The Hay Literary Festival 2015
The Hay Festival Lineup 2015 already boasts a star-studded array of speakers; here's how to get Hay Festival tickets.
It may have changed since the first festival in 1988, but Hay-on-Wye still houses more bookshops than plenty of towns a hundred times its size. With around twenty shops, mostly specializing in second hand and antiquarian works, it is Britain’s ultimate destination for the discerning reader. Whether you are eager to dig up rare gems or simply replenish your shelves with new material, it is difficult to return from Hay without carrying masses of bound tomes.
Although Hay remains a sleepy Welsh village through most of the year, every spring it blossoms into something else entirely – the location for one of the world’s largest literary festivals, boasting appearances from numerous authors along with concerts and film screenings. The full programme for this year has not yet been revealed, but the line-up already looks exciting with confirmed guests Stephen Fry, Germaine Greer, ,Kazuo Ishiguro Anthony Beevor and the children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo.
How to get Hay Festival 2015 Tickets
Tickets to eight events (Michael Morpurgo, Stephen Fry, Germaine Greer, Kazuo Ishiguro, Karen Armstrong, Dan and Peter Snow, Antony Beevor and Jacqueline Wilson) are currently on sale exclusively to Friends of the Festival.
Early bird-sales for these eight events will open to the general public on Friday 30 January. Many more tickets will go on sale when the full programme is unveiled.
The team at Culture Whisper will be sure to keep you updated. For booking reminders, our exclusive preview content and useful information tailored to your personal interests, click here to see our membership options.
Arthur Miller’s first reaction on being invited to speak at the festival in the 1980s. He still attended.
The best so far from the Hay Festival Lineup
Kazuo Ishiguro: new book; Sunday 24 May 2015, 2.30pm
We have waited for more than a decade for a new book by the literary heavyweight Kazuo Ishiguro. The Buried Giant is published in March 2015 and will take centre stage when he talks at the Hay this May. Reworked and rewritten after being critiqued by his wife, the novel sees Ishiguro venture off into hitherto unexplored territory – a mythical post-Roman Britain, half a century after the death of King Arthur.
Details are being kept under tight wraps, but we know that it begins with a couple setting off across a desultory landscape to find a long-lost son. Since the release of the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day in 1989, Ishiguro has become one of our most treasured novelists. Hopefully this new work will further consolidate his reputation.
Stephen Fry, Hay Festival, What do we want?, Saturday 23 May, 8.30 pm
Stephen Fry talks to assorted international guests
Festival President and QI Presenter Stephen Fry speaks on Saturday 23 at 8.30 pm, introducing an international cast of guests to discuss equalities with reference to the Magna Carta. In 1215, the infamous King John issued and sealed a ‘great charter’ at Runnymede to placate a group of disgruntled barons. Since then, Magna Carta has gained a mythical status as a symbol of personal liberty and the rule of law against the unchecked authority of a despot. Fry’s talk will launch a series of twenty talks exploring the vital document, which turns eight hundred years old this year. Stephen Fry tickets are always hotly in demand so make sure you are poised to book.
Peter Florence: the founder and director of the Hay Festival.
Hay Festival History Talks
Antony Beevor: the Second World War; Peter and Dan Snow: Waterloo; Karen Armstrong: Fields of Blood
History will be well-served at this year’s festival. On Saturday 23 at 2.30pm, Anthony Beevor launches his new book Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble, the latest in his popular series of works on the Second World War. And on Friday 29 at 6.45 Peter and Dan Snow
will tell the tale of Waterloo. On Sunday 24 at 5.30pm, theological scholar Karen Armstrong looks to provide a more holistic, wide-ranging view of history as she introduces Field of Blood. By seeking to trace the connections between religion and violence throughout human history, Armstrong’s reaches back to the Stone Age and forward into the twenty-first century, along the way uncovering the manifold nature of the relationship between faith and politics. It promises to be a timely talk.
"The Hay Festival is like a cross between an international conference and a country wedding."
Joseph Heller, author of Catch 22
Hay Festival Children's Events
The full details of Hay Festival Children’s programme will only be revealed in April, but we can expect a stellar line-up of the best children’s and teen writers - Eoin Colfer, Malorie Blackman, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Rosen have all talked at previous festivals. Hay regulars Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo are already confirmed guests.
For priority tickets, join the Young Friends of Hay Festival.
Jacqueline Wilson, Hay Festival, Sunday 24, 10am
Few writers have brought such delight to children as Jacqueline Wilson, whose dozens of novels maintain an approachable humour while addressing serious issues such as mental illness, mortality and abuse. On Sunday 24 at 10am she will discuss both her most recent work and her vast catalogue. Last year her talk sold out so you’ll have to be on your toes to book when tickets are released.
Michael Morpurgo, Hay Festival, Saturday 30, 6.45 pm
At 6.45pm on Saturday 30th, author Michael Morpurgo joins actress Alison Reid and a handful of musicians to tell the tale of a boy who survived the Holocaust through his passion for music. Morpurgo was compelled to create this work when he learnt that the Nazis selected Jewish prisoners in some camps to play in orchestras. These orchestras were even called upon to ‘calm new arrivals at the camp’ by serenading them – often with Mozart - as they were ‘were lined up and marched off’. ‘I wondered’, says Morpurgo, ‘how it must have been for a musician who played in such hellish circumstances, who adored Mozart as I do – what thoughts came when playing Mozart later in life? This was the genesis of my story…’
The Hay Literary Festival is ‘the Woodstock of the Mind’