Hay Festival, 26 May - 5 June, has programmed a superb series of 10 events to mark the centenary of the great storyteller’s birth.
It starts with the dedication of a new David Austin rose in Roald Dahl's memory, on Friday 27 May, and a talk by Michael Marriott to explain the complex process behind breeding a new bloom.
This is followed on Sunday 29th with the reading of a selection of Roald's letters by a stellar cast, as part of the extremely popular, sell-out show Letters Live, headlined in previous years by Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Wales of the Unexpected on Thursday 2 June looks at the influence of the country of his birth (to Norwegian parents) on his future writing. Contributors to a new ground-breaking book bring to life on stage his early years in Llandaff, near Cardiff.
There are no fewer than three major events and four free workshops on Tuesday 31 May. The day kicks off at 10am with The Magnard Ensemble chamber group of seven young players performing Dahl’s ‘revolting rhymes’ to music. This is an interactive event where, like his tales, nothing is quite what it seems. At the same time in a different venue, find out why You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton won two Roald Dahl Funny Book prizes. Perhaps the apogee of the Roald Dahl ‘festival within a festival’ is the debate that afternoon to decide on the most villainous villain in the whole canon of stories. Will it be Miss Trunchball? The very hungry Crocodile? Farmers Boggis Bunce and Bean? The Grand High Witch? Adjudicated by Blue Peter presenter Lyndsey Russell, the winner will be crowned with the prestigious title of Hay’s Favourite Villain. And that’s not all. Hereford College of Arts is running four workshops that day, creating pieces inspired by Roald Dahl’s exquisite nonsense.
Finally, children and adults can pit their wits against the Word Wizards who will unveil the new Roald Dahl Dictionary on Wednesday 1 June. This is sure to be a hit with Dahl fans, wordsmiths and wannabe writers.
To book tickets for Hay festival, visit hayfestival.com or ring the Box Office on 01497 822629.