Hay Festival Digital #Imaginetheworld

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Event 9

Erika Stockholm, Jemma Wadham and Raul Loayza Murotalk to Andy Fryers

TRANS.MISSION II: In hot water - Peruvian glacial retreat and its impact on water security

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Hay Festival and the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) present Trans.MISSION II, a new global project pairing leading environmental researchers with award-winning storytellers to communicate cutting-edge science to new audiences.

The Peruvian strand of the project features Peruvian writer Erika Stockholm, Professor Jemma Wadham from the University of Bristol Cabot Institute, Dr Raul Loayza Muro from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru and a team of glaciology experts. Jemma researches hydrological and biogeochemical processes that occur within glacier and ice sheet systems and in their fore fields, which have a potential regional or global impact. Erika Stockholm is a writer, theatre producer and actress and President of the Asociación Cultural ¡Al teatro por primera vez!.

Using Professor Wadham’s work as inspiration, Erika created a story to spotlight Peruvian glacial retreat and its impact on water security and resilience to natural hazards. The story is called "Glacier Shallap - or the sad tale of a dying glacier" and it can be watched here.

At a time of unprecedented public interest in how human actions affect the environment, Trans.MISSION II pairs NERC researchers from Peru, Colombia and the UK with artists and storytellers in each country to create new stories about ongoing research projects.

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Event 10

Greg Jenner talks to John Mitchinson

Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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In this ambitious history Jenner assembles a vibrant cast of over 125 actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, freaks, demigods, ruffians, and more, in search of celebrity's historical roots. He reveals why celebrity burst into life in the early eighteenth century, how it differs to ancient ideas of fame, the techniques through which it was acquired, how it was maintained, the effect it had on public tastes, and the psychological burden stardom could place on those in the glaring limelight. Dead Famous is a surprising, funny, and fascinating exploration of both a bygone age and how we came to inhabit our modern, fame obsessed society.

Greg Jenner is a public historian, broadcaster, and author, and an Honorary Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he does some occasional teaching. He is the Historical Consultant to BBC's Emmy & multiple BAFTA award-winning Horrible Histories, and was a key member of the team on Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans. He is the host of the BBC comedy podcast You're Dead To Me!, is a regular voice on BBC Radio 4, and his TV appearances include BBC2's The Great History Quiz and Inside Versailles. His first book A Million Years In A Day was a UK number 1 audiobook bestseller and was translated into nine languages. Chaired by John Mitchinson of Unbound, formerly elf-convenor at QI.

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Event 11

Maggie O'Farrell talks to Peter Florence

Fictions: Hamnet

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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* Shortlisted for the Women's Prize *

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; a flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker's son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

Maggie O'Farrell is the author of the memoir I Am, I Am, I Am, and eight novels: After You'd Gone, My Lover's Lover, The Distance Between Us, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox, The Hand That First Held Mine, which won the 2010 Costa Novel Award, Instructions For A Heatwave, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award, This Must Be The Place, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award, and Hamnet.

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Event 12

Rutger Bregman chaired by Lily Cole

Humankind: A Hopeful History

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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It’s a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Pinker, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed primarily by self-interest.

Providing a new historical perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history, Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. When we think the worst of others, it brings out the worst in our politics and economics too.

Rutger Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think and act, as the foundation for achieving true change in our society. It is time for a new view of human nature.

Bregman is one of Europe’s most prominent young historians. His previous book, Utopia for Realists was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been translated from the Dutch into more than thirty languages. Bregman has twice been nominated for the prestigious European Press Prize for his work at De Correspondent, and his writing has also featured in the Washington Post and the Guardian. His TED talk, ‘Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash’, has been viewed more than three million times.

In 2019, Bregman went viral after calling out tax-shy billionaires at the World Economic Forum in Davos and then again when he confronted Fox News host Tucker Carlson. These videos have been viewed over twenty-four-million times.

Lily Cole is an environmental activist, model, actress and filmmaker. She holds an MA in history of art from the University of Cambridge, was an affiliate at The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Glasgow, for her contribution to humanitarian and environmental causes through social businesses. Her book Who Cares Wins: Reasons for Optimism in our Changing World will be published in July.

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Event 13

Mark Lynas

Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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Illustrated with extraordinary images and graphics, the climate expert lays out the scale and timeline of threat to the planet. At one degree – the world we are already living in – vast wildfires scorch California and Australia, while monster hurricanes devastate coastal cities. At two degrees the Arctic ice cap melts away, and coral reefs disappear from the tropics. At three, the world begins to run out of food, threatening millions with starvation. At four, large areas of the globe are too hot for human habitation, erasing entire nations and turning billions into climate refugees. At five, the planet is warmer than for 55 million years, while at six degrees a mass extinction of unparalleled proportions sweeps the planet, even raising the threat of the end of all life on Earth.

These escalating consequences can still be avoided, but time is running out. We must largely stop burning fossil fuels within a decade if we are to save the coral reefs and the Arctic. If we fail, then we risk crossing tipping points that could push global climate chaos out of humanity’s control.

Mark Lynas is a journalist, campaigner and author of several books on the environment, including High Tide (2004), Six Degrees (2007), The God Species (2011), Nuclear 2.0 (2013) and Seeds of Science (2018). He has written for CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Times, the Guardian and is a visiting fellow with the Alliance for Science at Cornell University, New York. He lives in Herefordshire.

Chaired by Andy Fryers, Hay Festival's Sustainability Director.

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Event 14

Sally Davies

The John Maddox Lecture - The Drugs Don't Work

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Antibiotics add, on average, twenty years to our lives. For over seventy years, since the manufacture of penicillin in 1943, we have survived extraordinary operations and life-threatening infections. We are so familiar with these wonder drugs that we take them for granted. The truth is that we have been abusing them: as patients, as doctors, as travellers, in our food. No new class of antibacterial has been discovered for twenty six years and the bugs are fighting back. If we do not take responsibility now, in a few decades we may start dying from the most commonplace of operations and ailments that can today be treated easily.

Professor Dame Sally C. Davies was the Chief Medical Officer for England and the first woman to hold the post. She holds a number of international advisory positions and is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Introduced by Magdalena Skipper, Editor in Chief of Nature.

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Event 15

Jon Sopel talks to Guto Harri

A Year at the Circus: Inside Trump's White House

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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Welcome to the White House, five months out from an election that will define America's recovery.

At the heart of Washington, there is a circus. It's raucous, noisy and full of clowns. Reporting on it is a daily cacophony. Four major stories can blow up and blow out before breakfast, and political weather systems are moving at warp speed. The one thing absent from the weather forecast is the tranquil eye of the storm. That we never see.

In A Year at the Circus: Inside Trump's White House, BBC North America Editor, Jon Sopel, takes you inside Trump’s West Wing and explores the impact this presidency has had on the most iconic of American institutions. Each chapter starts inside a famous Washington room, uncovering its history and its new resonance in the Trump era.

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Event 16

Jonathan Bate

The Poet Who Changed the World: William Wordsworth and the Romantic Revolution

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage
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A dazzling new biography of Wordsworth’s radical life as a thinker and poetical innovator, published to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth.

William Wordsworth wrote the first great poetic autobiography. We owe to him the idea that places of outstanding natural beauty should become what he called ‘a sort of national property’. He changed forever the way we think about childhood, about the sense of the self, about our connection to the natural environment, and about the purpose of poetry.

He was born among the mountains of the English Lake District. He walked into the French Revolution, had a love affair and an illegitimate child, before witnessing horrific violence in Paris. His friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge was at the core of the Romantic movement. As he retreated from radical politics and into an imaginative world within, his influence would endure as he shaped the ideas of thinkers, writers and activists throughout the nineteenth century in both Britain and the United States.


In association with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Wordsworth Trust

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Event 17

Elif Shafak

Imagine the World in the time of the Coronavirus 1: Social Justice and Dignity

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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In this first of a series of short talks specially commissioned to engage with renewal the Turkish writer reflects on issues very close to her heart such as social justice, dignity, human rights, equality, public benefit, diversity…. and a new kind of political action. Elif Shafak is an activist for women's rights, minority rights, and freedom of speech. Her latest book 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker prize and for the Prix de Livre Etranger in France.

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Event 18

Paul Dolan and Magdalena Skipper talk to Rosie Boycott

Covid-19: What do we mean when we say we're guided by the Science?

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
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What are the medical imperatives? What are the dangers of the virus, isolation, domestic abuse, mental health crises and poverty? By focusing on the most vulnerable and elderly, are we doubling down on generational injustice? The behavioural economist Paul Dolan, author of Happy Ever After discusses the societal pressures and implications with Magdalena Skipper, the editor of Nature magazine.

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