Hay Festival Podcast

Welcome to the Hay Festival Podcast, supported by our friends at Baillie Gifford, where we release remixed conversations with the world's greatest writers and thinkers from our festivals around the world.

You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever else you stream or download podcasts.

Social media: @hayfestival #ImagineTheWorld

Series Four

For Series 4 of the Hay Festival Podcast we have asked some of the speakers who will be appearing at Hay Festival 2021 to select their own personal Hay moments from the festival archive.
S4 Ep7 Liz Hyder

S4 Ep7 Liz Hyder

The award winning author of Bearmouth Liz Hyder selects Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane talking Lost Spells at the Winter Weekend 2020, the magnificent mathematician Marcus du Sautoy from Hay 2013, and the incomparable Lemn Sissay performing his poetry at Hay 2017.

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S4 Ep6 Guto Harri

S4 Ep6 Guto Harri

Journalist and broadcaster Guto Harri selects the magnificent Maya Angelou from Hay 2002, Dr David Jarret discussing a good death and Poet and Chair of Welsh and Celtic studies Mererid Hopwood exploring language at Hay 2020.

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S4 Ep5 Tahmima Anam

S4 Ep5 Tahmima Anam

Writer, novelist and columnist Tahmima Anam selects her very first Hay event back in 2012 with Helena Kennedy, Joan Bakewell, Martin Rees and Anita Anand, Shahidul Alam speaking at Hay Festival Dhaka in 2014 and the novelist, cultural commentator and founder of Palfest, Ahdaf Soueif talking to George Alagiah at Hay 2017.

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S4 Ep4 Natalie Haynes

S4 Ep4 Natalie Haynes

Writer, broadcaster and comedian Natalie Haynes has chosen Colm Toibin and Lisa Dwan giving a rehearsed reading of Pale Sister in 2018, Troy Story, the Trojan War from a female perspective, an event she presented with Chris Riddell at Hay 2020, and star gazer Maggie Aderin Pocock’s event from the Winter Weekend in 2018.

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S4 Ep3 Dylan Moore

S4 Ep3 Dylan Moore

Welsh writer and former Hay Festival International Fellow selects the inimitable American Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison from 2014, the much missed and remarkable Jan Morris from 2009 and a conversation he held with Diana de la Vega at Hay Festival Cartagena in 2019.

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S4 Ep2 Rosie Goldsmith

S4 Ep2 Rosie Goldsmith

Former BBC journalist, writer, presenter and director of the European Literature Network Rosie Goldsmith selects the incomparable Clive James from 2007, the Man Booker International Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk from 2010 and the David and Ben Crystal double act from the Winter Weekend in 2014.

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S4 Ep1 Danny Dorling

S4 Ep1 Danny Dorling

The Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford and author of Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration, selects Adam Rutherford on the Book of Humans from 2019, Matt Hancock talking to Amol Rajan pre-Covid in 2018 and Jeanette Winterson giving the Raymond Williams lecture in 2016.

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Series Three

In Series 3 of the Hay Festival Podcast we celebrate the Hay interviewer. We have asked some of our regular interviewers to choose their own personal Hay moments from the festival archive.

S3 Ep10 Laura Bates

S3 Ep10 Laura Bates

Founder of the Everyday Sexism project and author Laura Bates selects Jeanette Winterson talking Shakespeare from Hay 2016, Ali Smith’s 2005 interview with Francine Stock and writer and political activist Gloria Steinem from Hay Festival Digital 2020.

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S3 Ep9 Claire Armitstead

S3 Ep9 Claire Armitstead

Associate Editor for Culture at The Guardian Claire Armitstead selects poet, writer, musician and activist Akala, speaking about his memoir Native, Professor of Psychology Sarah-Jayne Blakemore on the secret life of the teenage brain, both from Hay 2018, and the award-winning Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh from 2019.

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S3 Ep8 Oliver Bullough

S3 Ep8 Oliver Bullough

Journalist and author Oliver Bullough selects the Serbian revolutionary Srdja Popovic from 2015, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexeivich and author Tom Bullough from Hay 2016, and the magical and musical Julia Donaldson from 2017.

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S3 Ep7 Kitty Corrigan

S3 Ep7 Kitty Corrigan

Magazine Journalist Kitty Corrigan selects nature writer and farmer John Lewis-Stempel from 2015, award-winning British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak from 2013, and one of the major poets of the 20th Century and Nobel Prize winner for literature, the magnificent Seamus Heaney from Hay Festival 2006.

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S3 Ep6 Dylan Jones

S3 Ep6 Dylan Jones

The author and editor of GQ selects the remarkable Tracy Emin speaking in 2017, Simon Schama on the Story of the Jews, an epic tale of endurance against destruction, from Hay 2014 and Brigadier James Cowan, who commanded the Black Watch in Iraq and the multinational 11 Brigade in Helmand from 2011.

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S3 Ep5 Francine Stock

S3 Ep5 Francine Stock

The writer and broadcaster selects Ted Hughes from 1998, reciting poetry while the wind battered the Hay marquees, the indomitable Jody Williams in 2013, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees in 2016 and the magnificent Maya Angelou from 2002.

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S3 Ep4 Stephanie Merritt

S3 Ep4 Stephanie Merritt

The best-selling historical thriller writer (SJ Parris) choices include Wallander author Henning Mankell from 2011, Toni Morrison talking about her novel Beloved in 2014 and the irrepressible Jilly Cooper from 2018.

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S3 Ep3 Sarfraz Mansoor

S3 Ep3 Sarfraz Mansoor

The journalist and author of Greetings from Bury Park selects three distinctive and distinguished actors; Harry Belafonte from 2012, Charlotte Rampling in 2017 and the inimitable Peter Falk speaking in 2007.

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S3 Ep2 Georgina Godwin

S3 Ep2 Georgina Godwin

The broadcast journalist chooses The Tiger who came to Tea author Judith Kerr speaking in 2017, Toni Morrison talking to Razia Iqbal in 2014 and her brother and author Peter Godwin speaking at Storymoja in Nairobi in 2013.

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S3 Ep1 Philippe Sands

S3 Ep1 Philippe Sands

The Professor of Law and author of Baillie Gifford Prize winning East West Street and Sunday Times bestseller The Ratline selects President Jimmy Carter from 2008, the Director of Public Prosecutions, now Leader of the Labour party, Keir Starmer speaking in 2012 and interpreter Amanda Galsworthy in 2013.

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Series Two

S2 Ep10 The Future of Europe

S2 Ep10 The Future of Europe

Five inspiring women writers Elif Shafak, Leila Slimani, Kapka Kassabova, Janne Teller and Hilary Cottam offer their visions for the future of Europe on the event of our digital Hay Festival Europa28.

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S2 Ep9 The Next Big Things – 10 Years of Emerging Science from the Royal Society

S2 Ep9 The Next Big Things – 10 Years of Emerging Science from the Royal Society

Royal Society Research Fellows Rachel Lowe, Gemma Modinos, Adi Kliot, Aquila Mavalankar, Nicole Grobert and Alicia El Haj discuss their work at the forefront of science.

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S2 Ep8 Theology

S2 Ep8 Theology

Desmond Tutu, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Gene Robinson, Marie-Elsa Bragg and Gene Robinson talk faith, tradition, conflict and hope.

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S2 Ep7 Education Education Education

S2 Ep7 Education Education Education

Tara Westover, author of bestseller Educated, teacher and author Margaret White and Senior Director of the Global Learning Lab and author of Natural Born Learners, Alex Beard explore how we learn.

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S2 Ep6 Ageing

S2 Ep6 Ageing

Journalist-politicians Joan Bakewell and Camilla Cavendish, and Sarah Harper, the Director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing, reflect on a time of super-centenarians, third and fourth ages, and what keeps us vital.

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S2 Ep5 Climate change in a time of Coronavirus

S2 Ep5 Climate change in a time of Coronavirus

Ed Hawkins, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, Nick Stern and Gabrielle Walker give some perspective on the ways in which the pandemic is changing the term of reference for dealing with the climate crisis.

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S2 Ep4 War Poetry

S2 Ep4 War Poetry

A reflection on poetry and the Great War, sampling the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour and our Armistice anthology, The Echoes Last So Long with actors Eileen Atkins and Dan Stevens and poets Margaret Atwood, Tishani Doshi, Mererid Hopwood, Ulrike Almut Sandig and Owen Sheers.

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S2 Ep3 Artificial Intelligence

S2 Ep3 Artificial Intelligence

A very brief introduction to machine learning, neural networks, darkest fears and wild intelligence as dreamed into being by Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing. Garry Kasparov and Stephen Fry, Beth Singler, James Scott, Ian McEwan, Marcus du Sautoy, Nigel Shadbolt and Margaret Boden share insights into Artificial Intelligence, fiction and (then) fact.

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S2 Ep2 Romeo and Juliet

S2 Ep2 Romeo and Juliet

Could you have married your first love? Why does it matter who played Peter? What if Juliet wakes 27 lines earlier? Sarah Crossan, Germaine Greer, Abigail Rokison-Woodall, Erin Sullivan, Tahmima Anam and Stephen Fry share insights into Shakespeare’s play.

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S2 Ep1 Global Health

S2 Ep1 Global Health

In this first episode of the new series we glean insight and analysis of the historical and contemporary context of Global Health, zoonotic disease and pandemics from experts including Mary Dobson, Jeremy Farrar, Thomas J Bollyky, Devi Sridhar, Chelsea Clinton and Sally Davies.

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Series One

S1 Ep10 Hilary Mantel

S1 Ep10 Hilary Mantel

The novelist Hilary Mantel discusses The Mirror and the Light, the third book in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy with Peter Florence. The interview was recorded at Hay Festival Digital on 30 May 2020, where Hilary was awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Prose.

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S1 Ep9 Gloria Steinem & Laura Bates

S1 Ep9 Gloria Steinem & Laura Bates

The legendary and deeply inspiring writer and activist Gloria Steinem discusses her memoir The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off: Thoughts on Life, Love and Rebellion with the founder of The Everyday Sexism Project.

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S1 Ep8 Michael Morpurgo

S1 Ep8 Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo’s compelling Hay Library Lecture is a marvel of storytelling, an impassioned argument for the rights of every child to have access to books and education, and a celebration of his novel I Believe in Unicorns.

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Hay Festival Podcast

S1 Ep7 Matthew Francis

Matthew Francis’ re-telling of the first four stories of the Welsh classic The Mabinogi is the first to situate it in poetry, and captures the magic and strangeness of this medieval Celtic world. Permeating the whole sequence is a delight in the power of the imagination to transform human experience into works of tragedy, comedy and wonder. Chaired by Daniel Hahn.

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Hay Festival Podcast

S1 Ep6 Hallie Rubenhold

A conversation with the social historian Hallie Rubenhold describing how she mined untapped Victorian sources to illuminate the stories of the women murdered by Jack the Ripper in her Baillie Gifford Prize-winning The Five.

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Hay Festival Podcast

S1 Ep5 Caitlin Moran

A compelling and hilarious rallying call for our times from superstar journalist and author Caitlin Moran tackling topics as pressing and diverse as a women-only language, flawed heroes, and the reasons the internet is like a drunken toddler, in conversation with Stephanie Merritt.

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Hay Festival Podcast

S1 Ep4 Judi Dench & Richard Eyre

For #WorldBookDay, the day of Shakespeare’s birth, here's actress Judi Dench talking about her Shakespearean work and celebrating her album of great speeches, Exits and Entrances.

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Hay Festival Podcast

S1 Ep3 Yuval Noah Harari

How did humans turn themselves from hustling African apes into the rulers of planet earth? The Israeli historian and philosopher Yuval Noah Harari looks at the secrets of our success and explores the themes of his bestselling debut Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind in conversation with Rosie Boycott at Hay Festival Cartagena in January 2016.

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Hay Festival Podcast

S1 Ep2 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists talks about how she discovered Gabriel García Márquez. She responds to his statement “I am a journalist above everything else” in an intriguing exploration of how imagination turns historical fact into fictional truths.

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S1 Ep1 Stephen Fry & Philippe Sands

S1 Ep1 Stephen Fry & Philippe Sands

Stephen Fry and the international human rights lawyer Philippe Sands discuss his award-winning book East West Street, a compelling family detective story and exploration of the legal principles that defined the Nuremberg War Trials. It's riveting and exacting and you'd expect that, of course. But it's also hilarious, and the laughter is the light in this deep darkness.

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