Hay Festival of literature
Thursday 26th May to Sunday 5th June 2016
Ten days in May; the festival that Bill Clinton coined ‘the Woodstock of the Mind’. From humble beginnings 29 years ago on a kitchen table, Hay Festival has gradually assumed its position as Britain’s leading celebration of the literary arts. For one very special moment in time, the beautiful Welsh Borders sets the stage for a unique assembly of mind and talent - a melting-pot of science, poetry, politics, music, comedy and, of course, simply extraordinary writing. From Thursday 26th May through to Sunday the 5th June, it is ten days where the twin suns of imagination and possibility never quite have chance to set.
As feverish book lovers, at Waterstones we have long held an enormous affection for Hay Festival. This year it is our absolute honour to sponsor the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature Event, welcoming current Laureate Svetlana Alexievich. The investigative journalist and author of Chernobyl Prayer, amongst other extraordinary writings, will be in conversation with the BBC’s Bridget Kendall on Saturday 28th.
Elsewhere, the festival is a roster of similarly gifted brilliance; Sam Mendes, A.C. Grayling, Salman Rushdie, Caitlin Moran, Edmund de Waal, Jeanette Winterson, Marlon James, Yanis Varoufakis, Ruby Wax, Mervyn King, Chris Packham, Michael Palin, Maxine Peake, Peter Carey, Dara Ó Briain, Neil MacGregor, Russell T. Davies, Julia Donaldson, Melvyn Bragg, Marcus Brigstocke, Edna O'Brien, Ben Okri, Thomas Keneally, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Germaine Greer and many others round out a pitch-perfect programme of discussion and debate.
Waterstones Cardholders can also exclusively bag the chance of experiencing the Festival in genuine style with our fabulous Waterstones Cardholder Golden Tickets competition, which includes not only Five Pairs of event tickets of the Prize winner’s choice (subject to availability), but an incredible three night, luxurious Bank Holiday stay in our magnificent Bedouin Tent. It’s somewhere you’ll find just perfect, no matter if you’re that quiet, book-loving couple or an entire go-getting family, ready for incredible, inspirational adventure.
You’ll discover how to enter over on the Hay Festival website competition page, but remember this amazing experience is open only to Waterstones Cardholders.
Tickets for individual Hay Festival events can be found over on the Festival’s website, which contains a complete overview of the event programme and a comprehensive FAQ on all the practical aspects of booking and attending. We know our friends at Hay will be looking forward to give you the very warmest of welcomes.
Svetlana Alexievich talks to Bridget Kendall
Event 66 | Saturday 28th May | 4pm
Venue: Telegraph Stage
The 2015 Nobel Literature Laureate talks about Russia and the USSR. Her Nobel citation was for “her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”.
Chris Packham talks to Horatio Clare
Fingers in the Sparkle Jar
Event 80 | Saturday 28th May | 7pm
Venue: Telegraph Stage
The naturalist and presenter of Springwatch and Secrets of our Living Planet introduces his exquisite coming-of-age memoir. He talks to the author of Truant: Notes From the Slippery Slope.
John Mullan, Nell Leyshon, Marcu Du Sautou and Ben Okri
Talking about Shakespeare
Event 147 | Sunday 29th May | 8.30pm
Venue: Starlight Stage
A conversation about Shakespeare’s greatest plays and roles, his fondness for prime numbers and his stagecraft. The UCL English Prof is joined by the first woman to write a play for the main stage of Shakespeare’s Globe, the Oxford Maths professor and the Booker-winning novelist and poet.
Event 81 | Saturday 28th May | 7pm
Venue: Good Energy Stage
Armitage’s acclaimed version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight confirmed his reputation as a leading poetry translator. Retaining all the alliterative music of the original, a Medieval English poem thought to be by the same anonymous author responsible for Gawain, Pearl is here brought to vivid and intricate life.