Captivated by castles? Delighted by drawbridges? Then don’t miss Hay resident Mary Morgan and local historian Elizabeth Bingham’s talk on the violent histories of castles in and around Hay-on-Wye. The pair, who return to the Festival following last year’s popular talk on local churches, talk about Hay Castle and everything from partially ruined mottes and baileys to stone fortresses under constant threat from the Welsh, describing how some castles have adapted to a new phase in the 21st century.
Join actor Callum Scott Howells (It’s a Sin, Cabaret) and writer and director Luke Collins (Cappuccino, Swiped) as they present a screening of On the Black Hill, adapted from Bruce Chatwin’s 1982 novel, which tells the story of identical twin brothers who grow up on a farm in rural Wales and never leave home. Howells, nominated for a Bafta for his performance in It’s a Sin, and Collins, an award winner for his cinematography across two BBC short films, discuss Chatwin’s moving ability to explore the larger questions of the human experience and why the novel remains a classic piece of writing for the rural borderlands of Wales and England. Chaired by poet Owen Sheers. The discussion will last for around 45 minutes, followed by the one-hour film screening.
Put your questions about all things writing and publishing to an expert panel of publishers, authors and journalists, introduced by Cyhoeddi Cymru Publishing Wales and chaired by a media personality to be announced. The panel explores the challenges and opportunities facing Wales’ publishing sector, discusses Welsh identity and the growth of the Welsh language, multiculturism and diversity, and looks at how we can put Welsh publishing on the global map.
Explore the political, cultural and mythical history of Wales, and get a glimpse of what lies ahead for us all when it comes to climate change, with writers Tom Bullough and Julie Brominicks. In Sarn Helen, Bullough takes us on a walk along Sarn Helen – Helen’s Causeway – the old Roman Road that runs from the south of Wales to the north, weaving in conversations with climate scientists and showing the likely impact of climate change on Wales, while Brominicks celebrates the language, landscape, peoples and biodiversity of Cymru past and present in The Edge of Cymru, exploring themes of belonging and cymreictod (Welshness), trying to find clarity, courage and possibility in the environmental crisis.
Music has long been part of Wales’ national brand, and The Art of Music describes the visualisation of Welsh music and musicians. Peter Lord and Rhian Davies present a discussion of the trope of Welsh musicality between the mid-16th century and the present. Incorporating images and music, they analyse not only the evolution of the national brand but its political and social implications, especially in relation to the notion of British identity. Lord is best known for his books and television programmes about the history of Welsh art. Davies is a leading advocate of Wales’ musical heritage and promotes Welsh culture internationally.
Come and hear the writers share and discuss some of their recent work. The Hay Writers’ Circle is a dynamic group, active in Hay for more than 40 years. It offers three competitions annually for poetry, fiction and non-fiction, each of which is open to both members and non-members. There is an active work in progress group for those working on longer projects. The Circle has an ongoing, productive relationship with a local primary school.
A candid look into the literary life of Wales through the eyes of two men deeply connected to the words of the country. Dai Smith’s memoir Off the Track: Traces of Memory looks back at his time as a writer and historian, broadcaster, chair of the Arts Council of Wales, editor of the Library of Wales, chair of the Dylan Thomas Prize and editor of BBC Wales. Sam Adams’ Letters from Wales: Memories and Encounters in Literature and Life is a collection of his columns over 30 years in the poetry magazine PN Review, offering insights into the literary lives and culture of Wales.