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The C&TH Top Picks for Hay Festival 2018

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The C&TH Top Picks for Hay Festival 2018

The line-up includes Chelsea Clinton, Philip Pullman, Rose McGowan and Michael Gove....


Your curated guide to the world’s most varied literature festival – we bring you the top talks to attend in Hay-on-Wye this month at this unique meeting of great minds…


The C&TH Guide to Hay Festival 2018

The jewel in the UK’s literary festivals’ crown, has been the go-to festival for book-lovers for 31 years now. Cooked up by Peter Florence and friends three decades ago, when tickets were sold from a caravan under the clock tower and talks happened in the British Legion, the annual event has come a long way since then with speakers to date including Bill Clinton, Stephen Fry, Ian Rankin and Jacqueline Wilson to name a few. Throw in some of the best views and walking countryside in Britain and you’ve got a country-lover’s weekend made in heaven.

‘Hay Festival brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. The festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be. Nobel Prize-winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas’

This year’s festival will run from 24 May – 3 June in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

The Best Literary Festivals of 2018

Our Top Picks

With a star-studded line-up just announced, we curate a selection of the top talks to attend at this year’s festival. Make sure you book early to avoid disappointment as the big-name events will sell out quickly.

“We are facing alarming insecurities and crises. We need to approach the complexity of those challenges with all the hope and courage we can muster. We need to hear the wisest voices, not the loudest. And we need the gift that novelists and poets give – the ability to imagine the world from someone else’s point of view. There has never been a time when we were in such urgent need of empathy. It’s a time for serious thought and serious work, and so too, it’s a time to laugh and a time to dance and a time to feast. Let’s do it together.” – Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival

The Business of Creativity, Sunday 27 May

Can art and business coexist, or does a drive for profit lead to the end of creative integrity? C&TH hosts its first talk at this year’s festival, with former Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey, jewellery designer Theo Fennell, economist Linda Yueh, Jojo Maman Bebe founder Laura Tenison, and curator at The Wedgwood Museum Gaye Blake-Roberts. We’ll see you there! Find out more

The Best Independent & Boutique Music Festivals 2018

Fire and Fury, Sunday 27 May

Trump’s America takes centre stage at Hay this year, one of the highlights being Michael Woolf discussing his revelations about the chaos of the Trump White House in his explosive book ‘Fire and Fury’. Dylan Jones gets the inside scoop, and you should too for what will undoubtedly be an absolutely fascinating talk. Find out more

Margaret Atwood, 28 & 29 May

The Handmaid’s Tale author stars in a series of events discussing her 1985 dystopian masterpiece as well as her extensive back-catalogue of poetry, short stories and novels. On the 29 May, the Canadian writer talks to Gaby Wood, director of the Man Booker Prize. Not to be missed. Find out more

New Glasses for the Festival Season with Tom Davies

Gordon Brown, Sunday 3 June

Launching his memoir, My Life, Our Times former Chancellor and Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wide-ranging conversation about politics and hope is a must-see. Find out more

Rose McGowan talks to Laurie Penny, Saturday 2 June

Hear from the Hollywood actress who started the #MeToo ripple effect that has dominated 2018 by being one of the first to publicly accuse now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. She discusses her poignant memoir/manifesto, Brave, which exposes the truth about the systemic misogyny in the entertainment industry. One of the most eagerly-anticipated talks of the festival. Find out more


Salman Rushdie and Tishani Doshi, Tuesday 29 May

The novelist discusses contemporary American culture, poignantly imagined in his latest novel The Golden House. Freedom of speech, language, literature, life and death all in one talk – we could ask for little more. Find out more

100 Years of Suffrage: What It Means to be a Woman in 2018

Tales of Wonder, Magic, Resistance and Hope, Saturday 2 June

“Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been a means to conquer the terrors of humanity through metaphor.” Philip Pullman, Marina Warner and Jack Zipes discuss the past, present and future of the ‘wonder tale’ at this already sold out talk. Beg, borrow or steal a ticket… Find out more

Michael Gove talks to Rosie Boycott, Friday 25 May

Discussing the future of farming and food is the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, who is in conversation with the chair of the London Food Board as part of Hay on Earth. Find out more

Chelsea Clinton, 2 & 3 June

Chelsea Clinton talks world health alongside her Governing Global Health co-author, scientist Devi Sridhar on 2 June, before speaking to Alex Jones about her new picture book which celebrates women who have shaped history. Find out more

Helen Pankhurst, Friday 25 May

‘Deeds Not Words’: In the centenary of women’s suffrage, great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and women’s rights campaigner Helen Pankhurst offers a positive outlook for the way forward. Find out more

Read our Interview with Dr Helen Pnakhurst on What it Means to be a Woman in 2018

Akala, Saturday 26 May

MOBO award-winning poet, musician and outspoken political commentator Akala discusses his memoir Natives, and the uncomfortable place of race and class in the ruins of the British empire. Find out more

How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life, Monday 28 May

World-renowned Classicist Edith Hall offers ancient advice from Aristotle for how to be happy, as true today as it was in ancient Greece. Your first purposeful stride towards a life well lived. Find out more


David Miliband, Saturday 2 June

David Miliband delivers the Festival’s annual Eric Hobsbawm Lecture, discussing the global refugee crisis and what we can do to help. Miliband is President of the International Rescue Committee, providing a unique insight into one of the most difficult crises of our times. Find out more

Find the full programme at

Brought to you in association with our Hay Festival partner

Make Sure to Pack some Good Reads from the C&TH Reading List


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