Hay Festival 2019 Programme

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Event 425

Nina Stibbe talks to Jim Naughtie

The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2019 Winner

Venue: Starlight Stage
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A joyful breakfast session with the winner of this year’s prize for comic fiction. Nina Stibbe’s Reasons to be Cheerful is the third and final entry in her semi-autobiographical trilogy. Both Man at the Helm and Paradise Lodge were previously shortlisted for the Wodehouse Prize.

In Reasons to be Cheerful it is 1980 and Lizzie Vogel is 18 years-old. She is about to embark on the first major step of grown-up life as she moves from the sheltered village existence of her family home and out into the big, wide, metropolis that is Leicester. There she takes up the position of dental nurse to a dentist with bad teeth and some deeply unpleasant attitudes, whose main ambition in life is to become a freemason. In her tiny one-bedroomed flat above the dental practice, Lizzie reflects on all that she's learning in her new career: whether she'll have to hold her boss's cigarette while he smokes it, whether she wants a boyfriend and, if she does, whether it should be Andy Nicolello who delivers the patients' dentures; and if it is Andy Nicolello whether it's dangerous to allow him to become her mother's lodger. Slowly it dawns on Lizzie that the area in which she has most to learn is life: in taking those first wobbly steps to independence, in falling in love, in navigating the ups and downs of adulthood (and her mother's new career as a novelist) and, most importantly, in staying cheerful through it all.
Stibbe’s novel drew comparisons to the work of the prize’s namesake in The Guardian last month: ‘As with comic writers PG Wodehouse or David Sedaris, it is not the plotting that you seek out in Stibbe, but the ticklishly wayward turn-of-phrase and irreverent conjuring of character.’ She talks to the broadcaster and Wodehouse Prize judge, Jim Naughtie.
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Nina Stibbe talks to Jim Naughtie

Event 77

Ifor ap Glyn

Wayfaring: These Hills Sing in Welsh

Venue: Meeting Place on site
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How does language shape our perception of landscape? Ifor ap Glyn, National Poet of Wales, leads a walk to the valley where in 1939 TJ Morgan, a young academic (and father of the late First Minister Rhodri Morgan), made field recordings of the last native speakers of Welsh in this part of Breconshire. Morgan wrote movingly of his experience – he realised he was witnessing the end of a world. And yet, Welsh lives on the area and Morgan’s recordings, now held in St Fagan’s, took on a new life recently in the work of singer Twm Morys. The event will be in English, introducing the Welsh language poetry of Waldo Williams, Twm Morys and others in translation.

Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited. There will be a bus journey to and from the walk location; return to Festival site by 12.30pm.

Please wear appropriate footwear. Numbers are limited.
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Ifor ap Glyn

Event 78

Steve Jones talks to Adam Rutherford

Here Comes the Sun

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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Jones explores the dependency of all life and systems on Earth – ecological, biological and physical – on our nearest star. He explores the connections between those systems, and the connections between the various disciplines that study them, from astronomy to cancer prevention, from microbiology to the study of sleep. He also charts his own work and interests over fifty years against developments in a wide range of fields, showing how what was once seen as a narrow specialism has become a subject of vast scientific, social and political significance. Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College London and President of the Galton Institute.

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Event 79

Horatio Clare

Something of His Art: Walking to Lübeck with JS Bach

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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In the depths of winter in 1705 the young Johann Sebastian Bach, then unknown as a composer and earning a modest living as a teacher and organist, set off on a long journey by foot to Lübeck to visit the composer Dieterich Buxterhude, a distance of more than 250 miles. This journey and its destination were a pivotal point in the life of arguably the greatest composer the world has yet seen. Lübeck was Bach’s moment, when a young teacher with a reputation for intolerance of his pupils’ failings began his journey to become the master of the Baroque. Chaired by Kirsty Lang.

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Event 80

Marek Kohn talks to Daniel Hahn

Four Words for Friend

Venue: Hay Festival Foundation Stage
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In a world that has English as its global language and rapidly advancing translation technology, it’s easy to assume that the need to use more than one language will diminish. Kohn argues that plural language use is more important than ever. It helps us to understand ourselves and others better, to live together better, and to make the most of our various cultures. Kohn explores how people acquire languages; how they lose them; how different languages may affect people’s perceptions, their senses of self, and their relationships with each other; and how to resolve the fundamental contradiction of languages – that they exist as much to prevent communication as to make it happen.

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Event 81

Ed Vaizey, Jean-Christophe Chopin, Annoushka Ducas, Edeline Lee, Geordie Willis

Venue: Starlight Stage
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Google, Hoover, Beyoncé... Brand building has become a complex issue, one that’s moved from the concerns of big business to the everyday worries of everyone, from graduates building their LinkedIn profiles to the top echelons of soft power diplomats. An expert panel chaired by former Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey debates what makes a good brand. Ducas is a jewellery designer, creative director and founder of Links of London and Annoushka. Chopin is founder and CEO of the LandRover Born Awards and of born.com. Lee is a fashion designer whose clothes are worn by Olivia Coleman. Willis is creative director at Berry Bros & Rudd. 

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Event 82

BBC Culture: Textual Healing - Can Fiction Heal?

Hephzibah Anderson, Jessie Burton, Alex Wheatle and Ella Berthoud

Venue: BBC Tent
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Practised around the world by psychologists and social workers, and even prescribed by the NHS, bibliotherapy has become something of a buzzword in the past few years, although it has been going for centuries. The ancient Greeks posted signs above library doors, informing readers that they were entering a healing place for the soul. And in the 19th century doctors and psychiatric nurses doled out everything from the Bible to travel literature and works in ancient languages. BBC Culture’s literature writer Hephzibah Anderson and guests Jessie Burton, Alex Wheatle and Ella Berthoud discuss the stories they turn to in times of crisis, and find out whether fiction really does have the power to change our lives for the better.

Free but ticketed
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Event HD11

Sarah Cruddas

The Space Race: The journey to the Moon and beyond

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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Join the TV space journalist as she tells how humans went from first imagining what lies above us to being able to reach for the stars. Learn all about where space exploration is heading and discover that the future of space is stranger than you can ever imagine – including the idea that the first person to walk on Mars is probably in school today. Packed full of amazing facts, quirky statistics and mind-blowing information, this will appeal to space fans of all ages.

6+
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Event W18

Cookery Workshop 6

Cook School

Venue: Cube
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Cook School is pitching up at Hay Festival to offer hands-on, fun cookery sessions, preparing a couple of Italian classics to take home for dinner along with an easy step-by-step recipe card, written by renowned children’s cookbook author Amanda Grant. Cook School is on a mission to teach as many children and young people to cook as possible. Head to cookschool.club to find out more.

5–18
Parents of children under 9 must attend but don’t require a ticket
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Event W20

Foraged Art Workshop 5

Rooted Forest Schools

Venue: Wild Garden
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Come and join Rooted Forest School (rootedforestschool.co.uk) for an outdoor family session inspired by the Forest School approach. We will be making charcoal on the fire, using natural pigments to create our own paint, making brushes from found materials and creating communal land art. These sessions are aimed at families and will run whatever the weather, so make sure you’re wrapped up for the conditions.

4–6
Parents must attend but don’t require a ticket
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Foraged Art Workshop 5

Event W21

NMiTE (New Model in Technology and Engineering)

Ingenuity Flash

Venue: Ingenuity Studio 1
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Join us in NMiTE’s Studio 1, a hi-tech refurbished shipping container, to explore ideas through making. Experience how highly creative and technological engineering can be. NMiTE is located in Hereford and aims to be the city’s first university with a focus on engineering.
Sign up at the venue for 10am, 11.30am or 1pm. Ingenuity Studio 1 free drop-in sessions for families take place between 2.30pm and 5pm, Sunday 26 May – Saturday 1 June. 

9–18
Parental consent required for under 11s
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Event W19

Radio Production Workshop 1

Radio Platfform

Venue: Scribblers Hut
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Radio Platfform is a youth-led radio station that offers young people a platform to build their confidence, find their voice and express their opinions. Join this interactive workshop to get a taste of all aspects of radio production, from presenting to editing and producing.

9–11
2 hours 30 mins
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Event 459

Monica Grady

OPEN TALK

Venue: Serious Reading Room
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1969 and all that. In the 50 years since Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, what have we learnt about the Solar System – and the chance of life beyond Earth? Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University.

Part of The Open University’s 50th anniversary celebrations 

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Monica Grady

Event 435

Natalie Haynes

The 10-minute readings

Venue: Serious Reading Room
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Free, short readings in the Serious Reading Room by some of the stars speaking at Hay.
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Natalie Haynes

Event 83

Melvyn Bragg

Fictions: Love Without End – A Story of Heloise and Abelard

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage
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Paris in 1117. Heloise, a brilliant young scholar, is astonished when the famous, radical philosopher Peter Abelard consents to be her tutor. But what starts out as a meeting of minds turns into a passionate, dangerous love affair, which incurs terrible retribution. Nine centuries later, Arthur is in Paris to recreate the extraordinary story of Heloise and Abelard in a novel. To his surprise, his daughter visits and agrees to help, challenging his portraits of a couple who seem often inscrutable, sometimes breathtakingly modern. It soon emerges she is on her own mission to discover more about her parents’ fractured relationship – and that Arthur’s connection to his subject is more emotional than he cares to admit.

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Event 84

Steven Strogatz

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe

Venue: Oxfam Moot
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Without calculus, we wouldn’t have mobile phones, TV, GPS or ultrasound; we wouldn’t have unravelled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in our pocket. Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school, Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down-to-earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity, it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number – infinity – to tackle real-world problems, breaking them down into easier ones and then reassembling the answers into solutions that feel miraculous. Strogatz is Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.

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Event 85

Julia Lovell

Maoism: A Global History

Venue: Hay Festival Foundation Stage
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The power and appeal of Maoism have extended far beyond China. Maoism was a crucial motor of the Cold War: it shaped the course of the Vietnam War and brought to power the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; it aided, and sometimes handed victory to, anti-colonial resistance movements in Africa; it inspired terrorism in Germany and Italy, and wars and insurgencies in Peru, India and Nepal, some of which are still with us today – more than forty years after the death of Mao. Lovell, Professor of Modern China at Birkbeck, re-evaluates Maoism as both a Chinese and an international force, linking its evolution in China with its global legacy. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.

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Event 86

Nicole Soranzo

Cambridge Series 4: Human Disease – Nature, Nurture or Both?

Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage
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The sequencing of the human genome has revolutionised how scientists search for the genetic causes of human diseases. Human geneticist Professor Soranzo of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute will describe how the field has evolved in the last fifteen years, discussing how new genetic evidence is used to better understand the interplay between our DNA (‘nature’) and the environment (‘nurture’).

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Nicole Soranzo

Event 87

Long-termism: How to Think in Deep Time

BBC Future

Venue: BBC Tent
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From climate change to politics, short-termism is at the root of many of the challenges we face in the 21st Century. How do we employ a deeper-time perspective, and prioritise the well-being of future generations? Author and BBC presenter Linda Geddes speaks to a panel from the worlds of science, governance and philosophy: Martin Rees, Sophie Howe and Roman Krznaric. Part of BBC Future’s Deep Civilisation season, which aims to stand back from the daily news cycle and widen the lens of our current place in time.

Linda Geddes (Moderator)

Roman Krznaric

Sophie Howe

Martin Rees

Free but ticketed
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Event HD12

Chris Riddell

Goth Girl and Ottoline

Venue: Starlight Stage
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The former Children’s Laureate, highly-acclaimed illustrator, political cartoonist and bestselling children’s author of many brilliant books including the award-winning Goth Girl and Ottoline series will talk about his love of drawing. Chris will also lead a Q&A session where he will draw his answers live in front of the audience.

9+
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