Football has always been a numbers game: 4-4-2, the big number 9 and 3 points for a win. But what if up until now we’ve been focusing on the wrong numbers? What if the numbers that really matter, the ones that hold the key to winning matches, are actually 2.66, 53.4, 50/50, and 0 > 1? What if managers only make a 15% difference? What if Chelsea should have bought Darren Bent? Chaired by Gooner Clemency Burton-Hill.
This year’s Hay Festival International Fellow spent the last year as Artist in Residence with the WRU and has produced this astonishing book about sport, about myth, about nationhood and identity. He is joined by the rugby columnist, author of Wales Play In Red. Chaired by Jasper Rees, author of Bred Of Heaven.
The representation of women both in games and the games industry has been changing over the last few years. Come and meet Pratchett, the lead writer on Tomb Raider who specialises in developing the narrative structure, humour and characterisation in games and played a key role in the reinvention of the legendary Lara Croft.
In October 2011 James Cracknell, two-time Olympic gold-medal rower and one of the greatest endurance athletes the world has ever known, suffered a seizure at home as his young son looked on in horror. A man who had known no limits, a man who had practically achieved the impossible, was now struggling to master life’s simple challenges.
A year earlier, as James undertook yet another endurance challenge in Arizona, he was knocked off his bike by the wing mirror of a petrol tanker. It had smashed into the back of his head at high speed, causing severe frontal lobe damage. The doctors weren’t sure if he would recover and, if he did, whether he would ever be the same again.
Touching Distance is an extraordinary, honest and powerful account as James and his wife Bev confront for the first time the lasting effects that the accident has had on their lives. It is the story of a marriage, of a family and of one man’s fight back to be the best husband and father he can be.
Since the early days of the Raj, cricket has been entwined with national identity and Pakistan’s successes helped to define its status in the world. In recent years its cricketers have been a prey to problems which have threatened Pakistan’s very existence: fall out from the ‘war on terror’, sectarian violence, gangsterism and corruption, deep-seated crises in education, health and the environment, and a shortage of effective leaders. For twenty years, Pakistani cricket has been stained by the scandalous behaviour of the players involved in match-fixing.
A wide-ranging conversation about ambitions and opportunities with several of the remarkable women living and working here in the Border Country as profiled by writer Julia Gregson and photographer Alex Pownall in their book Crossing Borders. Horse trainer Venetia Williams has won over £1m in prize-money this year. Revel Guest is a film-maker and chair of the Hay Festival. Elizabeth Haycox is the owner of Richard Booth’s Bookshop and a Trustee of Hay Castle. Tiffany Murray is a novelist, author of Diamond Star Halo. The session will include a tribute to the late Jean Miller.
Gonzo Davies, back-row forward and builder, knows the highs and lows of life; but as political and industrial corruption conspire to give parochial violence a national and international dimension, is he prepared to become the target of dark forces? The bestselling author of The Greatest Welsh XV Ever, best known now as the BBC’s voice of international rugby, brings us his first novel and looks forward to this autumn's Rugby World Cup.
Bernard Hinault is one of the greatest cyclists of all time. He is a five-time winner of the Tour de France and the only man to have won each of the Grand Tours on more than one occasion. Hinault is the last ‘old-school’ champion: a larger-than-life character from a working-class background, capable of winning on all terrains, in major Tours and one-day Classics. Nicknamed ‘The Badger’ for his combative style, he led a cyclists’ strike in his first Tour and instigated a legendary punch-up with demonstrators in 1982 while in the middle of a race. Hinault’s battles with teammates Laurent Fignon and Greg LeMond provide some of the greatest moments in Tour history.
Sports writer and journalist William Fotheringham is the Guardian's cycling correspondent and author of a number of books about the cycling world, including the number one bestseller Merckx: Half Man Half Bike and biographies of Fausto Coppi and Tom Simpson.
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A conversation with the owner of Pearl Island Arabians based in Herefordshire, one of the most successful stud farms in the world, breeding from pure Bahraini bloodlines. She talks about her work with horses and her racy novels in the Seven Bands of Gold series, which recall the bestselling tales of Harold Robbins. Jenny is a member of the Hay Writers Circle. She talks to Corisande Albert, producer of the Horsetales documentaries.
Gareth Thomas had it all. He was a national hero, a sporting icon. He was a leader of men, captain of Wales and the British Lions. To him, rugby was an expression of cultural identity, a sacred code. It was no mere ball game. It gave him everything, except the freedom to be himself. This is the story of a man with a secret that was slowly killing him. Something he feared might devastate not only his own life but the lives of his wife, family, friends and teammates. His fear that telling the truth about his sexuality would lose him everything he loved almost sent him over the edge. The deceit ended when Gareth became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man. His gesture has strengthened strangers, and given him a fresh perspective.
Bob Cole from Herefordshire was the long-distance Olympian who never got the chance to prove it. Eccentric and solitary, he competed on the professional circuit and was proclaimed world champion, but forever banned from the Olympics. Herington, author of a new biography, discusses the amazing story of a forgotten hero from the Chariots of Fire era.
Ninety-five per cent of all thoroughbreds in the world are descended from one horse, the so-called Darley Arabian, shipped from Aleppo to Yorkshire in 1704 by a second son who failed to make his fortune and died before he could follow his horse home. The former racing correspondent on the Independent tells the story of the men and women who owned and traded and bred the horses descended from that first stallion. He also follows the men they hired to train them, and the jockeys who rode them and sometimes rescued them from the knacker’s yard, unwittingly preserving the genetic line of winners that currently resides with the champion Frankel. Chaired by the producer of the Horse Tales documentaries Corisande Albert.
Llanelli is one of the world’s greatest rugby towns, and home to one of the most loved and followed teams, The Scarlets. The broadcaster and journalist, whose other books include Who Beat the All Blacks?, yarns the best tales and traditions of the club with one of its most favoured sons, the legendary fly-half Phil Bennett. They talk to Dai Smith. A safe bet that stories will be told of 31 October 1972, when the final scoreboard famously read: Llanelli 9 Seland Newydd 3. There may be singing. #sosbanfach
A conversation with the legendary British cyclist, gold medallist in the Barcelona Olympics, Tour de France hero, and latterly the backroom ‘marginal gains’ genius of British cycling in his role as head of the R&D team, The Secret Squirrels.
The Olympian diving star shares what he’s learned about how to stay fit, healthy and positive. His secrets include delicious food, workouts anyone can do (he promises!) and invaluable motivational and lifestyle tips. He talks to the award-winning sports writer Carolyn Hitt.
The great Arsenal and England defender explains the struggles he’s faced to stay sober for 20 years and why he set up Sporting Chance, the charity which provides treatment and support for sports stars suffering from addictions. He gives his incisive thoughts on England’s continued failings in major tournaments and assesses why Arsenal has struggled to repeat the title-winning formula of his own time there.