Hay Festival 2020 is cancelled

We deeply regret that Hay Festival 2020 is cancelled due to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here.

Event 43

Philip Ardagh

The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge

Venue: Tolerance Majlis
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The author is a giant figure in children’s literature, and a great entertainer. The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge is a clever blend of fact and fiction. Propelled by great characters, it is full of exciting historical facts, as young Drawbridge goes off to train to become a knight. Previously a winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Ardagh includes lots of jokes as he shows just how much there is to learn in training to be a knight. How to charge with a lance on horseback without falling off, for example. Or, why spiral staircases always go up in a clockwise direction and why the plates served at banquets are made of stale bread (and why you shouldn’t eat them). The author brings history to life and tells an entertaining story as he does so. Go behind the scenes with him and learn more about the history of the time.

8+ years
Free but ticketed
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Philip Ardagh

Event 44

Jenny Valentine

Talking to Teenagers

Venue: The Theatre
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The multi-award-winning Young Adult writer, author of the contemporary classic Finding Violet Park, spent a year travelling to Hay Festivals around the world and talking to teenagers about their lives. She shares the common threads and radical differences that came up in her conversations and explores ways in which teenagers might be better understood and empowered.

11+ years
Free but ticketed
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Jenny Valentine

Event 45

HE Ahmed Al Ameri, Caroline Michel and Peter Florence

Welcome to Book World

Venue: The Theatre
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How to get ahead in publishing: a guide for aspiring writers, publishers and book-lovers with the Chair and Director of Hay Festivals. Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri is the Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority whose jurisdiction covers most publishing activity in Sharjah including the Publishing Free Zone, public libraries, Sharjah International Book Fair and Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival. Caroline Michel is CEO of the international agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop and has worked in publishing for 30 years. Peter Florence founded the Hay Festival in 1987 and chaired the Booker Prize Jury in 2019. 

English
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Event 47

Ed Vere

How to be a Lion

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage
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Ed Vere is one of the most successful picture-book illustrators in the world. His books include Mr Big, Bedtime for Monsters, Grumpy Frog, Banana and Max.

You don't need to roar to be heard... Join the author and illustrator for a fantastic storytelling event celebrating daydreamers, quiet courage and the importance of being true to yourself. Ed will be live-drawing characters from his new book and introducing children to the charms of Leonard the Lion and his best friend Marianne, who just happens to be a duck. A fun, thought-provoking and interactive event for children and their parents.

4+ years
Free but ticketed
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Ed Vere

Event 49

Volker Braun and Serge Pey

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Venue: The Theatre
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Braun is one of the most important German language poets of our time. His collection Die Zickzackbrücke. Ein Abrißkalender ('The Zig-Zag Bridge. A Tear-Off Calendar') expresses his initial euphoria at, and subsequent disillusionment with, the revolution of 1989. His poetry has always transcended national and political borders, seeking out the possibilities for being human in poems that insist on the love, humour, grief and beauty of the everyday world.

Pey is a French and Spanish writer, poet and performance artist. A child of the Spanish Civil War, he was born in Toulouse to a working-class family of Catalan refugees, and his work is inseparable from his political conscience, focusing on the intersection of poetry and revolution. In 2017, Pey received the Grand Prix de Poesié for Flamenco and the Boccace Prize in 2012 for The Treasure of the Spanish Civil War and Other Tales.

German, French, English
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Event 50

Miguel Syjuco, Shamma Al Bastaki, Deepak Unnikrishnan and Anna Zacharias

Belonging

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage
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A conversation about diverse migrant communities' experience in the UAE, and the relationship with society back home. How do you define 'expat' and 'migrant'? What does stability look like? Where do you belong?

Miguel Syjuco is a Filipino novelist, author of Illustrado, and professor at New York University Abu Dhabi. Deepak Unnikrishnan is the author of Temporary People, and also teaches at NYU Abu Dhabi. Shamma Al Bastaki is an award-winning poet and artist who graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi and was the 2019 winner of the ADMAF Creativity Award for her ethno-poetry collection House to House. Anna Zacharias is a Canadian-born journalist and writer who has worked for The National and is author of People of Ras al Khaimah.

English
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Event 51

Jerry Brotton

The Centre of the World: Al Idrisi’s Map

Venue: Tolerance Majlis
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Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps, introduces the map of the world made by the 12th-century Islamic cartographer Al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily. This was a masterpiece of mapping that remained the most technically sophisticated world map for 300 years after its production. Drawing on several centuries of Islamic cartographic research, Al-Idrisi produced both a book of 70 maps covering the surface of the known world, and a single, round map engraved onto a silver disk and set into a wooden table, with Mecca at its centre. The silver disk is now lost, and the Entertainment for those wanting to discover the world ('Nuzhat al-mushtāq fi'khtirāq al-āfāq'), survives only through later copies. But in a groundbreaking project, Factum Foundation has undertaken to recreate Al-Idrisi’s fabled map. Neither facsimile nor copy, this recreation nonetheless combines painstaking historical research with advanced digital techniques and the highest levels of craftsmanship, paying tribute to the lost original and offering yet another layer to add to the complexity of its transmission.

English
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Jerry Brotton

Event 52

Pierre Joris and André Velter

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Venue: The Theatre
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Joris is a Luxembourg/American poet, translator and essayist. His latest publications are Adonis & Pierre Joris: Conversations in the Pyrenees, Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte: The Book of U/Le Livre des Cormorans and a play The Agony of I.B. The French writer and performer André Velter is an internationally acclaimed lyric poet whose work is rich with music and rhythm.

French, English
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Event 53

Hanan Sayed Worrell talks to Sheyma Buali

Table Tales – Table Talk

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage
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In The Global Nomad Cuisine of Abu Dhabi, author Hanan Sayed Worrell offers up a taste of the cosmopolitan community of the city. Table Tales is the story of communities forming themselves through the sharing of food, traditions and culture. The book is organised by decade, showcasing the global nomads who came to call Abu Dhabi home in each decade and the recipes they cherish. We also meet Emiratis who share traditional family recipes, inviting us to sample a cuisine that is largely unknown. As the city has grown, a thriving urban food culture has emerged to include everything from food trucks to contemporary restaurants. Sheyma Buali is a BBC News Arabic journalist and Director of BBC Arabic Festival.

English
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Event 54

Bernardine Evaristo

The 2019 Booker Prize Winner: Girl, Woman, Other

Venue: Tolerance Majlis
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The 2019 Booker Prize winner discusses her joyous and brilliantly inventive polyphonic novel that explores the lives of twelve black British women of different generations. Chaired by Peter Florence, chair of the 2019 Booker jury.

English
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Bernardine Evaristo

Event 55

Qassim Haddad and Zulaikha Aburisha

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Venue: The Theatre
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Haddad is an award-winning, politically engaged poet and theatre maker from Bahrain. His collections include Good Omen and Qassim’s Grave. He created the Arabic poetry website jehat and has collaborated with artists, photographers and musicians, including Marcel Khalifé.

Jordanian poet Aburisha is also a short-story writer and a trenchant feminist literary critic. Her poetry collections include All Consuming Love and The Notebook of Scent.

Arabic
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Event 56

Izzeldin Abuelaish

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

Venue: Tolerance Majlis
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The Palestinian Canadian doctor’s three daughters were killed by Israeli shells on 16 January 2009, during the Israeli Defence Forces' incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Izzeldin Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other.

Arabic
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Izzeldin Abuelaish

Event 57

Yang Lian

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Venue: The Theatre
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Yang Lian was one of the original Misty Poets who reacted against the strictures of the Cultural Revolution. His work was criticised in China in 1983 and formally banned in 1989 when he organised memorial services for the dead of Tiananmen Square while in New Zealand.

A poet in exile, he now lives in Berlin. Translations of his poetry include Where the Sea Stands StillLee Valley Poems and The Narrative Poem, as well as his long poem, Yi. He is co-editor of Jade Ladder: Contemporary Chinese Poetry and was awarded the International Nonino Prize in 2012.

English
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Yang Lian

Event 58

Hallie Rubenhold

The Baillie Gifford Prize-winner: The Five

Venue: Tolerance Majlis
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The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper is a stunning history that has swept up awards this year. Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women. Now, in her devastating narrative of five lives, historian Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories. Chaired by Jenny Valentine.

English
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Hallie Rubenhold

Event 59

Tishani Doshi

Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods

Venue: The Theatre
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A conversation with the poet, dancer and novelist about the nature of creativity, and the relationship between language and expression. Her novels include The Pleasure Seekers and Small Days and Nights; her latest poetry collection is Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods.

English
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Tishani Doshi

Event 60

Marcus du Sautoy and José Ignacio Latorre

The Creativity Code: How AI is learning to write, paint and think

Venue: Tolerance Majlis
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The mathematician examines the nature of creativity and provides an essential guide to how algorithms work, and the mathematical rules underpinning them. He asks how much of our emotional response to art is a product of our brains reacting to pattern and structure, and exactly what it is to be creative in mathematics, art, language and music. He finds out how long it might be before machines come up with something creative, and whether they might jolt us into being more imaginative in turn. The result is a fascinating and very different exploration into both AI and the essence of what it means to be human. He discusses the issues with quantum physicist José Ignacio Latorre.

English
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Event 61

Najwa Bin Shatwan talks to Parween Habib

In conversation

Venue: The Theatre
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Najwa Bin Shatwan is a Libyan academic and novelist, author of Waber Al Ahssina ('The Horses’ Hair'); Madmum Burtuqali ('Orange Content'); and Zareeb Al-Abeed ('The Slave Yards'), in addition to collections of short stories, plays and contributions to anthologies. She was chosen as one of the 39 best Arab authors under the age of 40 by Hay Festival's Beirut 39 project. Zareeb Al-Abeed was shortlisted for the 2017 International Award for Arabic Fiction. Her story 'The Sharp Bend at Al-Bakur' won the ArabLit magazine Story Prize 2019. Her short story collection Catalogue of a Private Life won the English PEN Translates award in 2019. 

In conversation with Parween Habib. 

Arabic
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Najwa Bin Shatwan talks to Parween Habib

Event 62

Adonis with Zulaikha Aburisha, Volker Braun, Qassim Haddad, Pierre Joris, Yang Lian, Serge Pey, André Velter

A 90th Birthday Poetry Party

Venue: Etihad Garden Stage
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A gala reading and tribute to the great Syrian poet, who will read his own work and is joined on stage by his friends – poets from across the world and speaking many languages. A leader of modernism, Adonis' poetry disrupts the traditional and classical expectations, a perfect reflection of the volatile times he has written through. His work has been profoundly influential for generations of writers and readers of poetry. He is a giant of world literature. It is a great honour to share his jubilee celebrations as the climax to our Festival. Chaired by Dr Ali Bin Tamim.

Arabic, English, French, German, Mandarin
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Event 63

The Silent Party

Venue: Atrium
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A silent closing party for Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 in collaboration with Rooftop Rhythms.

You choose the tempo with your own set of wireless headphones and dance to a vibrant mix of Reggae, Caribbean, Afrobeat and Arab fusion, all played by locally based DJs: DJ Dyme, DJ Aly, DJ Hiddy, DJ A.L.L.A.D, DJ Ranger and DJ S Spin.

21+
Please note concessionary tickets are limited to 5 per customer.
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