A FORMER pop idol, a chess grandmaster and knight of the realm Sir Ken Dodd are among the first names announced for this year’s Hay Festival.
The event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, takes place from May 25 to June 4 this year and will features some 500 events at the festival site in Hay-on-Wye.
Liverpudlian comic Dodd, made Sir Ken in the new year’s honours, is returning to the festival while 2002 Pop Idol winner Will Young will be performing a set of fan-favourite jazz covers.
Russian Garry Kasparov, regarded as the greatest chess player in the world, will be talking to Stephen Fry 20 years to the month on from his first ever defeat, to IBM supercomputer Deep Blue.
He talks to Fry, the festivals president, for the first time about what is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of technology when machine intelligence could beat human intellect.
Controversial artist Tracey Emin, who was shortlisted for the Turner Prize for an unmade bed, will be interviewed by GQ editor Dylan Jones.
The Letters Live show, in which stars read memorable letters, will also be staged again. In previous years the set has featured stars such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Louise Brealey, Mark Strong, Olivia Colman, Toby Jones and Jude Law.
This year’s performance has already sold out even thought the full cast won’t be announced until May 20.
2016 Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty will also be discussing his racially charged satire The Sellout with festival director Peter Florence.
New Zealand band Fat Freddy’s Drop will also be performing at the festival on Bank Holiday Monday.
Tickets for the festival’s ’early bird’ events have already gone on sale at the festival’s website will further events will be announced in early April.