Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2023

Welcome to the Winter Weekend 2023 programme. You can purchase individual tickets for in-person live events or, if you are unable to come to Hay, you can watch the festival from your own home with an Online Festival Pass.

Event 1

Sebastian Faulks talks to Adam Rutherford

The Seventh Son

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

Sebastian Faulks, bestselling author of Snow Country and Birdsong, returns to discuss his latest novel. The Seventh Son confronts prescient issues of surrogacy and medical ethics, weaving a literary thriller revolving around a megalomaniacal tech entrepreneur and a very special – and unusual – child.

When a young American academic Talissa Adam offers to carry another woman's child, she has no idea of the life-changing consequences. Behind the doors of the Parn Institute, a billionaire entrepreneur plans to stretch the boundaries of ethics as never before. Through a series of IVF treatments, which they hope to keep secret, they propose an experiment that will upend the human race as we know it.

Seth, the baby, is delivered to hopeful parents Mary and Alaric, but when his differences start to mark him out from his peers, he begins to attract unwanted attention.

The Seventh Son is a spectacular examination of what it is to be human. It asks the question: just because you can do something, does it mean you should? Sweeping between New York, London, and the Scottish Highlands, this is an extraordinary novel about unrequited love and unearned power.

Faulks talks to scientist, writer and broadcaster Adam Rutherford.

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Event 2

Danny Dorling and Tim Marshall talk to Oliver Bullough

Worlds Apart – Mapping Inequality

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

One of the UK’s leading geographers, Danny Dorling shows why we are growing further and further apart in his new book Shattered Nation. Looking at hunger, precarity, waste, exploitation and fear, Dorling looks at how Britain, once the leading economy in Europe, is now the most unequal and what we must do to save Britain from becoming a failed state.

Dorling is Halford Mackinder professor of geography at the University of Oxford, and regularly advises the government and the Office for National Statistics.

In Tim Marshall’s new book The Future of Geography, he tackles astropolitics, exploring how politics and geography are as important in the skies as on the ground, and what it all means for us on Earth.

Marshall is a leading authority on foreign affairs with more than 30 years of reporting experience from countries including Croatia, Bosnia, Israel, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He is the author of Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics and The Power of Geography: Ten Maps that Reveal the Future of Our World.

Offering powerful insights and giving us a new perspective on our world (and beyond), the pair speak to author and journalist Oliver Bullough.

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Event 101

Father Richard: Silent Film with Live Organ

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 St Mary’s Church

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.

This is an extra performance due to popular demand

This event includes an interval.
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Event 3

Julie Finch talks to Adam Rutherford

Hay Festival Open Forum

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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.

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Event C1

Book Art Workshop with Kate Kato

Make a Moth Out of Old Books

 Hay Castle - Clore Learning Space

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.

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Event 4

Naomi Slade talks to Kitty Corrigan

Gardening in the Dark

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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.

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Event 5

James Holland

The Savage Storm: The Battle for Italy 1943

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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.

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Event 6

Sarah Bernstein, Jonathan Escoffery, Paul Harding, Paul Lynch, Chetna Maroo and Paul Murray talk to Gaby Wood

Booker Prize Shortlist

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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.

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Event 102

John Crace talks to Rosie Boycott

Depraved New World: Please Hold, the Government Will Be With You Shortly

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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.

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Event 8

Adam Nicolson talks to James Holland

How to Be: Life Lessons from the Early Greeks

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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.

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Event 100

Hay Christmas Lights

 Memorial Square, Hay-on-Wye
5-7pm (6.30pm switch-on)

An evening of carol singing, food, mulled wine and festivities to switch on Hay's Christmas lights and celebrate the start of the Christmas season in our booktown.

Join Strictly winner Hamza Yassin who will do the honours alongside Hay-on-Wye's soon-to-be-announced Citizen of the Year.
The free switch-on event will take place in Memorial Square, where you will find hot food, mulled drinks, market stalls, Hay School Christmas fete, a steam engine Santa drive-by, Hay Fire Brigade, Santa's Post Box, Window Spotting competition, and more!

Food and drink provided by:

*Gibbons Hog Roast
*Origin Pizza
*Trigg Food
*Happy Dumplings 365
*El Coffee Shack
*Artistraw Mulled Cider
*Lucky 7 Brewery
*Tudor Brewery
*Korolov Juices
*Zoe Bakes

The event is co-hosted by Hay Town Council, Hay Chamber of Commerce and Hay Markets Ltd. Lighting up Hay for Christmas is made possible through the generous support of Hay's local businesses, individuals and funders.
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Event C2

Champagne and Christmas Lights from the Crow’s Nest

 Hay Castle - Viewing Platform

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.

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Event 9

Chris Bryant and Dominic Grieve talk to Jennifer Nadel

State of the Nation

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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.

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Event 10

Marcus du Sautoy

Games Night

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

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?

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Event 11

Father Richard: Silent Film with Live Organ

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 St Mary’s Church

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.

This event includes an interval.
This event has taken place

Event C3

Judy Goldhill, Catherine Mealing-Jones, Ro Spankie and Stephen Pompea

Dark Skies

 Hay Castle - Clore Learning Space

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.

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Event C4

Breakfast Tour with Tom True

Battles, Borders, Books and Breakfast

 Hay Castle - The Great Hall
Hay Castle’s executive director Tom True introduces the key moments and characters from the castle’s past over a continental breakfast. The event also includes an insight into Hay Castle’s Dark Skies exhibition.
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Event 12

Matt Lucas talks to Jenny Valentine

The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

Laugh your socks off and take part in a singalong with comedian, writer and actor Matt Lucas in this interactive event to introduce his new children’s book.

The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas is about Leo, a boy who wishes away Christmas. But when he wakes up to find Christmas really has disappeared, Leo sets out on a mission to undo his wish.

Lucas has recorded 20 original songs to accompany the book, bringing the joy of a musical to book form. Join Lucas for a singalong in this early festive treat.

He talks to children’s author Jenny Valentine.

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Event 13

Gelf Alderson talks to Meinir Howells

River Cottage Great Roasts

 St Mary’s Church

Chef Gelf Alderson gets mouths watering with a discussion about the new book from the legendary River Cottage restaurants. Alderson discusses how cooks can harness the power of the oven to transform good quality, everyday ingredients into their more deliciously caramelised, roasted counterparts. Whether you’re a gourmet chef or a humble home cook, Alderson offers up useful tips, tricks and recipes.

Alderson has been executive head chef of River Cottage for over 10 years and, during his time there, has worked with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to create the menus served in all six River Cottage restaurants. He talks to Welsh presenter and producer Meinir Howells.

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Event C5

Writing Workshop with Tiffany Murray

 Hay Castle - Clore Learning Space

An exclusive one day writing workshop exploring story writing, exploring themes from your own life and memories. If you have the urge to write but don’t know where to begin or have made a start but need fresh impetus to push on through to the end of a draft, this day is for you. Drawing on fiction and memoir, we will play with the toolbox a new writer needs: character, story, structure, and setting. Tiffany will lead you through practical writing exercises, and the day will be supportive, productive, creative, and fun.

Tiffany Murray’s memoir, My Family and Other Rock Stars is published by Little Brown in 2024. Her novels Diamond Star Halo, Happy Accidents and Sugar Hall, have variously been shortlisted for the Wodehouse Bollinger Prize and received the Roger Deakin Award for nature writing. Tiffany has been a Hay Festival Fiction Fellow, a Fulbright scholar, and a Senior Lecturer. Her series, ‘Hulda’s Café’ is available on BBC Radio 4.

The workshop is for adults only, and is limited to 12 people.

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