The challenges for literary festivals are numerous, from considering questions around funding, sustainability and free expression to ensuring that festivals are open and welcoming to all, and promote fresh thinking and bold solutions to the problems society faces.
Join Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch for a special Hay Festival Winter Weekend forum discussing and imagining the future of festivals. Gain a preview of Hay Festival’s future plans, ask questions and share ideas.
Give an old book a new lease of life by turning it into a work of art. Paper artist Kate Kato leads a special workshop, where you will learn how to make a moth from the pages of an old book and get inspiration for future projects.
The event’s theme of moths is inspired by Hay Castle’s Dark Skies exhibition and all materials are provided.
Kato uses discarded paper, wire and thread to make intricate, life-sized sculptures of plants, insects and more from the natural world.
Dark days, cold temperatures and unfriendly weather don’t mean your garden doesn’t have potential in winter. Author and award-winning garden designer Naomi Slade shares tips on getting the most out of your green space in the winter months.
Addressing the fundamentals of winter gardening, Slade will offer recommendations on the flowers, plants and vegetables you can grow, and show you how to make your garden useable and enjoyable.
Slade, a journalist, author, designer and consultant, celebrates the coldest season in her book RHS The Winter Garden, revealing how to reclaim the outdoors. She is the author of a number of books and has won awards for her garden displays.
She talks to freelance writer and green consultant Kitty Corrigan.
In September 1943, as the Second World War raged on, the Allies crossed into Southern Italy, expecting to drive the Axis forces north and be in Rome by Christmas. Although Italy surrendered, the German forces resisted fiercely and the swift hoped-for victory descended into one of the most brutal battles of the war.
Holland takes a fresh look at the crucial first months of the Italian campaign, explaining why it took place, the wider context in which it was fought and the constraints and prime issues affecting both sides. An eye-opening talk about the devastating and destructive nature of war in Europe, Holland also looks at the conditions in which the campaign was fought and what it was like for those involved, whether Allied or German troops or Italian civilians.
Holland is a historian, writer and broadcaster and the author of a number of bestselling histories, including Battle of Britain, Dam Busters, Normandy '44 and, most recently, Brothers In Arms. He has also written historical fiction, and presented and written a number of television programmes and series for the BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic, and the History and Discovery channels.
A three-part documentary series based on his bestselling book Normandy '44 is currently on Amazon Prime.
Join Gaby Wood, chief executive of the Booker Prize Foundation, as she speaks to the six authors shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, just days before the winner is announced. The group discusses their work, the state of literature today, and what being nominated for the prize means to them.
The winner of the Booker Prize 2023 is announced on Sunday 26 November.
The leading literary award in the English-speaking world, the Booker Prize honours outstanding fiction and has the power to transform the winner’s career, as well as the lives of its longlisted and shortlisted authors. Recent winners of the prize include Shehan Karunatilaka, Bernardine Evaristo and Damon Galgut.
* Sarah Bernstein will join this event remotely and Chetna Maroo will make a digital pre-recorded appearance.
From the bestselling author, a blisteringly hilarious tour through the whirlwind of post-Brexit Britain, from the ousting of Boris to the dawn of a new era . . . sort of. Another month, another prime minister – how many have we been through now? Despite all the nonsense that has spewed forth from Westminster over the past two years, John Crace’s brilliantly lacerating political sketches have provided the nation with some desperately needed relief. In Depraved New World, Crace introduces a worryingly funny selection of his finest work, taking in everything from Partygate, BoJo’s farewell and Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous reign to the psychodrama of the Tory leadership contest(s), the return of Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman’s hokey pokey and whatever lies ahead.
Immerse yourself in the wisdom and nature of the past with writer Adam Nicolson as he talks about how ancient thinkers and the lands they inhabited can throw light on our deepest preconceptions.
The idea of the world used to be dominated by god-kings and their priests, until the ancient Greeks began to change that way of thinking. Through the questioning voyager Odysseus, Homer explored how we might navigate our way through the world, while Xenophanes of Colophon was the first champion of civility and in Lesbos the early lyric poets asked how they could remain true to themselves.
Grounded in the belief that places give access to minds, Nicolson’s How to Be: Life Lessons from the Early Greeks reintroduces us to our earliest thinkers through the lands they lived in.
Nicolson is the prizewinning author of books on history, landscape, and great literature. He talks to historian, author and broadcaster James Holland.
In this intimate event, join Tom True, the executive director of Hay Castle, to watch the switching on of the Christmas lights from the viewing platform at the top of Hay Castle’s historic Norman tower. Champagne and canapés are included in the ticket price.
Turmoil, scandal, rule-breaking: three things that can sum up the state of British politics in recent years. Join historian and MP for Rhondda Chris Bryant and barrister and former MP and attorney general for England and Wales Dominic Grieve as they discuss with expert insight and honesty how the House of Commons and the Conservative Party can get themselves back on track.
In his book Code of Conduct, Bryant takes readers inside the Pugin-carpeted corridors of Westminster, from the prime minister's office to the Strangers' Bar, to examine every angle of parliamentary conduct and suggests how parliament might – at long last – get its house in order.
Grieve is one of the contributors to The Case for the Centre Right, edited by David Gauke, in which he and other leading figures on the centre right explore how the Conservative Party morphed into a populist movement and make the case for a return to the liberal centre right.
Bryant and Grieve talk to barrister and journalist Jennifer Nadel, leader of UK think tank Compassion In Politics.
Join Marcus du Sautoy for an interactive exploration of everyone’s favourite games. Gain the competitive advantage this festive season with tips and strategy to help you be crowned the winner of your next games night, whatever you’re playing.
From Monopoly and Connect 4 to chess and rock paper scissors, in Around the World in 80 Games du Sautoy shares straightforward mathematical tips to help you get the edge.
Do you have what it takes to pit yourself against the master mathematician?
Parish priest in Hay since 2001, Father Richard Williams trained as a professional musician at Trinity College of Music, London, studying piano, organ and composition.
In the late Georgian-Gothic setting of St Mary’s Church, Hay-on-Wye, he performs a live accompaniment on the Bevington organ to the classic 1923 silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, adapted from Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name.
Set in 15th-century Paris, the film follows Jehan, the evil brother of the archdeacon, as he lusts after a woman named Esmeralda and commands the hunchback Quasimodo to capture her. Military captain Phoebus also loves Esmeralda and rescues her, but an unlikely bond forms between Esmeralda and Quasimodo.
Just six places in the UK have International Dark Sky Reserve status, from where you can see unrivalled views of the beautiful night sky without light pollution; among them is Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, which Hay Castle sits on the edge of.
Join artist Judy Goldhill, astronomy professor Stephen Pompea, and Catherine Mealing-Jones, chair of the Bannau Brycheiniog Dark Skies board, as they discuss with architect and curator Ro Spankie the beauty and awe of our dark skies and why we should care about these spaces.