Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
This first of this year’s all-star readings celebrates the most intimate of literary forms, the diary. Through the words of Samuel Pepys and Anne Frank to Bridget Jones and the most colourful observers of modern times, we explore the lives and loves, the gossip, the confessions, the wisdom and humour of private and public lives. The full cast will be announced on the day.
The 2018 Man Booker Prize winner discusses her darkly funny novel set in 1970s Belfast with the prize’s director.
“In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.”
“Milkman is extraordinary. I've been reading passages aloud for the pleasure of hearing it. It's frightening, hilarious, wily and joyous all at the same time.” - Lisa McInerney
A conversation between two writers renowned for their explorations of nature and landscape. Robert Macfarlane's Underland, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated non-fiction book of 2019, takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland's glaciers to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into the planet's past and future, and into darkness and its meanings. Global in its geography, gripping in its voice and haunting in its implications, it is both an ancient and an urgent work.
Macfarlane, a winner of the Hay Festival Prose Medal, is the author of Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks and (with Jackie Morris) The Lost Words. Horatio Clare’s latest books are The Light in the Dark and Something of his Art: Walking to Lübeck with JS Bach – Hay Festival’s Book of the Month for December 2018.
See also - event 14 on 29 May - Spell Songs, a musical performance of The Lost Words - Macfarlane's multi-award-winning collaboration with the artist Jackie Morris.