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[380] 4pm OXFAM MOOT £10


Karen Armstrong

Martin Puchner

The Lost Art of Scripture

The Written World: How Literature Shaped History

Today we see the Quran being used by some to justify war and terrorism, the Torah to deny Palestinians the right to live in the Land of Israel, and the Bible to condemn homosexuality and contraception. The holy texts at the centre of all religious traditions are often employed selectively to underwrite arbitrary and subjective views. They are believed to be divinely ordained; they are claimed to contain eternal truths. But as Karen Armstrong, a world authority on religious affairs, shows in this fascinating journey through millennia of history, this narrow reading of scripture is a relatively recent phenomenon. For hundreds of years these texts were instead viewed as spiritual tools: scripture was a means for the individual to connect with the divine, to transcend their physical existence, and to experience a higher level of consciousness. Holy texts were seen as fluid and adaptable, rather than a set of binding archaic rules or a ‘truth’ that has to be ‘believed’.

From clay tablets to the printing press; from the pencil to the internet; from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Harry Potter, this is the true story of literature – of how great texts and technologies have shaped cultures and civilisations and altered human history. Less well known is the influence of Greek generals, Japanese court ladies, Spanish adventurers, Malian singers and American astronauts, and yet all of them played a crucial role in shaping and spreading literature as we know it today. The Harvard professor tells the captivating story of the development of literature. Central to the development of religions, political movements and even nations, texts spread useful truths and frightening disinformation, and have the power to change lives. Chaired by Daniel Hahn. Sponsored by Stephens & George Print Group [383] 4pm HAY FESTIVAL FOUNDATION STAGE £10

Robert Plomin talks to Rosie Boycott


Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

Caroline Criado-Perez

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman. The award-winning campaigner and writer shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

A pioneer in the field of behavioural genetics, Plomin draws on a lifetime’s worth of research to make the case that DNA is the most important factor in shaping who we are. Our families, schools and the environment around us are important, but they are not as influential as our genes. This is why, he argues, teachers and parents should accept children for who they are, rather than trying to mould them in certain directions. Even the environments we choose and the signal events that impact our lives, from divorce to addiction, are influenced by our genetic predispositions. Now, thanks to the DNA revolution, it is becoming possible to predict who we will become, at birth, from our DNA alone. #Discuss [384] 4pm STARLIGHT STAGE £9

Deborah Moggach talks to Georgina Godwin

Fictions: The Carer – A Preview The author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Tulip Fever previews a deliciously funny, poignant and wry new novel, full of surprising twists and turns, to be published this summer. James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?

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Profile for Hay Festival

Hay Festival 2019 Programme  

Hay Festival celebrates its 32nd festival in Wales, 23 May–2 June 2019.

Hay Festival 2019 Programme  

Hay Festival celebrates its 32nd festival in Wales, 23 May–2 June 2019.