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Young people will be talking about books for teenagers and what they think about Asian and black characters in novels. We’ll also hear why young people love spoken word poetry. Some will perform their own work.
Four of the award-winning contemporary painters and sculptors taking part in this intergenerational and international exhibition introduce their work, hosted by Charles Hewlings. Formerly a Welsh mountain pony stud farm, Randan Stables Gallery is a unique rural exhibition space in the heart of the Welsh Marches, six miles from Hay.
Over 50 years, Winston Churchill wrote extensively about art and produced more than 500 paintings. In this lavishly illustrated lecture, the historian offers an entirely new perspective on Churchill and his paintings. Professor Sir David Cannadine is Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University, Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and President of the British Academy. His publications include The Undivided Past, In Churchill’s Shadow, Class in Britain and The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy.
A special Hay Festival edition of the BBC Radio Wales Arts Show. Nicola Heywood Thomas explores the ways that landscapes influence and inspire writers, musicians and visual artists. Her guests are poet Gillian Clarke, music writer Richard King, academic and short story writer Mary-Ann Constantine and artist Celia Johnson. Featuring live music from King Charles.
The environmentalist tells the heartbreaking story of a unique band of brilliant blue birds – who talk, fall in love, and grieve – struggling against the forces of extinction and their own desirability. By the second half of the 20th century the birds became so valuable that they drew up to $40,000 on the black markets. When, in 1990, only one was found to be living in the wild, an emergency international rescue operation was launched and an amnesty declared, allowing private collectors to come forward with their illegal birds, possible mates for the last wild Spix. In a breathtaking display of stoicism and endurance, the loneliest bird in the world had lived without a mate for fourteen years, had outwitted predators and second-guessed the poachers. But would he take to a new companion?
Although the post-war period brought peace and prosperity, Europe was now a divided continent, living under the nuclear threat. Europeans experienced a roller-coaster ride, both in the sense that they were flung through a series of events which threatened disaster, but also that they were no longer in charge of their own destinies: for much of the period the USA and USSR effectively reduced Europeans to helpless figures whose fates were dictated to them depending on the vagaries of the Cold War. There were striking successes: the Soviet bloc melted away, dictatorships vanished and Germany was successfully reunited. But accelerating globalisation brought new fragilities. The impact of interlocking crises after 2008 was the clearest warning to Europeans that there is no guarantee of peace and stability.
The Renaissance historian introduces her biography of the portrait painter who defined his age. Hilliard’s sitters included Elizabeth I, James I, and Mary, Queen of Scots; explorers Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh; and members of the emerging middle class from which he himself hailed. He counted the Medici, the Valois, the Habsburgs, and the Bourbons among his European patrons and admirers. Chaired by Horatio Clare.
A conversation between two of the most inspiring contemporary science writers. Davis’ The Beautiful Cure: Harnessing Your Body’s Natural Defences describes the scientific quest to understand how the immune system works – and how it is affected by stress, sleep, age and our state of mind. Blakemore’s Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain won the 2018 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. They talk to Hannah Critchlow.
The earliest surviving Welsh poetry was forged on the battlefields of post-Roman Wales and the ‘Old North’ of Britain, and the Welsh-language poets of today still write within the same poetic tradition. In the early 20th century, Welsh writers in English outnumbered writers in Welsh for the first time, generating new modes of writing and a crisis of national identity. The editors of the new Cambridge history are joined by the great poet Gillian Clarke and novelist and historian Jon Gower to celebrate one of the oldest continuous literary traditions in Europe.
BBC Radio 3’s art and ideas programme explores Rachel Carson’s passionate book Silent Spring, first published in 1962 and argued to be the work which launched the environmental movement. But how does it speak to us now? For a recording of Free Thinking’s Cultural Landmark series presenter Rana Mitter is joined by guests Tony Juniper, Emily Shuckburgh, Dieter Helm and Kapka Kassabova.
Free Thinking is broadcast on Radio 3 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10pm. This recording will be broadcast on Wednesday 29 May and available as a BBC Arts & Ideas podcast.
A conversation with the dynamic poet, broadcaster and teacher, whose latest books include Worker’s Tales, Reading and Rebellion, and his memoir So They Call You Pisher! Chaired by Peter Florence.
News about Britain’s wildlife and ecosystems tends to be grim. The Oxford economist and Natural Capital Committee chair Dieter Helm shares his radical but tangible plan for positive change. This pragmatic approach to environmentalism includes a summary of Britain’s green assets, a look towards possible futures and an achievable 25-year plan for a green and prosperous country.
What do the attacks on London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster have in common with those at the Charlie Hebdo offices, the Finsbury Park Mosque, and multiple US shootings? They were all carried out by men with histories of domestic violence. From angry white men to the Bethnal Green girls and London gang members who joined ISIS, Joan Smith shows that, time and time again, misogyny, trauma and abuse lurk beneath the rationalisations of religion or politics. Until Smith pointed it out in 2017, criminal authorities missed this connection because violence against women is dangerously normalised. Yet, since domestic abuse often comes before a public attack, it’s here a solution to the scourge of our age might be found. Afzal is a lawyer who oversaw prosecutions in the Rotherham grooming case.
In honour of Goethe and the 200th anniversary of the first publication of his outstanding poem sequence, West–Eastern Divan (1819), A New Divan contains outstanding original poems by twenty-four leading poets – twelve from the East and twelve from the West. It presents a truly international poetic dialogue inspired by the culture of ‘the Other’ and Goethe’s late, great work. Swainson, the editor of the project, is joined by Iraqi and British poets to celebrate publication.
Once upon a (very, very) long time ago Jo Brand was what you might describe as ‘a nice little girl’. Of course, that was before the values of cynicism, misogyny and the societal expectation that Jo would be thin, feminine and demure sent her off down Arsey Avenue. Now she’s considerably further along life’s inevitable bloody ‘journey’ – and she’s fucked up enough times to feel confident she has no wisdom to offer anyone. But who cares? She’s going to do it anyway...
After her father’s death from dementia, writer and campaigner Nicci Gerrard set out to explore the illness that now touches millions of us, yet which we still struggle to speak about. What does dementia mean for those who live with it, and those who care for them? The first section of Lavinia Greenlaw’s new poetry collection The Built Moment is a sequence of poems called The Sea is an Edge and an Ending, about her father’s dementia and his disappearance into the present tense. It is not a narrative of illness so much as a meditation on the metaphysics of memory and loss. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.
The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro produced a document called Agenda 21, a blueprint for saving Planet Earth. For the next two years, thousands of children and young people from almost 100 countries worked together in an extraordinary effort to design, write and illustrate a youth version of Agenda 21, called Rescue Mission Planet Earth. Twenty-five years later, we discuss the impacts, legacy and future of the actions undertaken and the key people involved. Rescue Mission editor Danijela Zunec Brandt, Global Optimism’s Marina Mansilla, local school strike organiser, Rosa Lynas and Peace Child International’s David Woollcombe talk to Andy Fryers.
Maarouf is an award-winning Palestinian-Icelandic writer and journalist whose short story collections are Jokes for the Gunmen and The Rats that Lick a Karate Champion’s Ears. Aged eight, Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee-camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. Now Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement, in her book The Ungrateful Refugee.