Fiction

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Ella Hickson in conversation with Francine Stock

Wendy and Peter Pan

Winter Weekend 2013, 

The RSC’s Christmas production is JM Barrie’s classic tale of the boy who never grows up, adapted in a spectacular new version by Ella Hickson. Here Ella talks about how she approached the story, what new twists she has brought to it and some of the things that happen to Wendy during the story.

Ella Hickson in conversation with Francine Stock

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Rhidian Brook talks to Peter Florence

The Aftermath

Winter Weekend 2013, 
The novelist discusses his superbly controlled emotional thriller – a tale of passion, betrayal and conscience set in post-war Germany.  'My fiction of the year. Perfect for anyone who loved Atonement, Captain Corelli's Mandolin or Anna Karenina' – Peter Florence
 
 
Rhidian Brook talks to Peter Florence

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Wendy Jones

The World is a Wedding

Winter Weekend 2013, 

The whimsical world of undertaker Wilfred Price springs to glorious life in the second chapter of Wendy Jones’ enchanting Welsh odyssey. Entertaining popular fiction at its best. In conversation with Andy Fryers.

Wendy Jones

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GF Newman talks to Peter Florence

Dark Heart

Winter Weekend 2013, 

The story of Jake Mann, a Jesuit priest who is posted to Nigeria where he suppresses his obsessive desire for women but proves too radical for both the Church and the local security forces, getting involved in campaigns against Big Oil, and discovering a talent for exorcism. A series of bizarre killings follow, both in Nigeria and back in the UK. Most terrifying for Jake is when he realises the identity of the darkest heart behind these killings…

GF Newman talks to Peter Florence

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Jay Griffiths

Imagine the World

Hay Festival 2015, 

Griffiths will be the International Hay Festival Fellow for the next 12 months, visiting all our festivals around the world. Her visionary and poetic work explores her interest in nature, anthropology and art. Her books include Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape, Wild: An Elemental Journey, Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time, and her fictionalised hymn to Frida Kahlo, A Love Letter to a Stray Moon. She talks to Peter Florence.

Jay Griffiths

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Steven Knight talks to Peter Florence

Peaky Blinders

Hay Festival 2015, 

The screenwriter and creator of the hit gangster drama talks about the Selby family, tribal war, and the crime-world of post-war Birmingham. Knight is screenwriter of Dirty Pretty Things and Locke. Introduced by Caryn Mandabach.

We will also be screening all six episodes of Series 2, starring Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory and Tom Hardy, from 1pm at Richard Booths Bookshop Cinema in Hay.

Steven Knight talks to Peter Florence

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Helen Lederer talks to Georgina Godwin

Fictions – Losing It

Hay Festival 2015, 

When Millie’s asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved… The actress and comedy writer introduces her desperately funny first novel.

Helen Lederer talks to Georgina Godwin

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Andrew O’Hagan talks to Rosie Boycott

Fictions – The Illuminations

Hay Festival 2015, 

How much do we keep from the people we love? Why is the truth so often buried in secrets? Can we learn from the past or must we forget it? O’Hagan’s fifth novel is a beautiful, deeply charged story about love and memory, about modern war and the complications of fact.

Photo: Tricia Malley Ross Gillespie

Andrew O’Hagan talks to Rosie Boycott

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Irvine Welsh talks to Andrew O’Hagan

Fictions – A Decent Ride

Hay Festival 2015, 

In his funniest and filthiest novel yet, Welsh celebrates an unreconstructed misogynist hustler – a central character who is shameless but also, oddly, decent – and finds new ways of making wild comedy out of fantastically dark material, taking on some of the last taboos. So fasten your seatbelts, because this is one ride that could certainly get a little bumpy…

Irvine Welsh talks to Andrew O’Hagan

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Graham Swift

Fictions – England and other Stories

Hay Festival 2015, 

Through the 25 stories in Swift’s most recent anthology, we are steered effortlessly from the Civil War to the present day, from world-shaking events to the secret dramas lived out in rooms, workplaces, homes. With his remarkable sense of place, he charts an intimate human geography and, in doing so, he moves us profoundly, but with a constant eye for comedy. He reads from the collection and discusses his work with Peter Florence.

Graham Swift

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Sarah Winman talks to Georgina Godwin

Fictions - A Year of Marvellous Ways

Hay Festival 2015, 

The author of When God was a Rabbit – selected for World Book Night 2015 – introduces her second novel. Marvellous Ways is 89 years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life. Lately she’s taken to spending her days sitting on a mooring stone by the river with a telescope. She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it.

Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War. When his promise to fulfil a dying man’s last wish sees him wash up in Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid. As an unlikely friendship grows between the two, can Drake give Marvellous what she needs to say goodbye to the world, and can she give him what he needs to go on?

Sarah Winman talks to Georgina Godwin

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Paul St George with Polly Stenham and Jessie Burton

Slow Fiction

Hay Festival 2015, 

Slow Fiction is inspired by the predella, the sequence of four or five pictures under a Renaissance altarpiece that tell the story of the annunciation, the adoration, or the pietà. If the large altarpiece painting is one moment in time, the predella shows the moments leading up to that key frame and sometimes what happens after. The artist Paul St George works with writers, translating selections of their writing into small sequences of sculptures making three-dimensional stories. Two of the first authors to be excited by this new way of bringing readers to writing are Polly Stenham, author of Hotel, and Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist: ‘To see my written words reimagined for a different audience, giving another take on the story-telling process – what we omit, what we emphasise, and what we leave behind – in a newly-configured presentation, is a true thrill.’

Paul St George with Polly Stenham and Jessie Burton

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Colm Tóibín talks to Sarah Churchwell

Nora Webster and On Elizabeth Bishop

Hay Festival 2015, 

Set in 1960s Ireland, Tóibín’s new novel Nora Webster introduces one of the most complex and captivating heroines of contemporary fiction. He discusses the book and his new study On Elizabeth Bishop. He creates a vivid picture of the American poet while also revealing how her work has helped shape his sensibility as a novelist and how her experiences of loss and exile resonate with his own.

Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

Colm Tóibín talks to Sarah Churchwell

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Kazuo Ishiguro talks to Martha Kearney

The Buried Giant

Hay Festival 2015, 

‘There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…’ The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day.

The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased.

The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards – some strange and other-worldly – but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another.

Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

Kazuo Ishiguro talks to Martha Kearney

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Elif Shafak

Fictions – The Architect’s Apprentice

Hay Festival 2015, 

Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare white elephant destined for the palace menagerie… The Turkish author of The Forty Rules of Love and Honour discusses her mesmerizing new novel with William Sieghart.

Elif Shafak

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Owen Sheers talks to Alex Clark

Fictions – I Saw a Man

Hay Festival 2015, 

The event that changed all of their lives happened on a Saturday afternoon in June, just minutes after Michael Turner – thinking the Nelsons’ house was empty – stepped through their back door.

Moving from London and New York to the deserts of Nevada, Sheers’ new novel is a brilliant exploration of violence, guilt and attempted redemption, written with the pace and grip of a thriller. He takes the reader from close observation of the domestic sphere to some of the most important questions and dilemmas of the contemporary world.

Sheers is a poet and playwright whose latest works include the National Theatre of Wales’ Mametz, the award-winning poem Pink Mist and Calon.

Owen Sheers talks to Alex Clark

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Marina Warner talks to László Krasznahorkai

The Winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize

Hay Festival 2015, 

The chair of judges interviews the winner of the £60,000 2015 Prize, who was announced on 19 May in London.

Born in 1954, László Krasznahorkai gained considerable recognition in 1985 when he published Satantango, which he later adapted for the cinema in collaboration with the filmmaker Bela Tarr. In 1993, he received the German Bestenliste Prize for the best literary work of the year for The Melancholy of Resistance and has since been honoured with numerous literary prizes, amongst them the highest award of the Hungarian state, the Kossuth Prize.

Krasznahorkai and his translator George Szirtes were longlisted for the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Satantango and Krasznahorkai has won the Best Translated Book Award in the US two years in a row, in 2013 for Satantango and in 2014 for Seiobo There Below. Seiobo There Below was published in the UK on 7 May by Tuskar Rock Press.

The judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize was chaired by celebrated writer and academic Marina Warner. The panel also comprised Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London; acclaimed author Nadeem Aslam; novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer, who is currently Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University; and Edwin Frank, editorial director of the New York Review Books Classics.

The judges said of Krasznahorkai’s work: ‘In László Krasznahorkai’s The Melancholy of Resistance, a sinister circus has put a massive taxidermic specimen, a whole whale, Leviathan itself, on display in a country town. Violence soon erupts, and the book as a whole could be described as a vision, satirical and prophetic, of the dark historical province that goes by the name of Western Civilisation. Here, however, as throughout Krasznahorkai’s work, what strikes the reader above all are the extraordinary sentences, sentences of incredible length that go to incredible lengths, their tone switching from solemn to madcap to quizzical to desolate as they go their wayward way; epic sentences that, like a lint roll, pick up all sorts of odd and unexpected things as they accumulate inexorably into paragraphs that are as monumental as they are scabrous and musical.’

Announcing the winner, Marina Warner commented: ‘Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful. The Melancholy of Resistance, Satantango and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence. Krasznahorkai, who writes in Hungarian, has been superbly served by his translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet.’

Marina Warner talks to László Krasznahorkai

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Robert Irwin and Azar Nafisi

Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange

Hay Festival 2015, 

On the shrouded corpse hung a tablet of green topaz with the inscription: ‘I am Shaddad the Great. I conquered a thousand cities; a thousand white elephants were collected for me; I lived for a thousand years and my kingdom covered both east and west, but when death came to me nothing of all that I had gathered was of any avail. You who see me take heed: for Time is not to be trusted.’

Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest known Arabic short stories, surviving in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some found their way into The Arabian Nights but most have never been read in English before. Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange has monsters, lost princes, jewels beyond price, a princess turned into a gazelle, sword-wielding statues and shocking reversals of fortune.

Robert Irwin’s books include For Lust of Knowing: The Orientalists and Their Enemies, The Middle East in the Middle Ages, The Arabian Nights: A Companion and (as editor) The Penguin Anthology of Classical Arabian Literature. Azar Nafisi taught Western literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University and the University of Allameh Tabatabai in Iran. In 1981 she was expelled from the University of Tehran after refusing to wear the veil. In 1994 she won a teaching fellowship from Oxford University, and in 1997 she and her family left Iran for America. She is the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Things I’ve Been Silent About.

Robert Irwin and Azar Nafisi

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Melissa Harrison and Laline Paull

Fictions – Nature

Hay Festival 2015, 

 Discover two of the most thrilling new voices in fiction. Building to an extraordinary climax over the course of one spring month, Harrison’s second novel At Hawthorn Time is both a clear-eyed picture of rural Britain, and a heartbreaking exploration of love, land and loss. Paull’s debut The Bees is set entirely in a beehive. It is the story of a heroine, Flora 717, a sanitation bee who, in the face of an increasingly desperate struggle for survival, changes her destiny and her world. They read and talk to Mary Loudon.

Melissa Harrison and Laline Paull

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Azar Nafisi talks to Sarah Churchwell

The Republic of Imagination

Hay Festival 2015, 

From the author of the bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran comes a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction today. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favourite novels, the scholar and teacher invites us to join her as citizens of her ‘Republic of Imagination’, a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

Azar Nafisi talks to Sarah Churchwell

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Tom Holland, Bettany Hughes, Peter Stothard

Fictions – Mary Renault

Hay Festival 2015, 

We celebrate the republication of Renault’s fabulous Greek historical novels – The Bull from the Sea, The King Must Die, Fire From Heaven, Funeral Games, Lion in the Gateway and The Persian Boy. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.

Tom Holland, Bettany Hughes, Peter Stothard

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Jessie Burton talks to Georgina Godwin

Fictions – The Miniaturist

Hay Festival 2015, 

On an autumn day in 1686, 18-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. The novelist discusses her multi-award-winning debut novel.

Jessie Burton talks to Georgina Godwin

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Daniel Kehlmann and Dorthe Nors

Fictions – Laughter

Hay Festival 2015, 

Two international superstars read and discuss their stories with Daniel Hahn. Kehlman presents his new novel F: the Friedland brothers have nothing in common. Martin is a priest with no faith. Ivan is an artist with no integrity. Eric is a financier – now, with no money. Each, in their own way, a fake. Each about to step into the abyss. Nors introduces her glitteringly funny and acute stories of Danish life collected in Karate Chop / Minna Needs Rehearsal Space. Blending compassion with dark delight, Nors conjures up a flawed, unsettlingly familiar world with each cautionary glance as fresh moments of wonder, romance and frail beauty are unexpectedly infiltrated by depravity, isolation and despair.

Daniel Kehlmann and Dorthe Nors

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Sheila Hancock talks to Francine Stock

Fictions – Miss Carter’s War

Hay Festival 2015, 

It is 1948 and the young and beautiful Marguerite Carter has lost her parents and survived a terrifying war, working for the SOE behind enemy lines. She returns to England to be one of the first women to receive a degree from the University of Cambridge. Now she pins back her unruly auburn curls, draws a pencil seam up her legs, ties the laces on her sensible black shoes, and sets out towards her future as an English teacher in a girls’ grammar school. Outside the classroom Britain is changing fast, and Miss Carter finds herself caught up in social upheaval, swept in and out of love and forging deep, enduring friendships. The first novel from the actress and award-winning author of The Two of Us and Just Me.

Sheila Hancock talks to Francine Stock

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Sandi Toksvig

The Hay Library Lecture

Hay Festival 2015, 

 A celebration of reading and books from the comedian, broadcaster and writer whose books include the novels Hitler’s Canary, Flying Under Bridges and Valentine Grey, children’s stories The Littlest Viking and The Troublesome Tooth Fairy, non-fiction best-sellers Peas & Queues and Girls Are Best and the play Bully Boy. Introduced by Sue Wilkinson.

Sandi Toksvig

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