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Archaeology and its discovery of early civilisations is full of real-life adventure, and has consistently inspired popular culture, from Rider Haggard to Indiana Jones. Hear about some of these treasures and their surprising tales. Redknap is Head of Collections and Research, History and Archaeology Department, National Museum Cardiff.
We are thrilled to launch the new novel by the bestselling author, who returns to Hay in the year that marks the 30th anniversary of her sensational debut bestseller, Lady of Hay.
Hay-On-Wye, 1400 – War is brewing in the Welsh borders, Catrin is on the brink of womanhood and falling in love for the first time. Her father is a soothsayer, playing a dangerous game manipulating the mixed loyalties and furious rivalries between Welsh princes and English lords. For two hundred years, the Welsh people have lain under the English yoke, dreaming of independence. And finally it looks as though the charismatic Owain Glyndwr may be the man legend talks of. In the walls of Sleeper’s Castle, Catrin finds herself caught in the middle of a doomed war as she is called upon to foretell Wales’s destiny… And what she sees, is blood and war coming closer…
Hay, 2015. Miranda has moved to Sleeper’s Castle to escape and grieve. Slowly she feels herself coming to life in the solitude of the mountains. But every time she closes her eyes her dreams become more vivid. And she makes a connection with a young girl, who’s screaming, who’s reaching out… who only Miranda can help. Is she losing herself to time?
The historians reveal unknown secrets of Bletchley’s wartime operation and the Enigma, and discuss the code-breaking challenges we face in today’s rapidly changing and technologically complex world. McKay is the author of the bestselling The Lost World of Bletchley Park and Bletchley Park - The Secret Archives. Bletchley Park’s Enigma expert, Thomas Briggs, brings a genuine, working Enigma machine to the Festival.
The costs of preventable physical and mental health challenges in Wales are already unmanageable and getting worse. The gross cost to the NHS of treating mental health is £7.2bn a year. There are multiple, proven links between the benefits of active time outdoors, increased wellbeing and reductions in the social cost of health solutions. Wales’ outdoor industry is poised to become a Natural Health Service that improves health with active time in nature. Evans is the CEO of The Outdoor Partnership, Fauvel is co-founder of Nudjed, which works with public health bodies aiming to effect change. Chaired by entrepreneur and adventurer Andy Middleton.
A huge breeding programme is needed to produce the new varieties of English Roses. The Rosarian talks about the work involved and gives a behind-the-scenes look at making the David Austin Roses garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. Join us to launch the Roald Dahl Rose, in celebration of the writer’s centenary year.
Emma Bridgewater’s patterns are as quintessentially British as marmalade on toast – and they have made her distinctive homewares best-sellers across the world. Her inspiration is often deeply personal – a plate of belonging to her mother’s, a favourite children’s book – and as she tells the stories of each pattern’s creation, she reveals the intricate processes of research and collaboration behind the familiar designs she has stamped on our kitchenware – and our hearts – for the past 30 years. Chaired by Kitty Corrigan.
As people spend increasing proportions of their daily lives using social media such as Twitter and Facebook, they are being invited to support myriad political causes by sharing, liking, endorsing or downloading. Chain reactions caused by these tiny acts of participation form a growing part of collective action today, from neighbourhood campaigns to global political movements. Margetts is the Director of the Oxford Internet Institute and co-author of Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action.
Following in the footholds of his great-great-aunt, the early C20th pioneering mountaineer, Dorothy Pilley, Richards begins to travel and climb across Europe. Learning the ropes in Wales and Scotland, scrambling in the Lake District, scaling summits in Spain and Switzerland, he closes in on the serrate pinnacle of Dorothy’s climbing life, the mighty Dent Blanche in the high Alps of Valais. Richards is the co-author, with Stanley Donwood and Robert Macfarlane, of Holloway.
Introducing a new literary geography based on the assumption that novels and stories cannot be confined by the covers of a book, but through the reader’s imagination become part of the lived experience of the world around us. Explaining how this new cartography of page and place will be developed is Jon Anderson from the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University.
The dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the spread of perestroika throughout the former Soviet bloc was a sea change in world history, and two years later resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The acclaimed Russian historian examines precisely how that change came about and analyses the role of the leaders who held power: Gorbachev and Reagan, Walesa, Havel, and the Pope.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is famous as “The first programmer” for her prescient writings about Charles Babbage’s unbuilt mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. Biographers have focused on her tragically short life and her supposed poetic approach – in this talk we unpick the myths and look at her scientific education, what she really did, and why it is important, placing her in the rich context of nineteenth century science, and the contemporary misremembering of female scientists.
Ursula Martin CBE is a Professor in Mathematics and Computer Science in the University of Oxford, and leads Oxford’s project to digitize Lovelace’s mathematics.
Could the consequences of curtailing play in schools, at home and in the outdoors be catastrophic in terms of healthy child development? Join experts from the PEDAL Centre to explore the role of play in learning, development and wellbeing.
Knowing they are about to die often prompts people to become creative, telling their story, leaving a legacy through the arts, whether it be writing, painting or recording. The panel explores how death is viewed in society today and how we can all help lay down a legacy, purely by listening, talking and sharing our stories, hopes and wishes.
Finlay is a Life Peer and former BMA President, Francis is an historian and former MP and Lewis is one of Wales’ greatest poets.
The renowned BBC Security Correspondent, author of Blood and Sand, launches his debut novel, a hi-tech thriller that involves South American drug cartels and a terrorist attack on London.
Chernobyl is as much a symbol of nuclear risks as a distraction from other problems: some 70 years into the age of nuclear power, we do not have a single reactor that would have a chance without huge public subsidies. Nor do we have words for, or even a proper picture of, those who suffered most from Chernobyl and Fukushima: the people who clean up. Now that Britain is banking on a nuclear revival we need to learn about the long path to a new generation of reactors. Uekötter is a Reader in Environmental Humanities at University of Birmingham. He talks to journalist and author Mark Lynas.
Can new technology bring greater democracy and allow a wider range of voices to be heard? With Dr Sharath Srinivasan, Director, Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge; Mariéme Jamme, CEO, blogger, technologist and social entrepreneur; and Rob Burnet, CEO and Founder of Well Told Story.
Two great international chefs discuss their taste and imagination with John Mitchinson. Ghayour follows her iconic cookbook Persiana with Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours from the East. Rowe, who trained at Moro and later opened Konstam, has written Food for All Seasons - a touching and informative culinary journey exploring the way our lives and our food are intertwined.
Are businesses better able to address environmental issues than governments and NGOs? Where does genuine motivation to act responsibly need to be backed up by regulation? And how do we ensure that businesses ensure that sustainability isn't just another PR exercise from profit-hungry executives? IKEA’s Sustainability Director, the broadcaster and author Joanna Yarrow, and Good Energy CEO Juliet Davenport, talk to the Festival's Sustainability Director.
Does Wales understand Coleridge in a unique way? An exploration of hidden Welsh treasure. Classical baritone and activist Richard Parry uncovers how R.S. Thomas, leading 20th century artist/poet David Jones and Welsh literary wizard Iolo Morganwg found Coleridge a compelling travelling companion, and Coleridge scholar and author Douglas Hedley explores why Coleridge’s significance as a philosopher, theologian and public intellectual is often overlooked in this event marking the arrival of the travelling.
The guitarist and writer discuss their songwriting partnership, the writing process between lyricist and musician. They have collaborated on four No. 1 albums: Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell and The Endless River, David Gilmour’s On An Island, and the recent Rattle That Lock. Hosted by Rosie Boycott.
See also event 86.
Ben Miller is, like you, a mutant ape living through an Ice Age on a ball of molten iron, orbiting a supermassive black hole. He is also an actor, comedian and approximately one half of Armstrong and Miller. He explores The Exciting and Extraordinary Science Behind Our Search for Life in the Universe.
The legendary screenwriter talks to Peter Florence about the craft of screenplay and the challenges of scale and intimacy in his six-part BBC television adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel.