Bill Clinton called it the “Woodstock of the Mind”. The Hay Festival can certainly draw a big crowd – the sleepy Welsh village will swell from 1,500 residents to 250,000 bibliophiles at the end of May as one of the most prestigious literary festivals in the world takes place over nearly a fortnight.

Previous speakers have included the former president himself, as well as his daughter Chelsea, his vice-president Al Gore and his Democratic presidential predecessor Jimmy Carter. From the literar...

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