Official – Julian Assange will speak at Hay

It always pays to keep an ear to the ground at Hay for recommendations and word of late additions to the programme. This years the rumour mill was grinding out speculation that Julian Assange would be holding court at some point.

The rumours it turns out are true. Assange will be holding a session entitled simply ‘Wikileaks’ next Saturday 4th June at 2.30pm on the Welsh stage.

My recommendation to the organisers is that they accompany him on route. I was taking to PR guru Mark Borkowski a couple of weeks ago who knows Assange well, who said that whilst Assange could navigate every corner of the internet he wouldn’t trust him to traverse the London underground.

Full Hay Festival 2011 Programme Now Live

The full programme has been published and is now available for friends of the Festival to book .  The Friends of Hay Festival was formed in 1988  and members fees fund the annual Friends Lecture.  In return they get priority booking, access to a Friends entrance at the main venues on site, a Friends Café at Hay and regular newsletters.  You can become a Friend by clicking here, it costs £20.

Notable additions to the programme not previously mentioned on this blog include:

  • Marcus du Sautoy
  • Richard Dannatt
  • Paul O’Grady
  • Rumer
  • Douglas Alexander
  • David Aaronovitch
  • Mary Warnock
  • Gilbert & George
  • David Bailey
  • AA Gill
  • Germaine Greer
  • Jon Ronson
  • Simon Hoggart

Friends can book tickets now by logging on to the official site here.

From Hobsbawm to Miliband and Lawson to Lowe

..we post a definitive list of the 40 names already confirmed for the 2011 Hay Festival.

  • Afro Celt Sound System.
  • Bjørn Lomborg
  • Brian Cox
  • Cerys Matthews
  • Chris Evans
  • Dara O’Briain
  • David Miliband
  • Dylan Jones
  • Eliza Carthy
  • Eoin Colfer
  • Eric Hobsbawm
  • Henning Mankell
  • Howard Jacobson
  • Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
  • Jacqueline Wilson
  • Jason Bradbury
  • Jean-Marie le Clezio
  • Jo Brand
  • Joan Bakewell
  • John Waters
  • Julia Hobsbawm
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • Malorie Blackman
  • Meg Rosoff
  • Mohamed El Baradei
  • Nigella Lawson
  • Owen Sheers
  • Paul Merton
  • Paul Nurse
  • Philip Pullman
  • Polly Samson
  • Rob Lowe
  • Rowan Williams
  • Sandi Toksvig
  • Sarah Brown
  • Simon Russell Beale
  • Simon Schama
  • Sue Perkins
  • Toby Harnden
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • VS Naipaul

Early bird tickets for a handful of the acts are now on sale from the official site.

If you know of any other names attending drop us an e-mail at or message us on twitter.

Will the Telegraph Change the Hay Festival?

There are sponsorships that are made in heaven and the Guardian’s long running partnership with the Hay Festival was one of them.  Very quietly last October the Guardian swept out of Hay and the Telegraph was ushered in with a three year deal to attach their name to the now growing list of Festivals that have emerged from the small Brecon town and are encircling the globe in celebration of the arts.

So if the Festival couldn’t go to Segovia or Zacatecas without keeping the name Hay in the event title, can it remain true to itself with the Guardian moniker making way for the Telegraph?

Whilst the subject matter for the annual fest has emerged from the printed page and grown to encompass the performing arts there has always been a powerful political undercurrent during those 10 days in May.    In 2008 John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN and advisor to George Bush narrowly escaped an attempted citizen’s arrest for war crimes by writer and activist George Monbiot.  Last year the 2010 festival goers held their collective breath as they awaited news of the best-selling Swedish author Henning Mankell who instead of being at the festival was on board a the convoy of Gaza-bound boats stormed by Israeli forces.   The festival’s biggest draws have invariably been from the centre left, Vince Cable, Gore and Clinton, journalist John Pilger.   Miliband is a regular but I don’ think Cameron has ever been.

For a decade the only daily paper on sale at the site has been the Guardian and I’ve never heard a single complaint.  You couldn’t cite a more certain collection of Guardian readers than at Hay in May. Will it change?  It’s difficult to see how it can be avoided.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to Appear at Hay Festival

My guarantee to deliver fairness

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is the latest addition to an exciting programme at this year’s Hay Festival. The Liberal Democrat leader is a last-minute booking and he will appear on the last day of the festival, Sunday 6 June, discussing the new coalition government, the rule of law and constitutional reform with Philippe Sands.

Clegg is by no means the only politician appearing in the small Wesh town.  The former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf (2001–2008) will discuss conflict and volatility in the region with Carey Schofield and Labour leadership candidate Ed   will be appearing on both the opening Saturday and Sunday of the festival.  Alastair Campbell will be there too.

Nick Clegg’s appearance will be his first public interview since taking office.

Full 2010 Hay Festival Programme Now Live

The Hay Festival Programme is finally published, although we have had highlights available for the last couple of weeks.  If you have paid the extra £20 to be a ‘friend’ you can book now.  Booking is open to everyone from midnight on Tuesday.  New highlights revealed include; the unlikely pairing of Alain de Botton in conversation with Jerry Hall, Manchester indie band The Whip and Charlie Higson talking to Mark Kermode.

You can review the full programme and make bookings though the official site by clicking here.