Pink sign saying 'Hay' outside a tent at Hay Festival.
Image credit: Adam Tatton/Hay Festival.

Leading academics and experts from the University of Birmingham’s College of Arts and Law are giving talks at this year’s Hay Festival, covering Shakespeare’s first folio, returning children involved in terrorist organisations to the UK, and Oscar Wilde’s perceived laziness.

Hay Festival is an annual event, which brings together life-changing writers, fabulous stars of stage and screen, pioneers of science and technology, and future world leaders, for a party of ideas and stories. The Festival is taking place from Thursday 25 May – Sunday 4 June.

This year three experts from the college of Arts and Law will be giving talks.

Dr Katherine Brown, reader in religion and global security, will argue why all children deserve a safer future, and that children raised in terrorist environments should be returned to the UK, and why child terrorists do not exist. She will explore how, by removing the false distinction of perpetrator and victim from these children, we can create a securer and safer future for everyone.

Dr Chris Laoutaris, senior lecturer in Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Institute, will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, and explore how this ground-breaking and world changing volume was put together and published, and how the makers and publishers of the first folio have shaped how we know Shakespeare today.

Professor Rebecca Mitchell, professor in Victorian literature and culture, will debunk the myth that Oscar Wilde was a lazy writer, and that his wit and style were unstudied. Manuscripts have shown that he worked tirelessly on his craft and filled notebooks with drafts and revisions to his witticisms and famously quotable remarks. Rebecca will reveal just how much effort goes into creating an effortless image.

Professor Nick Crowson, Director of Research at the College of Arts and Law said: “The University of Birmingham are delighted to again be part of the Hay Festival. It provides a fantastic opportunity for our academics to engage with the festival audience, and deliver exciting, thought provoking and challenging talks from the arts and humanities.”

Julie Finch, CEO of Hay Festival said: “We are delighted to partner the University of Birmingham and bring their cutting-edge thinking to our Festival audience. This year’s edition is a beacon, an international symbol of hope for the collective, creative imagination and a better future. During the day our conversations will grapple and engage with the world around us, seeking solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our times while inspiring the next generation of world-changers. And in the evening we’ll laugh, dance and exchange stories in a place like nowhere else. Join us.”

The talks will take place in person at Hay Festival.

Students get 25% off on all events at this year's Festival. Talks can be viewed afterwards via a paid subscription to the Hay Player. A selection can be live-streamed during the Festival by purchasing the Online Festival Pass.

Further details about the University of Birmingham’s talks at Hay Festival 2023 and speaker information can be found online.