How did humans turn themselves from insignificant African apes into the rulers of planet earth? Our secret of success is that we are the only animals that can talk about things that exist purely in our own imagination, such as gods, nations, money, and human rights.
Hosted by senior Telegraph journalists, stories from 24 May at key historical moments over the past 150 years are brought to life using the paper’s unique archive. From World War One and D-Day to the rise of the Suffragettes and the birth of the nuclear age; not to mention fashion through the decades and legendary stars of sport. Here is a past world documented in fascinating and revealing detail by daily reporting.
The interlocking themes of Establishment and Meritocracy form a crucial part of the intellectual compost that made Hennessy’s generation of post-war Britons. The Establishment and the concept of a growing and eventually self-propelling meritocracy were always at odds, and the policies that brought it about dramatically altered British society. He talks to economist Susie Symes, Chair of 19 Princelet Street.
Wind, coal, solar, gas, wave, oil, nuclear – there are numerous sources of energy within the UK and yet still 61% of our electricity generation is from imported fuels. Does it matter where it comes from? What are the pros and cons of choosing one over another? How do you guarantee the electricity coming down your wire is from the source you choose? Juliet Davenport is the CEO of Good Energy, James Luger is Ofgem's Senior Manager for Sustainable Development, Consumers & Sustainability and Chris Blake is the founding director of TGV Hydro. They talk to Hay on Earth Director Andy Fryers.
Do our workplaces promote health and well-being? And, if they did, what difference would it make? Dame Carol Black is an Expert Adviser to the Department of Health, the Chair of Nuffield Trust, the leading independent advisory body for healthcare policy in the UK, and the Principal of Newnham College. She was author of a 2008 report for the government on well-being at work.
The author of When God was a Rabbit – selected for World Book Night 2015 – introduces her second novel. Marvellous Ways is 89 years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life. Lately she’s taken to spending her days sitting on a mooring stone by the river with a telescope. She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it.
Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War. When his promise to fulfil a dying man’s last wish sees him wash up in Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid. As an unlikely friendship grows between the two, can Drake give Marvellous what she needs to say goodbye to the world, and can she give him what he needs to go on?
A workshop for creative kids who struggle with the whole reading and writing thing. Ali is a Dyslexia Action Ambassador.
During this workshop students create their own graphic short stories, working with graphic novelist and tutor Emily Haworth-Booth, winner of the Observer/Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Prize. The session will explore narrative and storytelling through drawing, working from both observation and imagination, with contemporary examples used as a starting point to explore the huge potential of this graphic medium.
Suitable for all ages and abilities
Photo: Illustrations from the first trial of the book, by Laura Carling
Join Jamie on Sunday lunchtime for conversation, laughter and music. How’s your week been?
Broadcast on BBC Radio Wales every Sunday, 11.30am–12.30pm.
The winner of the 2014 Wellcome Book Prize introduces his wise and compassionate book Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love. Ten years in the writing, it tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. Chaired by Hay Festival President Stephen Fry.
Slow Fiction is inspired by the predella, the sequence of four or five pictures under a Renaissance altarpiece that tell the story of the annunciation, the adoration, or the pietà. If the large altarpiece painting is one moment in time, the predella shows the moments leading up to that key frame and sometimes what happens after. The artist Paul St George works with writers, translating selections of their writing into small sequences of sculptures making three-dimensional stories. Two of the first authors to be excited by this new way of bringing readers to writing are Polly Stenham, author of Hotel, and Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist: ‘To see my written words reimagined for a different audience, giving another take on the story-telling process – what we omit, what we emphasise, and what we leave behind – in a newly-configured presentation, is a true thrill.’
Set in 1960s Ireland, Tóibín’s new novel Nora Webster introduces one of the most complex and captivating heroines of contemporary fiction. He discusses the book and his new study On Elizabeth Bishop. He creates a vivid picture of the American poet while also revealing how her work has helped shape his sensibility as a novelist and how her experiences of loss and exile resonate with his own.
Photo: Brigitte Lacombe
Join children’s author Tom Palmer for a quiz about reading sport in newspapers, books and online, followed by a penalty competition, with one team winning the trophy. Tom is the author of 30 sports fiction books for children, including Ghost Stadium and Over the Line.
LoveReading4Kids and Barrington Stoke are working together to run a series of events dedicated to children with dyslexia. The authors featured in these events are published by award-winning publisher Barrington Stoke, whose books are renowned for their dyslexia-friendly features and layouts, cream paper and special font. These events will be creative, interactive and, most of all, fun.
Throughout the week of the festival LoveReading4Kids and Barrington Stoke expert staff will be on hand in the Make & Take Tent for advice and support for both adults and children. A selection of dyslexia- and reluctant-reader-friendly titles will be available to buy from the Hay Festival Bookshop.
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
In Sapiens, Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
This event was recorded for broadcast on the BBC World News programme Talking Books.
Is six-party politics here to stay? Is first-past-the-post a bulwark against extremism? What’s the value of a campaign promise in a coalition context? International broadcaster Nik Gowing chairs. Hennessy is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary’s; Scurr lectures in Politics at Cambridge; Wood is leader of Plaid Cymru; Boycott is Food Advisor to the Mayor of London.
One of America’s most powerful and feared gangsters is about to face up to his past… On a rare public appearance in Britain, the cult thriller writer of The Wire, author of Gone, Baby, Gone and Mystic River discusses his work and his new novel.
Jacqueline Wilson introduces an exclusive screening of CBBC’s new adaptation of her popular children’s novel Hetty Feather. A fast-paced and thrilling story, featuring a feisty new heroine, Hetty Feather brings the realities of the Victorian age to life through the eyes and adventures of the children who inhabit the Foundling Hospital. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with cast and crew.
Not for broadcast.