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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
At the centre of Louis de Bernières Light Over Liskeard is Q, whose work as a quantum cryptographer for the government has led him to believe a crisis is imminent for civilisation. Looking for a simpler life and somewhere to hide out, he buys a ruined farmhouse in Cornwall and begins to build his own self-sufficient haven, while meeting the eccentric characters who already live on the moors nearby. A heartwarming novel, Light Over Liskeard pokes fun at modern mores, and makes us reconsider what is really precious in our short and precarious lives.
de Bernières is the bestselling author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. His recent books include the short story collection Labels, the children's book Station Jim and the poetry collection The Cat in the Treble Clef.
He talks to author Kim Sherwood, whose books include Testament and the 007 universe novel Double or Nothing.
What is beautiful? How do we define beauty? And are our individual ideas of what is beautiful stripped away by collective notions? Prompted by getting her first tattoo at the age of 40, broadcaster and writer Afua Hirsch embarked on a journey to reclaim her body from the colonial ideas of purity, adornment and ageing she absorbed while growing up, recounted in her new book Decolonising My Body.
Gain a better understanding of the link between beauty and politics, and liberate yourself from mainstream beauty standards that aren't serving you as Hirsch talks about her personal experiences and more.
Hirsch is a bestselling writer, journalist, presenter, professor and broadcaster. She is the author of Brit(ish), which won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Prize for Non-Fiction. A former barrister, she has also worked in international development. She was the co-presenter of Samuel L. Jackson's major BBC TV series Enslaved in 2020. Hirsch is a columnist for the Guardian and appears regularly on the BBC, Sky News and CNN.
Hirsch is in conversation with historian, writer and broadcaster David Olusoga.
In The Farmer’s Wife: My Life in Days, Helen Rebanks takes readers from the farmhouse table of her grandmother, through a journey of self-discovery and into the rural Lake District home she now shares with her husband James Rebanks, four children and a plethora of animals.
In discussion with journalist and television presenter Louise Minchin, Rebanks shares stories about her life, loves and work, honestly and intimately meditating on the power of domestic life and encouraging us all to increase our appreciation of the natural world.
Join television presenter Louise Minchin and bike racer Lee Craigie for a celebration of women who have done extraordinary things.
Craigie is one of Scotland’s great bike racers, and tells the story of her life in her book Other Ways to Win. Growing up in Glasgow, she skipped French lessons after discovering the freedom of cycling, heading into the Campsie Fells to see just how far she could ride. Craigie recounts epic adventures along the Tour Divide, Silk Road and the Highland Trail 550, as well as key moments in her career, including representing Great Britain at the World Championships. Through it all, she examines themes of friendship, loss, identity and the power of the outdoors, reminding us that there is more than one way to win at cycling – and life.
Journalist Minchin, who served as chair of judges for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023 and is a World Championship Triathlete, celebrates the remarkable women who inspire her in her book Fearless. Embarking on adventures across the world, including free diving under the ice in the dark in Finland with the first female to swim a mile in the Antarctic Circle and swimming from Alcatraz with two teenage sisters who have braved the shark infested waters over 70 times, Minchin shows that extraordinary women, although little recognised and celebrated by our media and in our conversations, are everywhere.
Minchin and Craigie talk to author, former civil servant and journalist Ava Glass.
Join award-winning author and TV personality Oz Clarke on a journey through the ages as he explores the places, the people and the bottles that have shaped the captivating history of wine.
Starting as far back as 6000 BC and the probable birth of a wine culture in ancient Georgia, through the fact and fiction of Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome and to the trends and tribulations of now – including the devastation wildfires cause to winemakers– Clarke takes us on a whistle-stop tour of wine history, taken from his book Oz Clarke's Story of Wine.
Clarke is one of the world’s leading wine experts, known for his phenomenal palate, irreverent style, accurate predictions, and enthusiasm for life in general and wine in particular. He was awarded an OBE in 2020.
There will be a small glass of wine on arrival supplied by local wine merchant Tanners. Audience members will also be able to place orders after the event.
Journey to a mythical Caribbean island with Ghanaian-British writer, editor and publisher Nii Ayikwei Parkes, as he talks to historian David Olusoga about his book Azúcar.
The novel follows Oswald Kole Osabutey Jnr, known as Yunior, who travels to the island of Fumaz where the revolutionary philosophy of peopleism keeps its flame alive against the forces of an old-style command centre political bureaucracy and a stifling trade blockade from the big imperialist neighbour to the North. There, he meets Caribbean-American college student Emelina Santos, heiress of the Soñada dynasty, and in the ensuing years Yunior and Emelina travel divergent journeys through history, music, myth and heartbreak; confronting the question of what it means to belong to a place or to another person.
Ayikwei Parkes is one of the UK’s leading Black voices, winning critical acclaim as a poet, novelist, broadcaster, and children’s author. His 2020 poetry collection The Geez was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, shortlisted for the Walcott Prize and was a Poetry Book Society 2020 Recommendation.
Olusoga is a historian, writer and broadcaster whose books include Black Britain.
Working out what is true and what is real is more and more challenging in the supercharged socio-political times we live in. Join Reginald D. Hunter for an hour of exploring this phenomena.
American comedian Hunter has appeared on television shows including Never Mind The Buzzcocks, QI and Have I Got News For You? He also hosted BBC2’s Reginald D. Hunter’s Songs Of The South and Reginald D. Hunter’s Songs of The Border, documenting his epic road trip through 150 years of American popular song.
Reginald D.Hunter will be supported by Mad Ron (comedy creation of Steve Lee), the Third Hardest Man in Uxbridge who has taken the circuit by storm.
A trio of this year’s Hay Festival Thinkers in Residence – Laura Bates, Will Gompertz and David Olusoga – take stock of the biggest issues facing society today, following on from the expert insights shared at this summer’s Hay Festival.
The three discuss everything from what a new system for an integrated and respectful society would look like to how we go about rewriting history, and how we access, look at and assess modern art.
Bates is founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, a collection of experiences of harassment, discrimination and abuse. Her books include Men Who Hate Women and Fix the System, Not the Women.
Gompertz is the former artistic director at the Barbican and former BBC Arts editor and director of the Tate Galleries. He is the author of What are you Looking At? 50 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye.
Olusoga is professor of public history at Manchester University, a BAFTA award-winning documentary maker, broadcaster and writer, and the author of the award-winning Black and British.
They talk to broadcaster, writer and journalist Afua Hirsch.
Hay Festival’s Planet Assembly workshops, held every day during this year’s summer festival, brought together bold ideas around how to accelerate change needed to tackle our acute climate and biodiversity emergencies.
Laypeople, scientists, commentators, and experts put forward fresh thinking on facing climate change and its effects, and on how to look after our planet better.
At the Winter Weekend Workshop, we want to focus on what these big ideas mean for our own town of Hay-on-Wye, learning from others, sharing what is already happening and discussing what still needs to be done.
The Planet Assembly workshop is the next step in tackling the climate emergency, and is a chance to reconvene, discuss progress and re-energise.