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Hay Festival unveils free Programme for Schools

Hay Festival Programme for Schools. Credit: Sam Hardwick

Hay Festival has today revealed the free Programme for Schools for this spring’s edition, bringing writers and young readers together in-person and online for a series of inspiring interactive activities and conversations, 25-26 May, kicking-off the full Festival running 25 May-4 June 2023.

Parents and teachers can explore the programme online now at hayfestival.org/schools with priority booking open now to all state schools in Wales.

KS2 events on Thursday 25 May include writers Matt Goodfellow, Dr Ranj, Pamela Butchart, Chae Strathie, Abi Elphinstone, Emma Carroll, Jeffrey Boakye and SF Said; poet Mererid Hopwood; Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho; adventurer Bear Grylls; and space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

KS3/4 events on Friday 26 May feature writers Anthony McGowan, Dr Shini Somara, Nicola Davies, Patrice Lawrence, Nikesh Shukla, Chris Vick, Candy Gourlay and Laura Dockrill; economist Tim Harford; Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho; activists Laura Bates and Jeffrey Boakye and space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

On Friday 26 May, students from Hereford College of Arts will pop up throughout the day with Teenage Dreams, a series of immersive performances starring teenage characters from some of Shakespeare’s best loved plays.

For those who can’t access the free events in person, sessions will also be streamed free online, with closed captioning available in Welsh and English at hayfestival.org/schools, and available free after the event on Hay Player at hayfestival.org/hayplayer.

Last year’s Programme for Schools at Hay Festival 2022 saw more than14,000 attendances from primary and secondary schools across England and Wales, while digital events over the past three years have reached more than 160,000 pupils with free events online.

Julie Finch, Hay Festival CEO, said: “Following last week’s programme launch, we are delighted to share the line-up for our free Programme for Schools at Hay Festival 2023. As a charity, we are committed to broadening cultural accessibility and boosting reading for pleasure through dynamic, interactive events and year-round projects. Our Programme for Schools is an annual highlight and we cannot wait to welcome thousands of young people, in-person and online, to join us for these days of inspiration and hope, creating a space where imaginations are free to roam. Join us.”

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said:
 “It’s fantastic to see Hay Festival’s free spring programme for schools, inspiring pupils with in-person and online workshops with writers and poets. I look forward to seeing lots of young people getting involved and finding their passion for creative writing and reading.”

Hay Festival is 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.

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.

And the action continues for young people throughout half-term with Hay Days and #HAYYA events inspiring the next generation of readers and writers with appearances from authors Jacqueline Wilson (The Other Edie Trimmer), Cressida Cowell (Which Way to Anywhere), Clara Kumagai (Catfish Rolling), Julia Donaldson (A Squash and A Squeeze); historian Greg Jenner (You Are History); atronaut Tim Peake (The Cosmic Diary of our Incredible Universe); YA star Alice Oseman (Heartstopper); CBeebies presenter George Webster (This Is Me!); a special event with Literature Wales where the current Children’s Laureate Wales Connor Allen pass the baton to the next writer; plus a dynamic blend of workshops, pop-up performances and free activities all around the site.

Explore the full programme of 500+ events online now at hayfestival.org/wales.