors and presidents.
Guides from the Brecon Beacons National Park will lead a gentle walk through the beautiful surrounds of Hay-on-Wye, joined by the BBNP Writer in Residence Rebecca Thomas.
Hay-on-Wye is based within 520 square miles of beautiful landscape that makes up Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park. The National Park is driving change to bring about a sustainable future, meeting our needs within planetary boundaries. Their Hay Festival series of gentle walks will take you into the town’s local environment while offering the opportunity to learn more about the Park’s work and its treasured landscape.
Please wear appropriate footwear and outdoor gear.
It’s 60 years since the publication of John Burningham’s touching tale, Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers. One of the goslings in Mr & Mrs Plumpster’s gaggle is born looking a bit different. Borka has no feathers and cannot fly. When winter comes the other geese fly off in search of warmer climates, leaving Borka all alone. Can she find her own place in the world?
Performing arts company Ignite Music celebrates the anniversary with a magical children’s opera based on Burningham’s book, by Tim Yealland and Russell Hepplewhite, including live music, puppetry and digital animation.
The story of animation stretches back to the early 1800s with the invention of spinning optical illusion devices such as the zoetrope. These days animation is everywhere from animated films, cartoons and GIFs to computer games and VR. But how did we get here? Learn about the origins of early animation and create your own loopy animation in this fun, hands-on workshop led by visual artists MASH Cinema.