Mantel, Amis, Ishiguro, Pullman for 2010 Hay Festival

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The Independent Culture

The Hay Festival - which former US president Bill Clinton famously called the "Woodstock of the mind"- announced its 2010 program on April 4. Set to take place in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, from May 27 through June 6, the diverse international literary festival will feature a long list of writers, including Hilary Mantel, Melvyn Bragg, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Philip Pullman.

Founded in 1988, the Hay Festival has become one of the world's most prominent literary festivals, growing to encompass political themes, science, law, art, music, and film. The festival's founder and director Peter Florence called it the place to be "if you're interested in the world and people, in love and death, in what is the best thing to do and how to be happy," according to The Guardian.

Among featured writers will be six voices in Arab literature - Joumana Haddad, Adania Shibli, Youssef Rakha, Abdellah Taia, Faiza Guene and Randa Jarrar. British writers include Martin Amis, discussing his novel The Pregnant Widow; Zadie Smith with her collection of essays Changing My Mind, and Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel. Antonia Fraser will talk to Melvyn Bragg about her late husband, Harold Pinter, and her book, Must You Go? Other authors include Philip Pullman, Tom Stoppard, Roddy Doyle, and Bill Bryson.

American neuroscientist David Eagleman, author of the bestseller Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, is on the roster, as are theologian Maggi Dawn and astronomer Martin Rees, who will engage in a debate on rationality.

Other events will feature former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor, South African Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, and president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, who will talk with British climate change secretary Ed Miliband (participating via satellite).

More than 100,000 visitors are expected at the 2010 festival, which is sponsored by The Guardian for the ninth year running. Tickets for individual events can be booked at the festival's website, which also offers a complete downloadable program plus information about travel and accommadations.