With more than 500 in-person events over 11 days, Hay Festival has this week unveiled the full programme for its 36th spring edition in Hay-on-Wye,
Tickets are on sale now to Friends of Hay Festival–the world’s leading festival of ideas, bringing readers and writers together in sustainable events to inspire, examine and entertain on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
This year’s programme launches the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around significant global issues. Award-winning writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators take part from around the world, offering big thinking and bold ideas.
Highlights include appearances from writers Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Eleanor Catton, Max Porter, Jonathan Coe, Leïla Slimani, Xiaolu Guo, Fflur Dafydd, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Alys Conran, Richard Ford, Jojo Moyes, Horatio Clare, Natalie Haynes, Richard Osman, Douglas Stuart, Elif Shafak, Victoria Belim, Katherine May; poets Simon Armitage, Owen Sheers, Carol Ann Duffy, Rufus Mufasa, Michael Rosen; YA star Alice Oseman; children’s heroes Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson, Connor Allen; music icons Stormzy, Dua Lipa, The Proclaimers, the Levellers, Judi Jackson, Baaba Maal, Zhadan and the Dogs; comedians Dara Ó Briain, Tom Allen, Jason Byrne, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Josie Long, Isy Suttie; stars of stage and screen Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant; politicians and policy makers Sadiq Khan, chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance, Kate Bingham; journalists George Monbiot, Alastair Campbell, Marina Hyde, Gary Younge, Lyse Doucet, Jon Snow; mountaineer Ranulph Fiennes; activist Munroe Bergdorf; economist Mariana Mazzucato; historians Lucy Worsley, Simon Schama, Irene Vallejo; artist Tracey Emin; foodies Mary Berry, Jack Monroe, Ruth Rogers, Andi Oliver and Prue Leith; Thinkers in Residence Laura Bates, Will Gompertz, David Olusoga, Charlotte Williams; and many more…
Events offer something for all, beginning with the free Programme for Schools followed by HAYDAYS and #HAYYA events for families, encouraging young readers to get creative throughout the half-term.
Late nights at the Festival are given over to great music, comedy and entertainment, while a host of free pop-up activities and performances around the site keeps audience entertained between events.
Providing exciting new platforms to discover fresh ideas, Hay Festival invites audiences to imagine the world as it is and as it might be. It is a catalyst for change and action, open and accessible to all.
Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch said: “This Hay Festival edition is a beacon, an international symbol of hope for the collective, creative imagination and a better future. Our latest programme offers ‘11 days of different’ in the Brecon Beacons National Park, creating a space where great minds won’t always think alike, and where imaginations are free to roam.
“During the day our conversations will grapple and engage with the world around us, seeking solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our times while inspiring the next generation of world-changers. And in the evening we’ll laugh, dance and exchange stories in a place like nowhere else. Join us.”
Stormzy said: “It all started with books for me. As a kid in school, I fell in love with literature and it sparked a life-long journey with words and writing, which led into my career as a songwriter and a musician. I’m really excited to pass on this passion at Hay Festival, celebrate our incredible #Merky Books writers, and inspire the next generation of storytellers. Can’t wait to see you guys there!”
Michelle McLeod, Sponsorship Manager at Baillie Gifford, said: “Hay Festival never fails to bring together the brightest minds to discuss some of the biggest challenges of our times, along with the very best writers in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. It is a celebration of the written and spoken word, with a wide-range of events for every taste and for all the family. It’s 11 days of entertainment, new perceptions and inspiration.
Hay Festival 2023 is supported by lead sponsors Baillie Gifford and Visit Wales.
Events will take place across eight stages in the free-to-enter Festival village at Dairy Meadows – which also offers a range of spaces for audiences to explore and enjoy, including the Festival Bookshop, Wild Garden, Make and Take Tent, a host of exhibitors and market stalls, cafés and restaurants as well as in and around Hay-on-Wye, including performances all week at St Mary’s Church.
Pioneering new projects tackle big thinking, encouraging threads of curiosity throughout the Festival, while Festival favourites will keep crowds returning for more:
Thinkers in Residence Laura Bates, Will Gompertz, David Olusoga and Charlotte Williams convene artists and innovators to explore issues facing the world today and create new platforms to grow ideas.
Wales and its cultural impact is championed in events with Publishing Wales, Wales Arts International, National Theatre Wales, BBC Wales, Aberystwyth University, Swansea University and Cardiff University.
Ukraine’s biggest book festival, Lviv BookForum, comes to Wales, co-curating events throughout the Festival to spotlight great Ukrainian storytelling and the state of Ukraine today.
The Debut Discoveries series showcases emerging writers alongside established names, offering opportunities for fresh talent to take part in Hay Festival events for the first time.
The Eurovision Book Contest highlights dazzling literature in partnership with the European Song Contest team, as Eurovision fever sweeps the UK this May.
A new series, Planet Assembly, pioneers the use of civic space and engagement in exploring dynamic solutions to regenerate the planet, with the support of Hive Energy.
This year’s Hay on Earth Forum explores food production and climate change, including a range of activities aim to mitigate against the Festival’s own negative environmental impacts.
Hay-on-Wye’s creative community is championed in events with Pride, Hay Writers’ Circle, Hay Music, Rural Media and Hereford College of Arts.
The BBC Marquee brings leading BBC audio programmes and podcasts to the Festival site in free events, while additional media partners TikTok, Sky Arts, Prospect magazine, the welsh agenda, JUNO, and The TLS contribute to programming here and around the Festival site.
Rigour and intellect are celebrated in lectures from eight leading universities, showcasing the latest research in the arts and sciences.
Wide-ranging collaborations strengthen the diversity of programming, with additional partners including British Council, The British Academy, National Literacy Trust, International Booker Prize, The Reading Agency, The Royal Society, English PEN, De Balie, Continental Drifts, Going South, Index on Censorship, RSA, BookAid International, LR Foundation, Accenture, The Eccles Centre for American Studies at The British Library and scientific journal Nature.
Winners of the Hay Festival Medals 2023 will be celebrated. Awarded annually since Britain’s Olympic year (2012), the Medals draw inspiration from the original Olympic medal for poetry.
Inclusive collaborations with Adult Learning Wales, Pen to Print, the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network, Head4Arts and The Family Place will make this one of the most accessible Festival editions yet with targeted projects to attract communities who have not experienced Hay Festival before.
And the Festival continues online with a selection of sessions streamed live throughout the 2023 event, continuing the Festival’s commitment to digital accessibility.