Page last updated at 08:15 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 09:15 UK

Ex-US president leads Hay line-up

Former US President Jimmy Carter
Former US President Jimmy Carter will discuss the Middle East

Ex-US President Jimmy Carter leads the line-up of guests for the Hay Festival, which also includes comedian Ken Dodd and Hollywood actor Kathleen Turner.

Mr Carter, president between 1977 and 1981, will discuss the Middle East at the 21st literary event.

Meanwhile, Cherie Booth, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, will speak about women's equality.

Other guests include chef Jamie Oliver, M&S boss Stuart Rose and former head of the Army General Sir Mike Jackson.

Held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, the town and the festival have grown in size and stature since an invitation was extended to "a few like-minded friends" to gather for a weekend of literary relaxation in 1988.

Since then it has attracted some of the world's leading writers, politicians and musicians. In 2001, ex-US President Bill Clinton famously called it "the Woodstock of the mind".

Cherie Blair
Cherie Blair will speak about women's equality

The full line-up for this year's event includes a range of musical events and a film festival which will run alongside the literary event.

As well as ex-President Carter's talk, other politicians will include a trio from the Labour Party - former deputy PM John Prescott, Lord Hattersley and Lord Levy.

Meanwhile, Ffion Hague, wife of Conservative shadow foreign secretary William Hague, will discuss ex-Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George and the women in his life.

Others in this year's programme include author Will Self, playwright, director and scriptwriter Stephen Poliakoff, Salman Rushdie and author and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.

Comedian and actor Omid Djalili
Comedian and actor Omid Djalili is appearing at Hay

US author and journalist Carl Bernstein, who helped break the Watergate scandal story, will also feature.

From the world of comedy, Jimmy Carr, Marcus Brigstock, Omid Djalili and Rory McGrath are visiting Hay.

Other famous faces include singer Jools Holland, Charlie Higson and chess champion Garry Kasparov.

The Welsh festival, which runs from 22 May until 1 June, now has satellite events in Segovia in Spain and Cartagena in Colombia.

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