Julie Owen Moylan’s debut novel That Green Eyed Girl, set between the 1950s and 1970s, is an evocative page-turner about jealousy, loyalty and the secrets we keep to protect those we love. Drawn to women’s history, she tells the stories of complicated people at complicated times – those who don’t conform to social pressures. Mental health, sexuality, infatuation, first love and first heartbreak – above all it’s about a very human need to connect with people and be understood. Author Louise Hare’s debut novel This Lovely City was published in 2020.
Supported by Hawthornden Literary Retreat
Photographers John Bulmer and Billie Charity talk about their photo books, shot in the Marches. John’s A Very English Village was shot 50 years ago in Pembridge and Billie’s Lockdown Light captured lockdown in and around Hay. They discuss the changes five decades have wrought both in the subjects and the process of taking photographs and publishing them in book form.
Are universities losing the culture war? From the doctors and nurses in our hospitals to the teachers in our schools and the scientists developing vaccines, universities train the professionals who form the backbone of our society. So why, in recent times, have universities fallen out of favour with Government ministers and the media? What can the sector do to prove its worth and help the nation in the recovery from the pandemic and beyond?
Diana Beech is CEO of London Higher, Richard Brabner is Director of UPP Foundation, Jane Britton is Director of Communications and External Affairs at the University of Worcester and David Green is their Vice Chancellor.
So much has been written about Norman Scott – from the newspapers who covered the Jeremy Thorpe trial in 1979, insulting Norman with homophobic slurs, to the book A Very English Scandal and its subsequent dramatisation (Norman was played by Ben Whishaw). Here, for the first time, he tells his remarkable story in his own words to writer and former broadcast journalist Rachel Clarke. From his disruptive childhood to how he found solace in friendship with animals and some of the jaw-dropping characters and moments that he has encountered throughout a quite remarkable life, in An Accidental Icon he reveals the life of a man many people think they know, but do not.
Elizabeth and Mary take us through a new booklet on many of the smaller churches and chapels local to Hay-on-Wye. In its foreword Simon Jenkins describes them as ‘among the loveliest in Britain’. They house superb rood screens, magnificent fonts, a water-powered organ, a rare monolithic stone preaching cross and the only parish Dead House in Wales.
Join the audience for a recording of Sky Arts Big Weekend, a 90-minute TV programme featuring interviews and conversations with some of the biggest and best names at the Festival. The programmes will air across the weekend of 10–12 June on Sky Arts (Freeview Channel 11), Sky Arts HD and Now. Studio guests include Anthony Horowitz, Jeffrey Boakye, Laurie Penny, Alexis Caught and Cressida Cowell.
Throughout another year of bluster and bedlam in Westminster, John Crace’s brilliantly acerbic political sketches have once more provided the nation with a much-needed injection of humour and satire. In A Farewell to Calm the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer introduces an infectiously funny selection of his finest pieces and talks to journalist Max Liu about everything from Covid to Partygate and Brexit to war in Ukraine.
“It’s now becoming easier and easier to predict government policy. Just listen to what the prime minister said in the morning and the opposite is likely to be true come the middle of the afternoon.”
MacManus, aka DJ and broadcaster Annie Mac, discusses her new direction – a writing debut. A powerful coming of age novel and an intimate family study, Mother Mother examines the cost of unconditional love.
Mary McConnell grew up longing for information about the mother she never knew – who died suddenly when Mary was only a baby. Her brother Sean was barely old enough to remember, and their father numbed his pain with drink. Now thirty-five years old, Mary has lived in the same house her whole life. She’s never left Belfast. She has a son, TJ, who’s about to turn eighteen, and is itching to see more of the world. One Saturday morning, TJ wakes up to find his mother gone. He doesn’t know where – or why – but he’s the only one who can help find her.
Mother Mother takes us down the challenging road of Mary’s life, while following Joe’s increasingly desperate search for his mother, as he begins to understand what has led her to this point.
Sixteen hundred years ago Britain left the Roman Empire and swiftly fell into ruin. Into this violent and unstable world came foreign invaders from across the sea, and established themselves as its new masters. In his sweeping and original history, renowned historian Marc Morris separates the truth from the legend and tells the extraordinary story of how the foundations of England were laid.
Dame Jacqueline Wilson is the highly acclaimed and adored author of so many stories for young people including The Story of Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. She is praised for her engaging, warm, funny and insightful take on subjects from adoption to divorce and children in care. She will be in lively conversation with John Wilson about the most formative influences on her writing life for a special edition of BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life.
Melvyn Bragg revisits and reflects on his life from childhood to adulthood in the Cumbrian market town of Wigton, from the early years alone with his mother while his father fought in the war to the moment he left the town. It’s the tale of a working-class boy who grew up in a pub and expected to leave school at 15; who happily roamed the streets and raided orchards with his friends yet had a chronic breakdown when he was 13, forcing him to find new survival strategies; who was deeply embedded in a close-knit community, and experiencing the joys of first love, yet also found himself drawn to a mentor keen to steer him towards the challenge of an Oxford scholarship.
It’s equally the tale of the place that formed him and a compelling and poignant recreation of a vanished era: an elegy for a community-spirited northern town with its factories and churches and chapels steeped in the old ways, but on the cusp of rapid post-war change; and a celebration of the glorious Lakeland landscapes which inspired Bragg from an early age. This love letter to his home town and the people who shaped him is imbued with all the luminous wonder of those indelible early memories which nurtured his future life as a writer, broadcaster, and champion of the arts.
In this spoken-word event PJ Harvey recites poems from her new book and discusses the lyric line with renowned British poet and writer Paul Farley. Orlam reveals Harvey as a gifted poet – whose formal skill and transforming eye and ear have produced a strange and moving poem like no other. Orlam is not only a remarkable coming-of-age tale, but the first full-length book written in the Dorset dialect for many decades.
Jeffrey Boakye was often the only black boy in his class. And then, after training to become a teacher, he was often teaching the handful of black students, as the only black teacher in the school. In I Heard What You Said, Boakye recounts how that felt and how it feels. His report exposes the underlying habits, presumptions, silences and distortions that underpin the whole British educational system that black students, and teachers, experience. He offers sharp analysis, sharp patter and even sharper hopes for what might come, to writer and critic Chris Power.
Global conservation efforts are failing to halt the current rate of extinction. As wildlife declines, conservation needs to make trade-offs, but what should we conserve and why? What do we want the ‘natural world’ to look like? And how close are we to forgetting what we’re about to lose?
In Tickets for the Ark ecologist Rebecca Nesbit questions our preferences for some species over others, and challenges our assumptions that native is always better than invasive, and ‘wild’ is always superior to human-altered. She gives ethics a central role in considering nature.
Millennial science communicator Sophie Pavelle’s Forget Me Not: Finding the Forgotten Species of Climate-change Britain is a clarion call, following rare native species on the front lines of the climate and biodiversity crises. They discuss the environmental crisis and the urgent, passionate attention needed from us all.
Join Helena Merriman (Creator of Tunnel 29 and Room 5) for a special recording of BBC Radio 4’s new series all about our minds and bodies – and what happens when they behave in ways we don’t understand.
Helena’s guest is Abi Morgan - the BAFTA and Emmy-award winning playwright and screenwriter whose credits include The Iron Lady, Suffragette, Sex Traffic, The Hour, Brick Lane and Shame. Abi Morgan is also the creator and writer of BBC drama, The Split.
Abi will be talking about her book - This is Not A Pity Memoir. One June morning, Abi came home to find the man she loved lying on the bathroom floor. Rushed to hospital, he was put into a coma and it was clear that life as they knew it would never be the same again.
Mistakes happen. In most fields the consequences are limited, but in healthcare they can be fatal. Every week in England there are 150 avoidable deaths. Most tragedies could be prevented simply and cheaply if we were better at learning from mistakes. Instead, the system ‘goes after’ someone when something goes wrong, and the result is a blame game that stops learning and allows the same mistake to be repeated, often countless times.
Zero investigates how the NHS can reduce the number of avoidable deaths to zero, and in the process save money, reduce backlogs and improve working conditions. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt speaks to NHS palliative care doctor, writer and former broadcast journalist Rachel Clarke about the imperative to deliver the safest, highest quality care in the NHS post-pandemic – our own 1948 moment.
The author of the bestselling, Booker Prize-shortlisted phenomenon We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves discusses her brilliant new historical novel, Booth. In 1822, the Booth family move into a secret cabin near Baltimore to farm; to hide. Junius – breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor and master of the house in all ways – is at once a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability.
The Booths cement their place as one of the country’s leading theatrical families, but behind the curtains multiple scandals, family triumphs and disasters begin to take their toll. But it is Johnny who makes the terrible decision that will change the course of history – the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
A God at the Door, by poet and dancer Tishani Doshi, is an exquisite collection about nature and humanity to elevate the marginalised. Paul Farley’s latest eclectic poetry collection The Mizzy ranges from confusing encounters with tech, modernity and its accelerated rate of change, to the lives of others and their strange occupations. Conversation and readings with the founder of National Poetry Day and the Forward Prize, William Sieghart.
From ghostly phantoms to UFOs, The Battersea Poltergeist’s Danny Robins investigates real-life stories of paranormal encounters with special guests paranormal experts Ciaran O'Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow.
A new collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe brings nine performances of Julius Caesar to a specially commissioned open-air theatre at the newly renovated Hay Castle. The travelling company of actors, will bring to life Shakespeare’s political thriller with a stripped back production made fresh for our world today.
Touring has been a longstanding tradition at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, since the tours of the Elizabethan Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Shakespeare’s versatile troupe toured frequently in the summer especially when there was a plague or political unrest. Shakespeare’s Globe has now established a world renowned reputation for highly ambitious and economical Shakespearean storytelling in the rough and ready fashion of Elizabethan times.
“We are so delighted to be able to finally come to the Hay Festival to perform against the breath-taking backdrop of Hay Castle.” – Shakespeare’s Globe
Click here to pre-book a delicious picnic box to enjoy during the performance.