Hay Festival has revealed its free digital programme for its 34th spring edition, bringing writers and readers together for an inspiring array of conversations, debates, workshops and performances online, Wednesday 26 May to Sunday 6 June.
Over 12 days, more than 200 acclaimed writers, global policy makers, historians, poets, pioneers and innovators will take part in this year’s Festival, launching the best new fiction and non-fiction. It will interrogate some of the biggest issues of our time, from building a better world post-pandemic to tackling the compound crises of climate change, inequality, and challenges to truth and democracy.
Landmark Festival conversations will consider a series of momentous anniversaries and ongoing global issues: one year on from the killing of George Floyd, poet Lemn Sissay presents a three-part series in his name, exploring racism and the systemic changes we need to see in the UK and around the world; 300 years since Great Britain appointed its first prime minister, a series of PM300 panels explores issues of leadership and the global crisis of democracy; ahead of COP26, the Festival’s Hay-on-Earth programme spotlights what’s at stake; and Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates leads a trio of discussions on gender equality.
Winners of Hay Festival Medals 2021 will be celebrated, daily Festival lectures will offer thought leaders and experts the platform to dive deeper into their chosen subjects, and the Festival celebrates debut writers changing the world in its [email protected] series at 10pm every day.
Each morning will begin with HAYDAYS sessions for young people and families, while a series of creative digital workshops runs throughout the Festival. Plus, the Programme for Schools will once more be beamed to pupils across the UK, offering primary and secondary pupils the chance to enjoy the Festival’s programming free anywhere, 24-28 May.
Heather Salisbury, Hay Festival artist manager, said: “The support for Hay Festival over the past year has been overwhelming, with our Haymakers, partners, funders and sponsors giving us an incredible opportunity to reinvent what a Festival can be. This spring we beam our programme to you from Richard Booth’s Bookshop in the heart of Hay-on-Wye, welcoming writers, readers, thinkers and dreamers together from around the world to join our digital party. We’ll meet this moment of challenge and change with inspiration and vision, and place our trust in the wisdom of writers to guide us through. Join us.”
Events will be broadcast live from temporary studios in Richard Booth’s Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye. Registered users will have the opportunity to interact with fellow audience members online and pose their questions to speakers. All events will be closed captioned and available to watch free for 24 hours after the live broadcast before being added to the Festival’s subscription archive.
Hay Festival 2021 is supported by lead sponsors Visit Wales and Baillie Gifford, and by grant funding from Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund. While events are free to attend, donations to Hay Festival Foundation will be welcomed throughout at hayfestival.org/donate to support upcoming projects and secure the Festival for generations to come.
Festivalgoers can explore the programme and register for free now at hayfestival.org/wales.