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The science and art of dreaming, the concussion crisis in sport, and the winning title of this year’s Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize are among the subjects set to delight audiences at the 36th Hay Festival between 25 May - 4 June.

Hay Festival is the world’s leading festival of ideas, and this year’s festival will feature more than 500 in-person events over 11 days, bringing readers and writers together in sustainable events to inspire, examine and entertain on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Three Swansea University events feature in the programme for this year’s festival as part of the University’s ongoing partnership with the prestigious cultural and literary event.

  • World-leading sleep expert Professor Mark Blagrove will join artist Julia Lockhart for The Science and Art of Dreaming to explain the psychology and neuroscience of dreaming. Authors of The Science and Art of Dreaming, they will describe how dream-sharing increases empathy between people, and explore art and surrealism.
  • In The Concussion Crisis: How Can Sport Respond? Dr Victoria Silverwood, a lecturer in criminology at Swansea University’s School of Social Sciences, will recommend changes that sport can make to reduce the risk of brain injury in athletes and look at how societal attitudes can be impacted by social media and campaigning.
  • The winner of this year’s Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize – to be announced on 11 May – will be in conversation with the novelist Jon Gower, a member of the 2023 judging panel. Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the Prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories, and drama.

Two former winners of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize will also feature in this year’s festival. Max Porter, winner of the 2016 Prize for Grief is the Thing with Feathers, will be in conversation with Kim Sherwood on 3 June about his new book, Shy. Lucy Caldwell, who won the 2011 Prize for her novel The Meeting Point, will join a panel discussion about how science becomes fiction on 27 May.

Owen Sheers, Professor in Creativity at Swansea University, features in three Hay events. On Monday 26 May, Professor Sheers will chair a discussion between actor Callum Scott Howells (It’s a Sin, Cabaret) and writer and director Luke Collins (Cappuccino, Swiped) as they present a screening of On the Black Hill, adapted from Bruce Chatwin’s 1982 novel, which tells the story of identical twin brothers who grow up on a farm in rural Wales and never leave home.

In Everything Change: Writing the Climate Crisis, Professor Sheers will join novelist Alys Conran, poet Marvin Thompson and singer, comedian and actor Carys Eleri as they share the work they created in response and discuss the role of the writer and artist in addressing the challenges of the climate and ecological emergencies.

Professor Sheers, patron of the British stammering association STAMMA, will discuss how a different kind of speech can gift a different kind of voice, with authors Margaret Drabble, Zaffar Kunial and Hannah Tovey in Unspoken: The Secret Power of Stammering.

Professor Jasmine Donahaye, Creative Writing Lecturer at Swansea University, nature writer Jay Griffiths and literary historian Rachel Hewitt join Gwen Davies for Women and Nature to explore ideas of diversity, equality, fair access and other moral matters of our relationship with the great outdoors and the natural world.

Tickets for the Hay Festival are now on general sale.

View the full programme.

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