YouTube sensation Caspar Lee and his mum Emily Riordan Lee discuss the power of social media and life at the heart of it, including details about their now-famous mother/son relationship. Join them in conversation with the Hay Festival Director.
Just a year ago, the US Presidential race looked set to be a dull affair, dominated by two political dynasties – another Bush versus another Clinton. Now, the stage is set for one of the most unusual, and unsettling, electoral battles in American history. After Obama’s campaign of hope, we have Donald Trump’s scaremongering bid to become the Republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton’s scandal-tinged final stab at the Democratic nomination. Is this really the best that the nation that calls itself the ‘world’s greatest democracy’ can do? And if the answer is yes, is it time to start looking for an alternative political system better suited to the social media age? Newsweek will dissect the chain of events that has led us here and speculate on what the future might hold for the next Commander in Chief. Joining Digital Editor, Serena Kutchinsky, will be Larry Sanders, the academic and Green Party Health Spokesperson, who is the older brother of the US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders; Sarah Churchwell,Professor of the Public Understanding of the Humanities and Professorial Fellow in American Literature, IES School of Advanced Study, University of London, Harvard Professor and author of Kissinger, Niall Ferguson, and Jan Halper Hayes, the Worldwide Vice President and Chairman UK of Republicans Overseas.
The charismatic writer has extraordinary stage presence and power. She performs and reads her work with passion and brio. She presents an ambitious retelling of one of Shakespeare’s late plays, and her retelling moves from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crash, to a storm-ravaged city in the US called New Bohemia. “All of us have talismanic texts that we have carried around and that carry us around. I have worked with The Winter’s Tale in many disguises for many years... And I love cover versions”.
Monbiot is one of the most vocal and eloquent critics of the current consensus; a vital, countervailing voice. He assesses the devastation of the natural world, the crisis of inequality, the corporate takeover of nature, our obsessions with growth and profit and the decline of the political debate over what to do. He asks: how do we stand up to the powerful when they seem to have all the weapons? And: what can we do to prepare our children for an uncertain future?
Now revised for its fourth edition, Jancis Robinson’s wine book has achieved legendary status, winning every major wine writing award, because it’s properly authoritative and utterly captivating. She talks about and tastes a selection of wines provided by Tanners of Hereford.
We become fat because we eat too much. Why some eat more than others, however, is powerfully genetically controlled. The Director of Genomics/Transcriptomics at Cambridge explores some of these genes and observes: “Many genes have been identified that increase our risk of becoming obese and most of these function in the brain to influence food intake. Obese people find it hard to lose weight not because they are bad and lazy, but because they are fighting their biology.”
After a hedonistic decade in London that has descended into alcoholism, Amy returns to her native Orkney, where her childhood was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father’s mental illness. Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney’s wildlife – puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings – and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction. The Outrun is shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.
Last year the extraordinarily gifted organist and composer Father Richard Williams stunned audiences with his live accompaniment of the screenings of the classic movies Nosferatu and A Cottage on Dartmoor. This year he is turning his talents to Wallace Worsley’s 1923 silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which catapulted Lon Chaney to fame for his performance as the tortured hunchback, Quasimodo.
The historian was set alight by Shakespeare’s muse of fire when he first saw Henry V as a child. He examines Shakespeare’s making of the myths of England. He hymns the Histories, the kings and the commoners, the band of brothers, and the spirit of Shakespeare’s greatest knight, Sir John Falstaff.
A return to Hay for the wild and whirling comedian and improv star, who has a new book out called The Smartest Book in the World. He throws in the usual mix of drinking, so-called jokes, singing, poor dancing and boring preachy parts. Part professorial, part crazed comedian, Proops forms the show around his talent and passions. The show flows like a love letter to tangents. And it’s gloriously, madly funny.
What are the limits of free speech and civility? What is the nature of ‘offence’? What earns ‘respect’? If words can hurt you, are sticks and stones and broken bones the answer? Rachael Jolley is the editor of Index. David Aaronovitch writes for The Times. Laura Bates is Founder of the Everyday Sexism project. Nikesh Shukla is a novelist and editor of The Good Immigrant anthology to be published in September.
Ben Salfield (lutar), Jon Salfield (flamenco guitar), Simon Stanton (percussion), Rowan Nightingale (acoustic bass). The internationally regarded Salfield brothers’ ensemble makes a welcome return to Hay, following trio and duo concerts in 2014. Their high-octane repertoire features an exciting fusion of original works that tap into the Middle Eastern heritage of the lute and the driving rhythms of the flamenco guitar, combined with a myriad original ideas from the two virtuosi. The colour and power of Simon Stanton’s Latin, North African and Middle Eastern percussion, and the recent addition of Rowan Nightingale’s acoustic bass, create new harmonies, an added impetus, and a new dimension to the ensemble’s sound.
The investigative journalist and author of The Last Man in Russia and Let Our Fame be Great introduces a screening of Havana Marking’s Sundance Institute, TED prize-winning film about Ukrainian corruption, which he has written and presented. The film reaches from Kiev to London to Washington, D C and examines how anonymous shell companies and Western banks are used to enable corrupt governments to rob their nation’s wealth and natural resources.
When we read Victorian novelists and poets these days, we tend to read them in thick books: 1,000-page novels, or ‘Poetical Works’ which are often not much shorter. But for their original audiences, these stories and poems more usually appeared embedded in magazines, a few pages at a time. What difference does it make to how we read some of the classics of Victorian literature when we read them in their original form, in instalments, surrounded by advertisements, illustrations, articles and news? And how are new methods for studying electronic texts helping us to reinvent something of that reading experience in a new form? Holmes is Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture, Mahlberg is Professor of Corpus Linguistics and Tattersdill is Lecturer in Victorian Literature. Chaired by Oliver Balch.
The new show from the acute and fully engaged comedian is deeply personal. “It never really bothered me that I’d never met my mum. It never occurred to me I needed to meet her to ‘find out who I was’, as it didn’t seem likely I’d discover I was someone different to who I thought I was. Could it turn out I was three stone lighter than I thought, or I spoke Italian or supported Arsenal or had a fear of Liquorice Allsorts? But after the birth of my own son, I realised it’s quite an event to have a child, and she may well remember giving birth to me, and maybe even the adoption.”
A first Hay for one of music’s greatest rising stars and her red-hot band. The mesmeric Brazilian singer draws on the traditions of samba and bossa nova with a mix of raga and hip-hop. Her first album Bossa Muffin made a huge impact around the world with its joyful fusions delivered with style and a liberating, effortlessly free-wheeling confidence.