Join us to celebrate the winner of this £50,000 prestigious literary prize celebrating the best in non-fiction writing in conversation with Craig Brown, the 2020 Prize Winner.
The 2021 longlist is:
The 2021 shortlist will be announced on 15 October and the winner on 16 November.
Join us for a special event that blends the remarkable story of Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason with musical performances by two of her classically trained children.
House of Music is a moving and inspirational account of determination, music and love. It is a story about race, immigration and education.
The author reveals what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race. She looks back to 1963 when her mother, the 19-year-old daughter of a Welsh family, defied everyone and sailed off to join her fiancé and his family in Sierra Leone. Kadiatu talks to the broadcaster and writer Francine Stock and will then be joined on stage by Aminata (violin) and Konya (piano) who will perform the following:
Aminata: Bach – Presto from Sonata no. 1
Konya – Schubert: Impromptu Opus 90, no. 4
Aminata and Konya – Mozart violin sonata no. 1, K301, 1st movement
Join the TV presenter on a whistlestop tour around the world and through a million years to explain how human history pieces together. He shares some of his favourite moments, from Genghis Khan's domination on Earth to Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon, and from the advent of the printing press to the birth of the internet. He talks to journalist Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland: Why Thieves And Crooks Now Rule The World And How To Take It Back.
Behind everything we eat there are people, places and stories. When we lose diversity in our food we threaten, also, the culture and history of the land and people who produce it. As the world becomes increasingly homogenous, preserving these things – keeping hold of diversity – matters. The presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme explores the foods around the world that are threatened with extinction, examining what this means for humanity and the future of the planet.
Dan is in conversation with Kate Humble, farmer, writer, activist, entrepreneur and one of the UK's best-known TV presenters.
Join the author and journalist (Observer, FT Weekend Magazine) as she explores family secrets, motherhood, grief and identity in her third novel. Gripping and emotionally charged, it has been praised by a host of writers, including Rachel Joyce, Marian Keyes and Ruth Jones. Her previous books are If Only I Could Tell You and The Dead Wife’s Handbook.
The comedian, writer and broadcaster quickly abandoned science at school, bored by a fog of dull lessons and intimidated by the barrage of equations. But 20 years later he presents one of the world's most popular science podcasts, The Infinite Monkey Cage. He explains why scientific wonder isn't just for the professionals and why curiosity in the field sparks humility. A positive and optimistic look at the world of science, in conversation with the classicist, writer and comedian Natalie Haynes.
Born into a working-class Glaswegian family in 1961, this memoir begins in a district soon to be evacuated in Prime Minister Edward Heath's brutal slum clearances. Leaving school at 16 and going to work as a printers' apprentice, Bobby's rock ’n’ roll epiphany arrives like a bolt of lightning during a Thin Lizzy gig at the Apollo in Glasgow. His destiny is sealed with the arrival of the Sex Pistols and punk rock, which to Gillespie represents class rebellion, and leads to him becoming an artist in Primal Scream, the most innovative British band of the 1990s.
Tenement Kid is a book filled with the joy and wonder of a rock ’n’ roll apostle who would reshape British pop. Published 30 years after the release of Screamadelica, it illuminates a decade lost to Thatcherism and saved by acid house.
Henry Blofeld led the commentary on Test Match Special for five decades, before retiring four years ago. He was inspired to delve into past triumphs and near-misses of historic matches when re-reading Newbolt’s 1892 poem Vitai Lampada, about a cricketing schoolboy’s commitment to duty, both on the pitch and in the field of battle.
Ten to make and the match to win—
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
Blofeld brings to life 30 Test Match cliff-hangers, ranging from the match-winning bowling of Australia’s F. R. Spofforth against W.G. Grace’s England in 1882, via the first tied Test between Benaud's Australia and Worrell’s West Indies in 1960, to the never-say-die batting of Ben Stokes in 2019. He revisits less celebrated matches such as South Africa's hard-fought first Test win in 1906, a crucial innings from Denis Compton in 1948, and a match-saving performance by a young Alan Knott in Guyana in 1968.
He talks to cricket writer Peter Hayter who has ghost-written books with Ian Botham, Phil Tufnell and Marcus Trescothick.
The world will have been in Glasgow at COP26 in early November, thrashing out how we can reduce, manage and mitigate the impacts of climate change. We know that this is going to require a major shift in the way we live, work and play. Our expert panel looks at key decisions made at COP26 and discusses the role of creativity, design, storytelling and innovation in conveying the issues and ultimately influencing behavioural change.
Owen Sheers is a poet, playwright, author and screenwriter including most recently The Trick - The ClimateGate Affair, Amika George is the founder of the Free Periods campaign and author of Make it Happen - How To Be An Activist, Sophie Howe is the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. They talk to Hay Festival's Sustainability Director, Andy Fryers.
From the author of The Templars comes the story of how our world was built, exploring the rise of the West to global domination, from a state of crisis and collapse. He identifies three key themes underpinning this achievement: commerce, conquest and Christianity.
Hallie Rubenhold is an author, social historian, broadcaster and historical consultant for TV and film.
Climate change is the defining issue of our time. And just as it is accelerating, so too must we summon up a greater sense of urgency. The good news is that we still have time to address the challenge, if we move now – and move together. The co-founder of sustainable development charity Forum for the Future explores the positives of new technology, innovation, activism of young people – and the growing sense of solidarity between generations as young and older grasp their obligation to secure a safer world.
Jonathon Porritt was Director of Friends of the Earth 1984–90, co-chair of the Green Party 1980-83 and from 2000-2009 was Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission.
Hannah Martin is the Co-Executive Director of Green New Deal UK.
A conversation with two masters of fiction. Moss’ latest novel is the pandemic-inspired The Fell, and Hall’s Burntcoat was also written in lockdown, focusing on the story of two new lovers confined. They discuss their new works and reflect on the role of fiction in challenging times.
Moss’ previous books include a memoir of her year living in Iceland, Names for the Sea, and novels Summerwater, Cold Earth, Night Waking, Bodies of Light, Signs for Lost Children, The Tidal Zone and Ghost Wall.
Hall has written five novels and three short-story collections. Twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize, she is currently the only author to be four times shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award, which she won in 2013 with Mrs Fox and in 2020 with The Grotesques.
Toby Lichtig is assistant editor at the Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
Fascism is back. In January 2021, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. From Brazil to India to Sweden, the Far Right is on the rise. Fascism is not a horror that we have left in the past; it is a recurring nightmare that is happening again – and we need to find a better way to fight it. The new Far Right is organisationally small, but its ideologies and symbols are proliferating across networks and social media, into the lives of ordinary people.
The author and broadcaster offers a radical, hopeful blueprint for resisting and defeating the new Far Right. His book is both a chilling portrait of contemporary fascism – what fascists believe and how they operate today – and a compelling history of the fascist phenomenon: its psychological roots, political theories and genocidal logic. He argues that fascism is a symptom of capitalist failure, and one that continues to haunt us.
Come and join the party as Hay welcomes everyone to the beginning of the festive season with music and food and good cheer, and the turning-on of the Christmas lights by a celebrity guest.
Spend an evening in the company of one of Britain’s favourite (and naughtiest) actors and national treasures, as she shares stories from her remarkable life. The BAFTA-winning creator of a myriad of unforgettable characters from Lady Whiteadder to Professor Sprout, is one of the most recognisable performers working today. Now, at 80, she has finally decided to publish her memoir.
She talks to the classicist, writer and comedian Natalie Haynes.
BBC Music Introducing in Hereford & Worcester supports the very best new music from across the region. Since 2005, it has broadcast nearly two thousand sessions, showcasing some of the area’s most talented musicians. Chart-topping success stories include Kington’s Ellie Goulding, Bewdley’s Becky Hill and Weobley’s 220 Kid (who used to work at The Swan Hotel in Hay).
Andrew Marston hosts some of the finest acts discovered over lockdown: “In just seven days, more than 10,500 artists uploaded their music to BBC Music Introducing across the UK,” he says. “We’ve struggled to fit all of our favourite acts into the eight hours of music we generate every single week, so I’m excited to be bringing some of these to Hay.”
The show includes one interval.
Father Richard Williams’ film nights are renowned. Parish priest in Hay since 2001, he trained as a professional musician at Trinity College of Music, London, studying piano, organ and composition. His offering this Winter Weekend in the late Georgian-Gothic setting of St Mary’s Church is a live accompaniment on the Bevington organ to the classic 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene, written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer.
At a fairground, a Dr Caligari has a somnambulist, Cesare, who can predict the future. When a young man visits him and asks how long he will live, the answer is until dawn…
Our Festival guests review the weekend papers, reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to 2022. They talk to journalist and author of Strong Female Lead, Arwa Mahdawi. Strong coffee recommended.
From Charlie and Lola and Ruby Redfort to Hubert Horatio, Child has created some of the best known characters in children’s books today. This year, Clarice Bean, the irrepressible star of books that have sold more than six million copies worldwide, returns in a brand new tale. The author discusses her themes and inspiration with radio and TV presenter Gemma Cairney.
The changing seasons of the year are an endless source of strangeness and wonder. This book invites you to experience spring, summer, autumn and winter through 14 different voices. Greet the arrival of spring in East London with a Cambodian New Year's dance; watch sea otters at play in the summer sun; gather armfuls of hops in a romany song to the autumn; yield to the icy stillness of winter in the Cairngorms or pine for the ‘sun-drunk’ days of a Jamaican childhood.
With a foreword by Bernardine Evaristo and contributions from Jackie Kay, Kaliane Bradley, Pippa Marland, Testament, Michael Malay, Tishani Doshi, Jay Griffiths, Luke Turner, Anita Roy, Raine Geoghegan, Zakiya McKenzie, Alys Fowler, Amanda Thomson and Simon Armitage, this almanac reflects not only the diversity of the writers featured, but our endlessly changing natural world.
To whet your appetite, there will also be 5 Winter Warmer events to watch and enjoy online featuring Matt Haig, Steven Pinker, Bill McKibben, Siri Hustvedt and the 2021 Booker Prize winner. These events will be free for everyone to watch and will be available online on our website from 15 November.