News and Live Updates from Hay Festival 2018

Bestsellers 3 June
Bestsellers in the Festival Bookshop on the last day of the Festival were: Read more
The Celts Re-examined
Professor Alice Roberts challenged the common narrative of Celtic identity and its origins, as she examined artefacts and material evidence in a fascinating lecture. Read more
How Birds Got Their Names
There are 10,700 species of bird, which means there are 10,700 bird names. Ornithologist Stephen Moss explained how they got them, referring to his latest book, Mrs Moreau’s WarblerRead more
Moral Order in a Divided World
For novelist and historian, Michael Ignatieff, we live in a society that’s experienced a moral revolution. From decolonisation to feminism and the advent of human rights as we know them, he has examined the moral fabric of our communities in order to understand exactly how they work. Read more
Gordon Brown urges Britain to address causes of Brexit, fight Brexit itself
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown came to Hay to urge Britain to take seriously the anger and frustrations that caused voters to back Leave in the Brexit referendum, but said we need to fight to keep Britain in the European Union itself. Read more
celebrating local, sustainable food at Hay
First ever food awards at Hay Festival   Read more
Hinduism Today

In his new book Why I Am a Hindu, Shahsi Tharoor explained Hinduism’s origins and its appeal today.

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Dream Big, says Chelsea Clinton
"Speak up, rise up and dream big" – Chelsea Clinton’s message to girls at Hay Festival today  Read more
A panel of five women in the media, who also happen to be mothers, convened on the Hay stage to discuss the challenges of today. Read more
Bridget Kendall on the Cold War
Bridget Kendall understand war and how it shapes our societies. Following her Radio 4 programme, Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze, the now Cambridge academic has released a book that looks at the 20th century war that divided the globe. Read more
Kid Normal pays a visit to Hay
It’s been a big week for Radio 1 DJ Greg James. First it was revealed that he is taking over the station’s Breakfast Show, then he announced his engagement and today he was entertaining children and their parents at Hay Festival.
Read more
Is the future bright for wildlife?
“What is the current state of British nature?” This question motivated Mark Cocker to write his latest book, Our Place, which explores wildlife conservation from historic, cultural and political perspectives.  Read more
Chris Bonington, a Mountaineering Legend
Climber Chris Bonington is famous for scaling great heights but in an emotional conversation at Hay Festival he delved into some of his deepest lows.

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Culture after Conflict
 Cambridge lecturer Dacia Viejo-Rose examined the political significance of cultural heritage sites as a way of understanding the impact of war, violence, and conflict on communities.  Read more
Germaine Bloody Greer
A new BBC2 documentary is anything but polite. Delving into the writer and academic’s life, Germaine Bloody Greer mixes new interviews with archive footage to give a fuller picture of who Germaine Greer really is. Read more
Driving Home Both Ways
Dylan Moore holds the 2018 Creative Wales Hay Festival International Fellowship, and launched his book Driving Home Both Ways today at Hay  Read more
The Road to Radicalisation
Acclaimed Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad was at the Hay Festival today to discuss her latest book  about the radicalisation of two Norwegian-Somali sisters.

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Can digital technology be sustainable?
Kate Brandt, Google's Sustainabiltiy Director, launched Project Sunroof at Hay Festival on one of the sunniest days of the year. Read more
Alan Hollinghurst on the future of Gay fiction
Novelist Alan Hollinghurst discussed his latest decades-spanning novel, The Sparsholt Affair, and his illustrious writing career in a conversation with Georgina Godwin.
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Marian Keyes on writing honestly about love and life

Marian Keyes is not afraid to talk honestly. From alcoholism to the recent Irish referendum, she gave Hay’s audience today an insight into her world.

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Once upon a time...
Philip Pullman and Marina Warner paid tribute at Hay to the world expert on folklore and fairytales, Jack Zipes, who turned 80 last year. Read more
Philip Pullman explains why literature is a human necessity
Daniel Hahn introduced the author, Philip Pullman, today as ‘one of the great builders of worlds’. Discussing his novel, La Belle Sauvage and his collection of essays, Demon Voices, Pullman let the Hay audience in to his world, revealing his greatest literary secrets along the way. Read more
David Miliband comes to Hay to urge Britain to fight Brexit
David Miliband, the former Labour minister and current Head of the International Rescue Committee, came to the Hay Festival to urge voters to engage more in helping refugees. Jim Naughtie, who was interviewing him, couldn’t resist asking him about Brexit, however, and about whether he’ll make a return to British politics. Read more
Drawing inspiration from the Wye
The otters stayed away, but illustrator Jackie Morris caught them on paper, as she explained some of her techniques to a group on the River Wye, which flows through Hay.
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Speaking in Tongues
Learning another language could fend off dementia, and makes you more sensitive to other people's views, said a Cambridge professor at Hay today. Read more
An exploration into Artificial Intelligence
James Scott knows a lot about Artificial Intelligence. From its practicalities and its failings to its currently incomprehensive possibilities, his book, AIQ seeks to explain and humanise the technology that so often baffles society. Read more
The Killing of Butterfly Joe
Rhidian Brook’s new novel, The Killing of Butterfly Joe, was inspired by his one-time job of selling butterflies in glass cases in America. Read more
A Case for Higher Education
In his new book, A University Education, David Willetts makes a case for going to university and takes readers through the origins of the British higher education system we have come to know today.
Read more
The Inflamed Mind

Worldwide depression will be the single biggest cause of disability in the next 20 years, but research into new treatment has been at a standstill according to Professor Ed Bullmore.

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A Story of Dance
An Ethiopian group is using dance to transform the lives of young and disadvantaged people throughout their country and beyond, and researching the story behind the movements.  Read more
Time to Dream
What happened when a children's writer and a mathematician put their heads together. Read more
Richard Dawkins comes to Hay to talk God, genes, and altruism

Professor Richard Dawkins came to Hay to talk God, evolution and bishops. He said he was certain -- 6.9 out of seven -- that God doesn’t exist, and appeared to be delighted about it.

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Bestsellers 1 June
Bestsellers in the Festival Bookshop Friday 1 June Read more
Adventures in the health service.
Rachel Clarke and Adam Kay shared their accounts of their time in the health service and the pressure and challenges of being a doctor at the Hay Festival today.
Read more
The Political Impact of Trump’s Anger
Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Director of Research Development and Environment at Cardiff University, discussed Trump’s tendency towards anger, and its U.S. and global impact.  Read more
Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up

The V&A's Claire Wilcox offered the Hay audience an insight into a new exhibition that uncovers the personal collections of the iconic Mexican artist.

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Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Former Google strategist, and now Oxford-trained philosopher James Williams, is on a mission to help society re-evaluate the way it engages with technology. From our social media use to our interaction with algorithmic advertising, he wants to ensure that technology does not get in the way of our everyday life..

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Where to Find Real Women?
Three of Sarah Dunant's 11 books feature characters from the Renaissance. She brought their stories to Hay Festival.  Read more
Meditation and Restorative Justice – Ronald Higgins Memorial Lecture
Mohamed Keshavjee delved into the world of Ronald Higgins today at Hay. In his lecture entitled Meditation and Restorative Justice, he reacted to Higgins’ book The Seventh Enemy and Plotting Peace: The Owls Reply to the Hawks and considered its principles from a modern perspective.  Read more
Keeping Faith
Writer Matthew Hall and actress Eve Myles discussed their popular Pembrokeshire-set crime drama, Keeping Faith, which has aired in both English and Welsh. Read more
A Life in Death
Author Sue Black confronts death everyday, a professor of anatomy and anthropology she works in war zones and despite all she confronts and sees brings a deeply humane perspective to her job. Read more
The discovery of zero
Marcus du Sautoy went from zero to infinity on the Hay Festival stage and converted sceptics to a love of maths.  Read more
On War and Wounds
“What was it about war that made it my subject?” The question was the starting point for Fergal Keane’s latest book, Wounds which he discussed today with Peter Florence.  Read more
A Prophet Is not Without Honour...
The Library of Wales is a Parthian Press project to rediscover forgotten and silenced Welsh writers working in the English language. It currently contains 50 volumes of fiction, poetry, short stories and memoirs.  Read more
Alexander McCall Smith reveals that he’s suffering from “Serial-novel-ism”
The last time McCall Smith was in Hay, he was presented with a pig (and a lot of champagne) as the winner of the Wodehouse prize for comedy. No prize was awarded this year, and McCall Smith said he was worried that perhaps Britain was slightly losing its sense of humour. Read more
The Flu Epidemic that changed the World

Laura Spinney is trying to change the way history remembers the Spanish Flu of 1918. From its catastrophic effects to its importance in modern society, her new book is a revaluation of the pandemic that was forgotten.

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Care for the dying
David Clark unpicks the history of Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement in his new  biography published for the centenary of her birth.
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Creating Stories From World News
Four authors who tackle human trafficking, the refugee crisis and slave labour in their young adult fiction talked today about turning demonising news reports into human stories.
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What are the best reasons to become a Marxist?
The literary critic, polymath and cultural theorist Terry Eagleton brought his unique blend of philosophy, wit and reason to Hay’s Tata Stage. An enthralled audience sat spell-bound as he delved into Marxism, Christianity, Brexit and the modern world.  Read more
A Noble Man
Iconic Welsh broadcaster Roy Noble brought his forty years of experience and his latest book Down the Road and Round the Bend to the Hay Festival.

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Still Me
Bestselling novelist Jojo Moyes discussed her sequel to Me Before You and After YouRead more
Bestsellers 31 May

The Hay Festival Bookshop bestsellers for Thursday 31 May.

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Around the World in 80 Trees
Jonathan Drori of the Woodland Trust and the Eden Project entertained the Hay audience with remarkable stories about trees, and their importance to the future of the planet. Read more
Buses, streakers, curries, pigeons: an evening with a Dear Old Thing
Legendary commentator Henry Blofeld was in Hay for a delicious hour of anecdotes and insights from half a century’s reporting on cricket. “Blowers” – who was until two years a regular feature of the BBC’s Test Match Special – was gently grilled by Simon Hughes.  Read more
The cost of cheap chicken
The world is obsessed with cheap chicken. We think it's better for us than red meat, but what's the true cost to hens and humans?    Read more
Does the Future of the NHS lie in the resilience of its Staff?
Marking seventy years of the NHS, Midwife of the Year Kathryn Gutteridge joined consultant Steven Thrush on stage at Hay
to discuss the future of publicly funded healthcare.
Read more
The Wife's Tale
Journalist Aida Edemarium found inspiration for her extraordinary story in the life of her own grandmother. Read more
Jilly Cooper loved Hay so much she wants to base her next novel in Wales

Jilly Cooper said she had been so stunned by the beauty of the countryside around Hay that she wants to set her next novel in Wales. She came to the festival to reminisce about her career, to discuss her writing process, and to tell some seriously off-colour stories.

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The Power of Diaspora
Can Wales regenerate its economy through the power of its diaspora? Today’s expert panel discussed the Welsh case post-Brexit and possibilities for new trade relations and global network creation.
Read more
The YA Book Prize returns to Hay Festival to showcase the very best in YA literature. Read more
The language of landscape
Walking through time and space, Alexandra Harris and Tim Dee are fascinated by place and its significance. From landscape painting to nature writing, the experts discussed the personal landmarks that make us who we are  Read more
The Paradoxal Compass: Drake’s Dilemma
In his latest book, The Paradoxal Compass: Drake’s Dilemma, Horatio Morpurgo dramatises an episode in Francis Drake's life when his ship the Golden Hind was stranded off a rock.

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walling in wales

In 2009, American academic Whitney Brown fell in love with dry-stone walling in Wales, and a man 33 years her senior. Her memoir, Between Stone and Sky, tells her unusual story.

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The Brain in Minutes
In a whirlwind introduction, science writer Rita Carter guided the Hay audience through how our brains function and how we know about it.  Read more
The Race to Save the Romanovs
A hundred years after the murder of  the Russian Imperial Family in July 1918 Helen Rappaport endeavours to uncover the plots and plans to save them.
Read more
The Beacons Project is a creative writing residency offered to 16-18-year-olds during Hay Festival. Read more
The Lost Words Brought back to life
Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane collaborated to produce The Lost Words. “This is not a children’s book; it’s a book for everyone,” said Morris. In fact, it’s a magical spell-fill incantation that speaks to your imagination. Read more
Now We're Motoring. On Electric

You may not have seen an electric car in your street, but with sales rising by 37 per cent year-on-year, they could soon be a common sight, once we get the infrastructure right.

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Becoming Hitler

How was Adolf Hitler's political ideology shaped after World War One? Professor Thomas Weber discussed research from his new book, Becoming Hitler.

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Joking with Jones
Ruth Jones entertained the Hay Festival tonight with hilarious anecdotes and moving memories whilst talking about her bestselling novel Never Greener. Read more
Cracking the Egyptian Code: The Revolutionary Life of Jean-François Champollion
Jean-François Champollion was one of the first in the West to crack the hieroglyphic code, but how did he do it? Prolific British author Andrew Robinson came to Hay Festival to help decipher the story.
Read more
Plants can think, too
Cambridge professor Ottoline Leyser on the thinking process of plants. Read more
Dara Ó Briain brings down the tent
Dara Ó Briain brought Wednesday night at Hay to a close with roars of laughter. Read more
Hay Festival Bookshop Bestsellers

The Hay Festival Bookshop bestsellers for Wednesday, 30 May are:


1.     Cathy Cassidy – Love from Lexie

2.     Charlie Higson – The Gates of Death

3.     By Various Authors – A Change is Gonna Come

4.     Steve Mould – The Bacteria Book

5.     Beverley Naidoo – Cinderella of the Nile 


1.     Ruth Jones – Never Greener

2.     Rikke Schmidt – The Blink of an Eye

3.     David Graeber – Bullshit Jobs: A Theory

4.     Gordon Corera – Secret Pigeon Service

5.     Jack Hartnell – Medieval Bodies

Read more
A Paradoxical Post-Post-Apocalypse
 “It would be pointless for me to be ambitious”, said Nicola Barker today at the Hay Festival as she talked to Georgina Godwin about her creative process, publishing in colour and her prize-winning novel H(A)PPY
Read more
Will the real Ursula Martin please stand up?
Ada Lovelace was a Maths genius and pioneered computer science before computers were invented. Read more
Richard The Lionheart, Saladin and the Siege of Acre.
 The Siege of Acre was the most important military engagement of the Third Crusade and American Historian John Hosler brings the campaign vividly to life in his new book. Read more
“Moving on as a concept is for stupid people”

The artist. writer and potter Edmund de Waal came to Hay with an extraordinary meditation on grief, drawing on the work of poets, photographers, architects and novelists. He argued that, as a society, we need to stop resorting to clichés of grief and recognise that bereavement is complex and difficult and worth treating seriously.

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Armistice Poetry Gala
Marking 100 years since the Armistice in November 1918, Hay Festival Press is publishing an anthology of specially commissioned poems from countries that participated in World War One.  Read more
Modernists and Mavericks: The London Painters
Renown art critic Martin Gayford treated an audience in Hay to a masterclass on the development in painting in London from the Second World War to  the 1970s.
Read more
We need to think about how social media affects the aftermath of terrorist attacks
The social media response to terrorist incidents can amplify the damage they cause, and the government needs to be far more aware of it. Martin Innes, director of the Crime and Security Research Institute at Cardiff University, brought his latest research to the Hay Festival to compare how people had responded to four recent attacks.  Read more
Breaking the Cycle of Abuse
With more than 200 years of experience in domestic abuse and violence, a Hay panel discussed gender dynamics, legislative measures and breaking the cycle of abuse. Read more
Could you explain your job to an eight-year-old?

David Graeber came to Hay with his theory of bullshit jobs, arguing that perhaps as many as half of us are labouring in pointless tasks that make us miserable. It would be far better to give everyone a universal income, which allowed them to at least be happy while contributing nothing to society.

Read more
A competition to celebrate Oxfam's #BooksChangeLives campaign, launched at Hay Festival today. Tell us about the book that changed your life to be in with a chance of winning signed books from Hay favourites.  Read more
Living and dying in the Middle Ages

Jack Hartnell is on a mission to redefine the way we think about the medieval era. Moving away from the Blackadder stereotypes of mud and puss, his talk explored the intelligent physiological technologies and medical advances that have shaped our understanding of anatomy.

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Ancient wisdom with a modern slant
The award-winning American poet Alicia Stallings introduced her translation of one of the  great classical texts to the Hay Festival today.
Read more
How to be a Wild Writer

Adventure is everywhere but it’s probably easier to find when you grew up in Zimbabwe with a pet giraffe. Katherine Rundell and Lauren St. John came to the Hay Festival to discuss their wild childhoods, and the way it shaped their writing.

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Somebody I Used to Know
In 2014 Wendy Mitchell was diagnosed with young onset dementia and told by her doctor, “There’s nothing you can do.” Mitchell came to the Hay Festival to explain why that blunt delivery did so much harm, and how she proved them wrong. Read more
Poetry With A Punch
Poetry is “Anecdotal Evidence about the Human Heart”, said Wendy Cope reading from her latest collection at the Hay Festival. Read more
Are Mainstream Storybooks too White?
BBC Asian Network’s came live from the Hay Festival today broadcasting their Big Debate. Read more
Studying Dialect
The regional diversity of dialect makes for a fascinating study, said linguist Rob Penhallurick.      Read more
Bestsellers on May 29


1.      Adam Frost, The Awesome Book of Animals

2.       Steven Butler and Steven Lenton, The Nothing to See Here Hotel

3.       Kevin Crossley Holland, Norse Myths

4.       Katherine Rundell, The Explorer

5.       Jim Smith, Barry Loser is the best at football NOT


1.       Maggie O’Farrell I am, I am, I am

2.       Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Inventing Ourselves

3.       Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed

4.       Rose Tremain, Rosie

5.       Ruby Wax, How to be Human

Read more
Honeyed Words
The British bee population has more or less been wiped out. Enthusiastic beekeeper John Mitchinson spoke to a series of experts to find out what can be done. Read more
What's the price of a degree?
David Green, Jade Haley and Diana Beech explored the challenges faced by universities in becoming diverse, relevant and affordable to the current generation of students.  Read more
The PEN Hay Lecture: Words, Memory and Imagination - 1945, and Today
This year’s PEN lecture at Hay was delivered by human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, President of the organisation that defends freedom of expression around the world. Read more
The Life After

"There are stories still there in the background that have to be told,” says Colette O’Connor in the film, The Life After. Those untold stories stem from The Troubles in Northern Ireland between 1968 to 1998 and are told in Brian Hill and Niamh Kennedy’s harrowing exploration of one of the country’s darkest moments in history.

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Scenes from a Vanished Life

Neglect, grief and the absence of parental love in her childhood are themes Rose Tremain described in discussing her memoir with Peter Florence. Read more
Salman Rushdie warns his Hay audience about the anti-intellectual mood sweeping the world.

Salman Rushdie had a sobering message for his Hay audience: the world has turned against it. There is new age when identity is valued more than ideas, and intellectuals are dismissed as elitists.

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'Fiction as a Hearing Aid' essay collection wins top prize in Wales
Ed Garland, MA student at Aberystwyth University, has won a prestigious prize for his essay collection, 'Fiction as a Hearing Aid'.  Read more
How place affects fiction
Two writers based in Wales discuss their latest work and what influences their fiction.
Read more
Blood on the Page - A Murder Mystery
A ground-breaking investigation into an horrific murder  - was the right man found guilty or is the murderer still out there?
Read more
Beauty in the Spotlight
Academic Heather Widdows wants us to ask the question: Do we have a duty to be beautiful? In her latest book, Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal, she investigates the current definition of beauty, analysing how we define its ideal form.  Read more
Work Less, Create More
Broadcaster-Podcaster-Author-Blogger - Emma Gannon came to Hay to promote her multi-hyphen method and become a campaigner for flexible working.  Read more
The Gallery at Hay Festival 2018
“The Gallery is a wonderful space to see how the world is imagined by some of the greats at Hay. Free for everyone to explore, we hope it will break down the barriers between festival-goers and the artists who bring our favourite characters to life.” Read more
Seventeen Brushes with Death
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death (named after a twice-repeated line in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar) is the new memoir by Maggie O’Farrell, recounting her life through 17 near-death experiences.  Read more
Don Paterson, the Prosody Geek
Scottish poet Don Paterson talked about the language of poetry in a humorous, self-deprecating style.  Read more
Design as an Attitude
“Designing is not a profession but an attitude,” according to Alice Rawsthorn OBE.   Read more
Clean: a story of Addiction and Identity
“I wanted to write a dirty book,” said Juno Dawson, the acclaimed YA author  who compared her new release Clean with her 2017 book Margot
and Me, which according to the author was a "well-behaved book."
Read more
A Quaker Approach to Science
Can science and religion ever be bedfellows? According to astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the answer is yes. The prolific Northern Irish scientist – best known for her discovery of pulsars in 1967 - spoke to Rosie Boycott about her scientific discoveries and her Quaker faith in equal measure.  Read more
The Cathedrals We Can't Observe
Artificial intelligence has entered many homes, and it’s getting smarter and faster. Is this good news, or a dangerous invasion? Nigel Shadbolt, an expert on AI had an important message for the audience at Hay Festival. Read more
Tony Parsons Reincarnated
Tony Parsons has entered his fifth reincarnation. Now a writer of crime novels featuring DC Max Wolfe, he is known for his time at the NME, as a newspaper and magazine columnist, as a regular on The Late Show, and as author of the trilogy starting with Man and Boy.   Read more
Lessons in writing a blockbuster screenplay
Anthony McCarten, award-winning writer of Darkest Hour and The Theory of Everything came to the Hay Festival to explain why, when it comes to writing biographies, the facts are not enough. Read more
Can Brexit be stopped?
There is nothing inevitable about Brexit, Andrew Adonis said today as he and William Hutton called for radical constitutional change and a "People’s Vote" in March 2019.  Read more
If you think Putin’s bad now, just wait till he feels threatened
General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, NATO’s recently retired Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, warned a Hay Festival audience that Vladimir Putin would become far more dangerous if he ever felt threatened. This was alarming, since the Russia Bradshaw described already sounded bad enough. Read more
Eric Ngalle Charles brings Cameroon to Hay
Eric Ngalle Charles is homeless. Or so he says. In fact, the Cameroon-born playwright and actor lives in Cardiff and describes Wales as the country that gave him his voice back. When he performed some of his play, Last Ritual, at Hay, he embodied the international community of voices living in his head. Read more
Schama's view of Humanity and
Historian, writer and art critic Simon Schama told an audience at Hay Festival that if he had had his way the landmark BBC series Civilisations, which he co-presented, would have been called Humanity. Read more
Sylvia Plath: Life Under the Bell Jar
Many people think they know Sylvia Plath. As iconic in death as she was in life, her seminal story story is now being retold by Teresa Griffiths and Tim Kendall in an hour-long BBC2 film.  Read more
The Tiger who Came to Tea Turns 50
Judith Kerr celebrated 50 years of The Tiger who Came to Tea and talked to her fans about the stories she wrote as a response to her own childhood experience in Nazi Germany, and then as a refugee in Britain. Read more
Shapeshifters: On Medicine and Human Change
Scottish physician and writer Gavin Francis has taken a scientific approach to otherworldly questions. Do werewolves exist? Do humans grow horns? Can fright actually make your hair go white? During his talk at the Hay Festival, Francis revealed  stunning answers to those questions. Read more
The best books by women since 1918
The result of the #Vote100 project, to select the best 100 books written by women since 1918, highlighted some neglected titles that deserve to be revisited.   Read more
Don’t obsess about fascism. If democracy is dying, it’s dying in a new way.

Democracy is going through a mid-life crisis, and the election of Donald Trump is the equivalent of it buying a motorbike, Cambridge University Professor David Runciman said. This crisis is totally different to those of the 1930s, however, and needs to be thought about in a new way.

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How Hard Can It Be?
Columnist and author of the bestselling I Don’t Know How She Does It, Allison Pearson has recently published a sequel entitled How Hard Can It Be?, which explores the new obstacles protagonist Kate Reddy has to overcome as she approaches the age of 50. Read more
Jacqueline Wilson delights the youngsters
National treasure Jacqueline Wilson spoke to a lively young audience about growing up, becoming a writer and her new book Rose Rivers.
Read more
Stig Abell on Brexit, the media and the future of politics
Stig Abell’s latest book has been released in a time of change. When he took to the stage at Hay, those changes came under the microscope of one of Britain’s most dynamic writers.  Read more
Mariana Mazzucato: “we need new stories about wealth”

One of the problems with the economy is the way we talk about it. The schemes that enrich the richest, and leave the rest of us struggling, are embedded within the language that we use – “shareholder value”, “wealth creators”, “regulation” – and it is time we came up with alternatives.

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Men and Feminism
“It is no surprise that women today are angry that sexism still exists on the scale that is does. But that anger exists among many men too, along with a determination to be part of the solution.” - Lucy Delap  Read more
Assert Your Rights to Save the Planet
Make sure you know where your pension money is being invested Read more
In Search of Mary Shelley
Poet and writer Fiona Sampson paints a portrait of Frankenstein’s creator in her new book, In Search of Mary Shelley: the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein, which coincides with the bicentenary of the novel’s first publication. Read more
Jim Broadbent, Dix and Dull Margaret
Better known for playing characters than writing them, audiences might well be surprised by Jim Broadbent’s latest creative endeavour – a graphic novel produced with artist Andrew Dixon. Read more
The Internet: This is for Everyone? Really?
The power of new digital monopolies is unprecedented and is fundamentally changing politics, journalism, and even democracy  - but what are the implications, and what can we do about it?
Read more
Remembering Daphne Caruana Galizia
Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed last year whilst investigating political corruption in Malta. Today, her son Paul spoke about censorship and freedom of speech in today’s session chaired by the BBC’s Europe Editor.  Read more
Be an activist, ask 'what can I do?'
Economist Kate Raworth returned to the Hay Festival with an inspiring call to create global and national economies that provide everyone with what they need, without further depleting the planet. "Don't be an optimist if that makes you relaxed. Don't be a pessimist if that makes you give up. Be an activist, ask what can I do?"  Read more
Bestsellers 27 May Read more
Mandela: His essential life
Peter Hain chronicles the life of South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader Nelson Mandela, with an insight into his personal life.
Read more
Psychologist Terri Apter spoke about how we judge, praise and blame in a powerful lecture at Hay Festival. Read more
Look Who's Talking
In his book Now You’re Talking, Trevor Cox weighs how we talk against what we say.
Read more
Black British History
Growing up in Newcastle, David Olusoga was taught a version of history that didn’t tell the full story. “We are telling a partial history,” he said, and his Hay Festival discussion aimed to change that. Read more
Tangled up in Bob
Simon Armitage’s talk started with a rapturous rendition of Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan - and where better to celebrate his birthday than at Hay? Read more
Britain, Europe and the world.

Europe’s influence is one of the most divisive issues of our time. Still one of the world’s most economically powerful regions, Europe faces a myriad of new challenges, not least 2016’s Brexit vote.

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Ian McEwan - a life in literature
When Ian McEwan came to Hay, the crowds flocked to share a moment with one of Britain’s most prolific authors. The result was an hour of literary magic. Read more
Trump's an idiot, but he won't last till 2020 - Michael Wolff
Michael Wolff, the journalist behind the sensationally succession Fire and Fury, Inside the Trump White House, brought his tales of Donald Trump to Hay, and there was good news and bad news. Yes, Trump is as bad a president as everyone says he is; but he won't make it to the end of his term. Read more
Who's taking care of social media?
As social media increasingly dominates our daily lives what should be done to ensure we all keep up and understand the challenges and impact of technological progress?
Read more
Enjoy the Ambience
Experience Ambient Literature at Richard Booth's Bookshop in Hay Read more
Thinking the Unthinkable
“Why have leaders lost the plot on multiple issues?” Nik Gowing asked at the launch of Thinking the Unthinkable at the Hay Festival this afternoon. Co-directors of the project, Gowing and Chris Langdon, are demanding unthinkable issues be put at the top of the agenda. Read more
Stormy Weather
Human lives were lost, millions of trees were destroyed and landscapes were completely transformed by the Great Storm of 1987. Tamsin Treverton Jones explores the storm’s legacy in Windblown, and presented her work in appropriately stormy conditions at the Hay Festival.  Read more
Salt to the Sea: a novel about refugees and memory
A novel about a barely-remembered maritime tragedy brings life to lost refugees, and reverberates in the present.  Read more
Brainstorm, of Detective Work and Epilepsy
“Epilepsy is hundreds of different diseases.” Suzanne O’Sullivan, neurologist and award-winning writer spoke about the many different symptoms of the condition, from those who feel a faint twitch, to those who are forced into dangerous, three-minute sprints.  Read more
Is a novel about history an historical novel?
Two great Spanish writers merge fiction and fact in a stimulating discussion on the novel. Read more
The Clangers changed my life
Sky at Night presenter Maggie Adering-Pocock told the Hay Festival how the Clangers set her on the road to becoming a space scientist.
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Economist Linda Yueh explains the thoughts of history’s greatest economists, how our lives have been influenced by their ideas and how they could help us with the policy challenges we face today.

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When does international justice interfere with peace?
We all think we agree with using international justice as a tool to combat crimes against humanity, but what if the purity of the ideal is obstructing the often messy business of securing peace?  Read more
The Golden Man Booker Prize
Where better to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker  than at the Hay Festival. Philippe Sands, Elif Shafak and Juan Gabriel Vasquez joined Gaby Wood to discuss the shortlist for for the Golden Man Booker prize. Read more
If Israel is to be democratic, there must be a Palestinian state alongside it
Israeli democracy us under attack from its own government, former prime minister Ehud Barak told the Hay Festival. He said there was no more urgent task than to prevent the “slippery slope” towards a one-state solution, since that would also doom democracy.  Read more
Historian and presenter David Olusoga discussed his contribution to the BBC’s highly regarded series Civilisations, going into detail on race, trade, empire and his emotional call for the return of the Benin bronzes back to Nigeria.
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What is Consciousness?

A theologian and a neuroscientist map their way through human consciousness and free will, linking them to how we understand, memorise and want things.  Read more
Race, Identity and Belonging

Afua Hirsch has been called “one of the most dangerous women in Britain”, a statement she said she found hugely flattering. This afternoon she  spoke to a Hay Festival audience about Britain’s identity crisis and societal colour blindness.

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How Catholic Ireland shaped Roddy Doyle
Booker-Prize winning novelist Roddy Doyle took to the Hay stage today to discuss his eleventh novel, Smile, his career so far and how his work has been shaped by the experience of growing up in Catholic Ireland.
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When Matt met Amol
Matt Hancock was sipping a beer when Amol Rajan quizzed him on his life as a student at Oxford.  By the time the chat had moved to Brexit and Cambridge Analytica, he had switched to drinking water. From fake news and technology to the BBC’s future funding and Netflix, the laughter-filled conversation traversed the complex landscape of culture in 21st century Britain.  Read more
Ask Us Anything
How do you show yourself love? How do you overcome stress? What’s the secret to confidence? Gemma Cairney and Jenny Valentine had big answers to these big questions as they enjoyed a Q&A session with an enthusiastic crowd.
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Edge of Chaos
Is democracy delivering its fundamental ideals of freedom and equality? According to economist Dambisa Moyo’s latest book, The Edge of Chaos, people are ‘no longer convinced that democracy is the path to human progress’ and, as such, are increasingly putting their faith in authoritarian regimes to deliver economic and political results Read more
Dylan Thomas Prize winner, Kayo Chingonyi

When the winner of the 2018 International Dylan Thomas Prize winner, Kayo Chingonyi, sat down to discuss his winning collection, Kumukanda, the result was a tantalizing hour-long insight into the mind of one of the brightest poets of our generation.

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Resilience and Mortality

For many, death remains the ultimate taboo. A panel of experts from charity, medical and educational backgrounds broached the issue in a challenging discussion this afternoon chaired by Maggie Turner OBE

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The Flaw in the Fourth Estate

James O’Brien talked to Sarfraz Manzoor about the role of journalism in the fake news era, his strong take on Trump and other right-wing public figures, Brexit, and the current state of political discourse.

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Beware of fake news, but be careful how you do it

The countermeasures we use to combat fake news risk excluding some of the most vulnerable people from having their stories told in the media, and we don’t even know we’re doing it.

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How the Globe is learning to do more with less
More than three million people in the developing world live outside the formal economy, with limited access to health, education and food. Professor Jaideep Prahbu, from Cambridge University showcased the work of successful entrepreneurs hoping to make a difference using low cost innovative methods.
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Writers in Translation

Three Latin American writers, featured in a new Hay Festival anthology, Bogota39, took to the stage to talk about their work, and the role of the translator in bringing their work to an English-speaking readership.

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Cheat your way into Mensa

The effects of smart drugs on the brain presents a complex moral dilemma, but as David Adam an editor at Nature explained at Hay Festival they helped him boost his IQ when he carried out his own experiment to get into Mensa

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Olga Tokarczuk tells Hay about winning the International Booker Prize
The 2018 Man Booker International Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk and translator Jennifer Wood discussed Flights, a book described by Gaby Wood as “crazy in a brilliant way”.  Read more
Journalist Luke Harding took to the Hay stage to talk about his new book Collusion, an alarming exposé about the true nature of Trump’s decades-long relationship with Russia.  Read more
From Wonderwoman to Simon Cowell with David Walliams
Who did David Walliams pretend to be in the playground? Who did he base his villains on? Young fans quiz the children's novelist at Hay. Read more
A literary adventure through the forest with Rachel Bright

Some of Hay’s tiniest readers congregated in the Compass Tent for a voyage of exploration through the mind of children’s author and illustrator, Rachel Bright. The result was a moment of pure magic.

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Artists and scientists work together on climate change

Art and science merge in a collaboration between Hay Festival and the Natural Environment Research Council in a series of online films about climate change. 

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Hay Festival Bookshop bestsellers

The bestsellers in the bookshop of 26 May were:


1 Laura Dockrill, Big Bones

2 David Almond, Colour of the Sun

3 Sally Nicholls, Things a Bright Girl can do

4 Lucy Adllington, The Red Ribbon

5 Gemma Cairney, Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be


1 Robert Webb, How Not to be a Boy

2 Johann Hari, Lost Connections Uncovering the real causes of Depression - and the unexpected solutions

3 Helen Pankhurst, Deeds Not Words: The story of Women's Rights - Then and Now

4 Helen Thomson, Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey through the World's  Strangest Brains

5 Hugh Purcell, Margaret Percy, Up Top: From Lunatic Asylum to Community Care - A Century of the Mid Wales Mental Hospital

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Feminists look to the future
In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, is our post-Weinstein society really showing signs of improving the female condition? Five women gathered at Hay to unpick the past 12 months in feminism.   Read more

In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, is our post-Weinstein society really showing signs of improving the female condition? Five women gathered at Hay to unpick the past 12 months in feminism  Read more
Who Believes in Conspiracy Theories?

Dr Hugo Drochon discussed some of the political, economic and social factors that may contribute towards beliefs that a “secret group of people” hold the power to control world events “like wars and economic crises”.

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Depression Uncovered
“If you are depressed, you are not broken. Depression is a sign that you are not getting your needs met." - Johann Hari uncovering the real causes of and unexpected solutions for depression. Read more
 Michael Gove plans to reopen small abattoirs, pay farmers more for high quality food, and sees no reason to worry about lack of seasonal workers after Brexit.  Read more
Icebreaker: A Voyage Far North
A century after Finland's independence from Russia Horatio Clare received a message from their embassy inviting him on a voyage around an extraordinary country, and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic Circle. Read more
Lost in Translation?

For Helena Sanson, Bill Byrne and Marcus Tomalin, language is ever-evolving and nuanced. How then do translation producing machines keep up with the human tongue? The experts in question explored the conundrum in a talk in association with the University of Cambridge. 

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Things are so bad, they have to get better - Danny Dorling
Britain’s inequality crisis has become so extreme, that it simply has to get better. We may even be coming to a time when our political parties compete over who will pay for things, rather than who will cut things.  Read more
The gentle activist
For Sarah Corbett, founder of the Craftivist Collective, a creative and thoughtful approach to campaigning has begun “opening up a whole new world of possibilities for affecting change”.  Read more
Why Bother Studying  Modern Languages? Everyone Speaks English

In a British society gearing up to leave the European Union, languages are more important than ever according to a panel of expert linguists at The Hay Festival. However, with fewer students choosing to study languages, how do we ensure that the future generation don’t fall behind?

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The Next big things - how computers help analyse the brain and the planet
The Next Big Things described by young academics at the Hay Festival existed on the smallest and the biggest levels – the neurones of the human brain, and the whole planet – but had the same foundation: using powerful computers to analyse data in a way that has previously been beyond us.  Read more
Suffragettes remembered
Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of the Suffragette leader, spoke at Hay today in one of a series of events marking the centenary of the time (some) women got the vote.  Read more
Thousands of teenagers descend on Hay
Secondary Schools Day at Hay Read more
Letters to the Future
Poet and playwright Owen Sheers and 'Everyday Sexism Project' founder Laura Bates have collaborated in a new Hay Festival Press book, released today, when both address the next generation on equality and gender. Read more
Is Small Beautiful...and Can it Be Bountiful?

How to feed the world? is it time to accept GM in the UK? Are megadairies the answer, or should we all go vegan?  Some of the topics in the 2018 Hay on Earth Forum.

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NFU urges government to maintain subsidies after Brexit
The government will have to maintain agricultural subsidies after Brexit if it wants British farmers to stay in business, Minette Batters, the new president of the National Farmers Union, told a Hay Festival audience.   Read more
Can meat meet the challenge of world hunger?

How to feed the world? is it time to accept GM in the UK? Are megadairies the answer, or should we all go vegan?  Some of the topics in the 2018 Hay on Earth Forum.

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To Feed the Nine Billion, we'll need to work together
The population of the world will hit nine billion people by 2040, while climate change will be spreading diseases and drought. This spells a potential catastrophe for the world’s poorest countries, which must be averted by smart use of technology, better breeds of crops, and reducing waste.  Read more
Children's charity walk from Bay to Hay

Children from 12 Primary Schools walked in relay from Cardiff Bay to Hay to raise awareness of the need for quality education and learning opportunities for all, within the UK and throughout the world. Hay Festival commissioned writers and illustrators to walk and work with children along the way.

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Hay Festival welcomes schoolchildren and live-streams across the UK
The Hay Festival opened its doors today and will welcome more than 12,000 schoolchildren over the next two days, with events with streamed into classrooms across the UK. Read more
Hay Festival and the British Library announce free streaming day for Living Knowledge Network
Hay Festival Wales (24 May–3 June) events will be streamed live to public libraries for the first time thanks to a new collaboration with the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network. Read more
#askHay - Put Your Questions to the speakers at Hay

What can real, live, expert humans tell us that Alexa and Siri can't? We're answering YOUR questions at #HayFestival2018. Post them now on Facebook and Twitter and we'll share replies during the festival, 24 May - 3 June.

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Free streaming to schools

Hay Festival Wales will be streamed live into schools UK-wide on Thursday 24 May (KS 2) and Friday 25 May (KS 3 and 4), in a new project to widen access to festival events, funded by the Welsh Government and Hay Festival Foundation.

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Hay Festival Medals awarded

Margaret Atwood, Evelyn Schlag and Jackie Morris are to receive Hay Festival Medals.

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