Diana Evans, whose 2018 novel Ordinary People won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature, returns with a new London-set story, A House for Alice. Following a family whose matriarch, the titular Alice, decides after 50 years of living in London that she wants to live out the rest of her days in the land of her birth – Nigeria – the novel is a look at family secrets and tensions set against the shadows of the Grenfell disaster and a country in turmoil. Dani Shapiro’s most recent novel Signal Fires is a meditation on family, memory, and the healing power of interconnectedness, telling the story of two families bound together in ways they never could have imagined.
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.
The authors of The Science and Art of Dreaming explain the psychology and neuroscience of dreaming. They describe how dream-sharing increases empathy between people, and explore art and surrealism. Mark Blagrove is a professor of psychology at Swansea University specialising in the study of sleep and dreams. Julia Lockheart set up the Metadesign Research Centre at Swansea College of Art and in 2016 began an art science collaboration with Blagrove.
Actor Tovey and Diament, director of the Carl Freedman Gallery and Counter Editions in Margate, discuss some of the most profound, interesting, moving, funny and informative moments from their popular Talk Art podcast. Exploring the inspirations, art experiences and favourite artists of a fascinating range of creative people from Grayson Perry to Elton John, Tracey Emin to Paul Smith, this is a down-to-earth discussion about art, accessible to everyone. Tovey is an actor best known for appearing in The History Boys, Being Human and American Horror Story. Before working in art, Diament was lead singer of electro-pop band Temposhark.
Get stuck in with this special, hands-on event with the acclaimed potter, former contestant on The Great Pottery Throwdown and author of The Potter’s Way: Heal your Mind and Unleash your Creativity through the Power of Clay. Florence St George, who took up pottery after feeling lost after the birth of her daughter, will demonstrate how to make a pinch pot. Audience members can join in using air clay that can be taken away and dried at home.
Join us for a wild literary fleadh (festival) to celebrate the republication of Timothy O’Grady and Steve Pyke’s photographic novel Could Read the Sky after 26 years, and the paperback publication of Patrick McCabe’s magnificent shape-shifting epic, Poguemahone. McCabe and O’Grady will dissect the complex relationship between Ireland and Britain, from the largely invisible lives of workers who built the roads and railways, to the songs and folklore both cultures share, and the long and bitter history of violence which has often obscured this deeper cultural exchange. Their conversation will be punctuated by readings from both books.
Turner Prize-winner and maverick artist Tracey Emin experienced an unexpected and extraordinary creative rebirth after being diagnosed with bladder cancer, having the organ removed and being fitted with a stoma. She talks candidly to Dylan Jones, former editor of GQ magazine, about her work, career and brush with death. Emin, once known as the enfant terrible of the Young British Artists in the 1980s, is now a Royal Academician, and in 2011 was one of the first two women professors since the Royal Academy’s founding in 1768. Jones’ latest book is Faster Than a Cannonball, an oral history of the music of 1995.
Learn how to pay attention to the world like an artist, with Will Gompertz and Jeremy Deller. Gompertz’s See What You’re Missing: 31 Ways Artists Notice the World – and How You Can Too takes us into the minds of artists to show us how to look and experience the world with their heightened powers of perception. Gompertz spent seven years as a director of the Tate Galleries followed by 11 years as the BBC’s Arts Editor, and is now artistic director at the Barbican. Deller is one of Britain’s great contemporary artists, and in Art is Magic brings together for the first time key works from his career alongside the art, pop music, film, politics and history that have inspired him. He won the Turner Prize in 2004 for his work ‘Memory Bucket’. They talk to Katy Hessel, author of The Story of Art Without Men.
Three exciting South Asian storytellers perform and speak about their work. Zia Ahmed is a poet and writer hailing from North-West London, a former Poetry Slam Champion at Roundhouse London, whose Peaceophobia won Best Stage Production 2022 at the Asian Media Awards. Reeta Loi is a Buddhist, Dalit and queer Indian woman raised in the UK whose new show takes the audience on a journey spanning 15 years. Hussain Manawer is a British mental health activist, poet and writer born and raised in East London, and a globally renowned mental health activist. The trio speak to BBC broadcaster and DJ Bobby Friction, who co-founded Going South with Chris Tofu and Ajay Chhabra to support South Asian artists.
Women artists currently make up just 1% of the National Gallery collection in London, while 2023 marks the first time the Royal Academy of Arts has ever hosted a solo exhibition by a woman – Marina Abramović – in their main space. Curator and art historian Katy Hessel, who created the @thegreatwomenartists Instagram account, challenges the art canon as we know it and showcases the female and gender non-conformist artists who are so often excluded from the history books, shining a spotlight on the glittering paintings of Sofonisba Anguissola of the Renaissance, the radical work of Harriet Powers in the nineteenth-century US, the astonishing work of post-war artists in Latin America and the women artists defining art in the 2020s.
Alien deity, drag queen, academic and idealist – Cheddar Gorgeous is the entertaining, hilarious and breathtaking star of Channel 4’s Drag SOS and BBC’s RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Amplified to the mainstream through sensational TV performances, their roots grew from underground queer club culture and activism. The depth and breadth of their take on the power of drag has created their reputation as an educator of the more serious and complex dimensions of queer culture. Affectionately referred to as Dr Cheddar Gorgeous on the latest season of Drag Race, Cheddar (aka Dr Michael Atkins) has cemented their position as one of the nation’s most beloved drag queen mentors. In this live show they return to the boards, bringing their performative take on masculinity with a full artistic vision.