"Promiscuous minds" gather for Britain's Hay Festival

Thu May 23, 2013 9:11am EDT
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By Nigel Stephenson

LONDON (Reuters) - Some of the biggest names in literature, science and politics will pitch up to a small British town over the next week for a clan gathering of the world's most "promiscuous minds".

The 26th Hay Festival of literature, which begins on Thursday in Hay-on-Wye on the English/Welsh border, will play host to writers, scientists, philosophers, economists and readers in the thousands.

Among star names this year at what former U.S. President Bill Clinton dubbed the "Woodstock of the Mind" include best-selling spy novelist John le Carre, Australia's "Schindler's Ark" author Thomas Kenealley, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Most of the readings, talks and panel debates take place in tents set up in a field outside the town of 1,500 people.

And when the sun sets behind the hills over the festival site, musicians as diverse as British indie band Noah and the Whale and Malian Tuareg "desert-rockers" Terakaft take over.

Festival director Peter Florence has described the festival as a deliberate attempt to spark ideas and unexpected connections in a "promiscuous mind".

This year should be no different.

Among events Florence highlighted as likely to fire the synapses were sessions featuring the music of Mali and another in which France's ambassador to Berlin discusses the lessons of western intervention in Mali and Libya.   Continued...