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.
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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 24

Miranda Aldhouse-Green and Daniel Morden

Enchanted Wales: Myth and Magic in Welsh Storytelling

 St Mary’s Church

Severed heads that can still talk, cauldrons with attitude, birds that can tell the future – the world of Welsh mythology is full of magic, heroes, tricksters and more.

In Enchanted Wales, Miranda Aldhouse-Green takes readers on a voyage through the key stories of Welsh mythic literature, and explores their ancient roots. The stories within Aldhouse-Green’s book explore our deepest questions about life and death, war and peace, and good and evil.

Storyteller Daniel Morden, the author of Strange Tales, brings the tales from Enchanted Wales to life.

Aldhouse-Green is professor emeritus at Cardiff University. A former president of the Prehistoric Society, she was the first recipient of the John Legonna Celtic Research Prize, awarded by the National Library of Wales in 1986.

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Event 25

Conn Iggulden

Nero: Proof Party

 Hay Castle - Clore Learning Space

Raise a glass to Conn Iggulden, one of the most successful authors of historical fiction writing today, at this very special proof party in Hay Castle. Conn will be giving an exclusive reading of Nero, the first instalment in his gripping new series about the Tyrant of Rome.

Nero’s mother Agrippina, granddaughter of Emperor Augustus, and sister of the brutal Emperor Tiberius is at the heart of this first instalment, which will be published in May 2024. She knows too well that the closer you are to the heart of the empire, the closer you are to power, intrigue and danger. But Agrippina sees that opportunity waits, even in your darkest moments. Her son is everything, and she can shape this boy into Rome itself – the one all must kneel before. But first, the two of them must survive.

This is a catered, standing reception and all attendees will receive a proof copy of the book.
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Event 28

Nii Ayikwei Parkes talks to David Olusoga


 Poetry Bookshop

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.

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Event 37

Stephen Fry

Mythos: The Illustrated Story

 Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage (Hay Castle)

Prepare to be spellbound as Stephen Fry introduces a new, illustrated, edition of his bestselling Mythos, which retells the stories of Greek heroes and deities.

Fry perfectly captures some of the best known myths, from the birth of Athena to the story of King Midas, for the modern age. Fry shows how these stories, passed down through millennia and inspiring writers and artists from Shakespeare to Walt Disney, are rich and deeply relevant to our lives.

Fry, president of the Hay Festival, is an award-winning comedian, actor, presenter and director. He is the bestselling author of four novels as well as three volumes of autobiography. Mythos, Heroes and Troy, his retelling of the Greek myths, are all bestsellers.

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