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Hay Festival Europa28 to explore the future of Europe

Hay Festival has unveiled its ambitious free events programme live and online for Hay Festival Europa28, 6-9 October, in which 28 acclaimed women writers, journalists, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs – one from each EU country, plus the UK – will discuss and debate their visions for the future. 
Run in partnership with the European Short Story Festival and Academy of Applied Arts International University of Rijeka, Hay Festival Europa28 will feature panel discussions, readings, film screenings and performances live from the European Capital of Culture Rijeka 2020 and Zagreb, Croatia, and covering issues from migration and rising nationalism to the continent’s response to Covid-19, and what it means to be ‘European’.

A series of Hay Festival Classics broadcasts will spotlight events from the Festival’s archive, including sessions with writers Zadie Smith, Leïla Slimani and Nobel-Prize winner Olga Tokarzuck, plus a live appearance from one of the project’s biggest champions, Turkish-British novelist Elif Shafak.

Alongside the public programme, workshops and events will take place in Rijeka’s libraries and Rijeka University, while young people across Europe have been invited to participate in the project via the EUNIC network by sharing their own visions for the future.

Hay Festival Europa28 aims to provide a space beyond Europe’s traditional centres of power in which ideas for Europe’s future can be shared and discussed, amplifying the voices of women. The project began earlier this year with the publication of Hay Festival Europa28: Visions for the Future in the UK, Spain and Croatia, a collection of their work that forms the basis of the upcoming sessions.

Cristina Fuentes, Hay Festival international director, said: “In these challenging times for the world, we are delighted to present Hay Festival Europa28, a free platform for discussing and engaging with ideas for tomorrow. While the project aims to pull insights from the most notable experts and practitioners in their fields, it also seeks to highlight the persistently diminished and under-represented contribution of women in these areas. Join us live and online.”

Roman Simić, artistic director of the Festival of the European Short Story (FESS), said: “If over 19 years of FESS there was a time in which we needed visions for the future, it is now. In many ways 2020 has changed the Hay Festival Europa28 project as well; as we all look to the world of tomorrow, the project resonates in new ways, posing questions and offering answers which we need globally. The necessity of change and the wisdom of setting direction, finding ways and adapting to new conditions in which we live, work and create, the need for understanding and accepting differences, compassion… All of this is echoed in the words and works of writers that will inhabit Rijeka and Zagreb stages in October, whether in person or online. Thanks to them, I am certain that the Hay Festival and FESS collaboration in Croatia will offer new visions, models and possibilities of closeness.”

Irena Kregar Šegota, Director of Rijeka 2020, said: “We are extremely proud that the Hay Festival and FESS are part of the European Capital of Culture program in Rijeka. Writers embody the precious opportunity to imagine the future, a world in which we could or would like to live. This 2020 has shown how fragile reality is to us and how much it means to have confidence in the energy of people, artists, organisers. Because of that trust, optimism and not giving up, this festival is happening, which offers us much more than literature. It offers us visions of the future that we can build, that we can fear, that awaken our imagination and make us alive.”

Explore the full programme and register for the free sessions now at hayfestival.org/europa28