Beaming live from the town of books from the 26th-29th November, the Hay Festival’s Digital Winter Weekend has a star-studded line-up that includes Elton John, Dawn French, Stephen Fry, Ruth Jones, Lee Child, Joanne Harris, William Boyd, Candice Brathwaite, John Banville, Carys Bray, Skin, Gary Numan, Elizabeth Day, Arsène Wenger, Bryony Gordon, Anthony Gormley, Helen Macdonald, David Olusoga, Noreena Hertz, Nick Sharratt, Susie Dent, and Benjamin Zephaniah, among many more. 

All events are free to access and it couldn’t be easier to register and watch. Simply browse the programme and click “register” for any event you wish to see. You will need to log in to the website or create an account in order to do this. You’ll be sent a confirmation email once you’ve booked your first event, and all the events that you subsequently book will be added to your own Winter Weekend Schedule. All events are available with subtitles.

Once you have registered, follow the “Go to Event” link under each listing, or follow the link in your Winter Weekend Schedule to watch. To make sure you don’t miss anything, you’ll also receive an email reminder just before each of your booked events begins. You will be able to replay all events for free for the duration of the weekend, after this time they will be available on Hay Player.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us:

Some of what you can expect:

Antony Gormley and Martin Gayford


Sculpture is the universal art. It has been practised by every culture throughout the world and stretches back into the distant past. The first surviving shaped stones may even predate the advent of language. The drive to form stone, clay, wood and metal into shapes runs deep in our psyche and biology. This links the question ‘What is sculpture?’ to the question ‘What is humanity?’

In this wide-ranging book, two complementary voices – one belonging to an artist who looks to Asian and Buddhist traditions as much as to Western sculptural history (Antony Gormley), the other to a critic and historian (Martin Gayford) – consider how sculpture has been central to the evolution of our potential for thinking and feeling.

Lee Child talks to Heather Martin


Lee Child, otherwise known as James Dover Grant CBE and a judge for the 2020 Booker Prize, is the author of 24 Jack Reacher books, which have sold more than 100 million copies in 40 languages worldwide. In conversation with his biographer Heather Martin, he talks about his extraordinary tale of self-reinvention, the concept of the hero, and how Reacher was already part of his life long before he ever dreamed of becoming a writer.

Helen Macdonald and James Rebanks talk to Andy Fryers


Vesper Flights brings together a collection of the H is for Hawk author Helen Macdonald’s best-loved writing, along with new pieces covering a thrilling range of subjects. There are essays here on headaches, catching swans, hunting mushrooms, 20th-century spies, numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches.

It’s a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Helen Macdonald as one of our greatest nature writers.

As a boy, James Rebanks’s grandfather taught him to work the land the old way. Their family farm in the Lake District hills was part of an ancient landscape: a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock, and hedgerows teeming with wildlife. And yet, by the time James inherited the farm, it was barely recognisable. The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had crumbled; the skies had emptied of birds and their wind-blown song. English Pastoral is the story of an inheritance. It tells of how rural landscapes around the world have been brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things are being lost. And yet this elegy from the Lake District fells is also a song of hope: how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future.

John Banville talks to Georgina Godwin


The Man Booker Prize Winner returns with a new chilling mystery. The year is 1957 and the Catholic Church rules Ireland with an iron fist. Following the discovery of the corpse of a highly respected parish priest at Ballyglass House – the Co. Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family – Detective Inspector St John Strafford is called in from Dublin to investigate.

Strafford faces obstruction from all angles, but carries on determinedly in his pursuit of the murderer. However, as the snow continues to fall over this ever-expanding mystery, the people of Ballyglass are equally determined to keep their secrets.

John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of 15 novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. He is in conversation with radio and TV presenter Georgina Godwin.

VISIT – for the full line up.