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Hay Festival launches series of digital events

Credit: Marsha Arnold
Hay Festival has launched two free new ways for book lovers to engage with writers digitally with Hay Festival Book of the Month Live Q&As and Hay Festival Podcast Series Two.
Designed to expand the Festival’s mission to inspire, examine and entertain, the new platforms are supported by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers.
Series two of the Hay podcast series launched yesterday, with award-winning writers and thinkers tackling some of the biggest contemporary questions in a deep-dive of the Festival archive. Episode one of the new series looks at Global Health with expert contributions from Devi Sridhar, Jeremy Farrar, Sally Davies, Thomas Bollyky and Chelsea Clinton. New episodes will be released each Thursday with upcoming themes including AI, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, climate crisis, ageing and war poetry.
Available on all the major podcasting feeds, Series One of the Podcast can also still be enjoyed with guests including actors Stephen Fry and Judi Dench; bestselling novelists and poets Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Hilary Mantel, Michael Morpurgo and Matthew Francis; and writers and thinkers Yuval Noah Harari, Philippe Sands, Caitlin Moran, Gloria Steinem and Hallie Rubenhold.
Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “The new format podcasts will sample a range of expert insight to interrogate ideas that are intriguing. Everything needs to be reimagined.”
Michelle McLeod, sponsorship manager at Baillie Gifford, said: “With such an impressive back catalogue of events in the Hay Player that resonate with many of the challenges and opportunities that we face today, series two of the podcasts will bring different perspectives to the conversation. With the addition of the new Book of the Month events, Hay remains dedicated to inspiring and connecting readers, and providing opportunities to hear directly from an array of remarkable writers.”
The book of the month live Q&A will be a regular free digital event showcasing the author of the Festival’s Book of the Month title through an interactive conversation on Crowdcast. Poet and playwright Inua Ellams joins the premiere event of the series to discuss his award-winning collection The Half-God of Rainfall, Tuesday 21 July at 7pm BST. Other upcoming sessions will feature novelist Anne Enright talking about Actress and David Mitchell talking Utopia Avenue.
The launch of the new platforms follows the success of Hay Festival Digital in May and an increased demand across all Festival channels for quality conversation and interaction.
Beyond the new events and podcast releases, other Hay Festival digital initiatives continue to connect, inspire and entertain book lovers and home educators throughout the summer. These include the ongoing availability of the free Programme for Schools archive and Hay Player, which continues to offer full digital access to the full Hay Festival archive of video and audio.
The cancellation of this year’s event in Hay-on-Wye due to the Coronavirus / Covid-19 outbreak was followed by the launch of a fundraising campaign to secure the Festival’s future, which continues at hayfestival.org/wales/support-us.