Past event

Hay Festival, 2018

2-3 June 2018

The fifth appearance of Letters Live at the wonderful Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales this year delivered another pair of delightful shows. The line-up remained closely guarded, apart from the exciting leak that Benedict Cumberbatch would be in attendance. Joining Benedict for these shows were Clarke Peters, Louise Brealey, Ferdinand Kingsley, Rose McGowan, Tony Robinson, Jessica Raine, Toby Jones, Ophelia Lovibond, Prasanna Puwanarajah, Jordan Stephens and Yrsa Daley-Ward.


Saturday, 2nd June 2018


Benedict Cumberbatch

What gloomy tidings about the CRABS

Patrick Leigh Fermor to Enrica Soma

The canvas has an idiotic stare

Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh



Clarke Peters

Love and garlic

Groucho Marx to Chico Marx

Long Live Africa!

Patrice Lumumba to Pauline Opango



Jordan Stephens

I’m still here, trying to make it

Jimi Hendrix to His Dad

You know who you are

Australian man to His neighbour



Louise Brealey

Dear Sir

Sarah-Louise Jordan to An Admirer

This is not a letter

Katherine Mansfield to Leslie Beauchamp



Prasanna Puwanarajah

Don’t come

Abdul Rahman to Rajwalk Khan



Rose McGowan

Have a Happy Period

Wendi Aarons to James Thatcher

I can’t look you in the voice

Dorothy Parker to Pascal Covici



Toby Jones

A lousy proposition

Evelyn Waugh to Laura Herbert



Toby Jones and Jessica Raine

Are you supposed to be normal?

Harold Pinter to A Theatregoer



Tony Robinson

He is foul in the inward man

Tobias Gowell to A Watchmaker

A lousy proposition

Evelyn Waugh to Laura Herbert



Yrsa Daley Ward

Don’t let anyone define who you are.

Angelique Kidjo to Girls of the World


Sunday, 3rd June 2018


Benedict Cumberbatch

I have had my eye on you

Simon Fallowfield to Mary Foster


Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse



Clarke Peters

It’s a virus

Tom Waits to The Nation



Ferdinand Kingsley

This is my last visit

William Burroughs to Truman Capote

I loved the boy

William Wordsworth to Robert Southey



Jessica Raine


Lady Elizabeth Compton to Lord William Compton



Jordan Stephens

It will be sunny one day

Stephen Fry to Crystal



Jordan Stephens and Clarke Peters

Yours sincerely, Albus Dumbledore

Steve Armes to Albus Dumbledore



Louise Brealey

I love you

Emma Thompson to Her Younger Self

The story comes from within you

Laura Dern to Her Daughter



Louise Brealey and Jessica Raine

What should I do?

Frustrated to Abby



Ophelia Lovibond

The loss of you lingers

Karin Cook to Joan Cook Carpenter



Prasanna Puwanarajah

Every writer has his own voice

V.S. Naipaul to Sonny Mehta at Knopf



Toby Jones

Torturing the Saxophone

Robert Crumb to Mats Gustafsson

She was the music heard faintly at the edge of sound

Raymond Chandler to Leonard Russell



Tony Robinson

O, Excellent Air-Bag!

Robert Southey to Tom Southey

I would rather die

Harold Pinter to Tom Stoppard