Hot Lists Monday, November 7th Words by: Adam Knight

Hay Festival Winter Weekend: 7 must-see events

Hot Lists Monday, November 7th

Hay Festival Winter Weekend: 7 must-see events

From folk singers to funnymen – and the usual blend of writers and thinkers you’d associate with a Hay Festival event – here are our picks from this year’s Winter Weekend (Nov 25 - 27).

“Wait, what is a Winter Weekend?” I hear you say.

Put simply it’s the three-day festive little brother to the world-renowned gathering of ideas and Guardian Readers that is the Hay Festival.

This year – the 17th Winter Weekend – it also ties in with a load of festive festival fun in the form of a food festival on the Saturday and a vintage fayre the following day.

Like the festivals, all the Winter Weekend action also takes place in town, across three venues. For more info, and to book tickets, check out the website here.

Here are a few that we’ve got a big, red circle around... 

Mark Watson – comedian

Saturday | 4pm | St Mary's Church, St Mary's Rd, HR3 5EB [in conversation]

Saturday | 8.30pm | The Swan Ballroom, Church Street, HR3 5DQ [stand-up]

A side-achingly funny man, comedian Mark Watson is one of those annoyingly-talented people. Not content with producing brilliant and endearingly ramshackle stand up shows, he also writes novels – graphic and traditional – and is pulling a double shift at the Winter Weekend.

On Saturday afternoon he’s “in conversation” on the subject of his new book The Place That Didn’t Exist,  and then at 8.30pm he’s at The Swan Ballroom for his latest stand-up show I’m Not Here.

Here he is last year telling some jokes to Australians.

Polly Morland – author, documentarian

Saturday | 11.30am | The Swan Ballroom, Church Street, HR3 5DQ

Polly Morland. Photo by: Ulrike von der Heidt

Polly Morland. Photo by: Ulrike von der Heidt.

Change is among the most illuminating and preoccupying elements of the human condition. From an internationally-acclaimed violinist who suddenly becomes a Scottish policeman to survivors forever-changed having witnessed genocides, author and documentary-maker Polly Morland - who tackles the topic in her new book Metamorphasis - helps us understand our immense capacity for change, and dispels some of the crippling misconceptions that surround it.

Polly’s first widely-acclaimed book The Society of Timid Souls, or How To Be Brave (2013) won a RSL/Jerwood Award, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was a Sunday Times Book of the Year.

This is an event for anyone who likes Malcolm Gladwell or films where you have to work out the ending.

Nuala Honan - singer

Sunday | 8pm | Hay Castle, HR3 5DF

Taking up the Coldplay slot as it were, songstress Nuala Honan closes the Winter Weekend on Sunday night. Originally from Australia, she is not one of the Antipodeans Watson was telling jokes to in that clip. She is velvet-voiced singer-songwriter, that falls somewhere between folk, country and Norah Jones.

Have a listen. It’s scientifically impossible not to fall in love with this track.

Nick Yarris - author, former Death Row prisoner

Saturday | 5.30pm | The Swan Ballroom, Church Street, HR3 5DQ

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Think Steven Avery was innocent? Not sure whether Adnan was guilty? Well meet Nick Yarris, who spent 23 years on Death Row for a crime he never committed and was later cleared of thanks to advances in DNA testing.

Shadow Puppets!!!

Sunday | 11am | Hay Parish Hall, Lion Street Hay-on-Wye HR3 3AB

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One for the young 'uns/puppet lovers. Theatrix Shadow Puppet Theatre will bring to life tales of Sindbad the Sailor as the stories are read in the library at Hay Parish Hall. Afterwards, kids have a chance to ‘meet the puppet’ and create their own to take home.

Daisy Goodwin - author, TV producer, Queen Victoria enthusiast

Sunday | 2pm | St Mary's Church, St Mary's Rd, HR3 5EB

The creator of ITV’s smash-hit Victoria and author of the book the series is based on Daisy Goodwin is in Hay to talk about the young queen, her novel and all things Victoria. Actor Anna Wilson Jones, who plays Lady Portman in the TV series, will be on hand to read extracts from the book.

Hay Does Vintage 

Sunday, all day | Market Square car park.

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One of the best Vintage Fayres around, Hay Does Vintage pops up in the middle of town on Sunday, running alongside the Winter Weekend.

Swing by between talks to check out some great-looking retro furnishings, or to pick up the kind of pre-loved denim you ain’t going to find at H&M. 

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