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New chapter for Hay Festival as board welcomes seven Trustees

Credit: Hay Festival

Hay Festival Foundation Ltd Chair Caroline Michel has this week announced the appointment of seven new members to the charity’s Board of Trustees following an open recruitment process.

Based in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, Hay Festival is one of the world’s best-known arts charities, running events and projects that widen access to culture in eight countries across three continents.

Joining the Board are farmer, ceramicist and film producer Corisande Albert; economist Nick Butler; arts leader and digital specialist Tony Followell; tech investor Suhair Khan; historian, writer and broadcaster David Olusoga; business leader Ed Shedd; and digital content specialist Shakia Stewart.

Each new Trustee will serve a fixed term, supporting the charity’s refreshed mission and ongoing new audience development strategy. They join established Board members comprising international lawyer Victoria Bejarano; journalist and campaigner Baroness Rosie Boycott; business leader Geraint Davies; accountant Mair Gwynant; writer and lawyer Philippe Sands (KC); with literary agent Caroline Michel.

Retiring Trustees at the end of their fixed term of duty include Lord Terry Burns, Jonathan Godfrey, Nik Gowing and Dylan Jones, who have supported the board with their expertise over the years. Jonathan Godfrey, Nik Gowing and Dylan Jones will now transition over to the Hay Festival Foundation Ltd Advisory Council, a body of ambassadors that supports the Festival year-round, while Lord Burns will continue as an advisor to the charity’s Finance & Audit Committee.

Hay Festival Foundation Ltd Chair Caroline Michel said: “I am delighted to welcome these seven exceptional individuals to the Hay Festival Foundation Ltd Board. Each new member brings extensive expertise and experience at a crucial moment for our charity. As we continue to deliver on our mission in the UK and globally, their contribution will prove invaluable. I look forward to working with them.

“At the same time, we offer our warmest thanks to our outgoing Trustees – Lord Terry Burns, Jonathan Godfrey, Nik Gowing and Dylan Jones. Each has served our charity with dedication and passion through a period that saw us rise to the challenges of a global pandemic and transition to full charitable status while reaching more audiences globally than ever before.”

Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch said: “It is thrilling to begin 2024 with a raft of new Board appointments to aid our continued transformation. Closely aligned with our charitable objectives, each Board member brings both specialist expertise and a passion for our mission to inspire audiences, new and established.”

The new Trustee announcement comes on the back of recent Hay Festival expansion with new Forum editions in Panama City, Panama, and Seville, Spain; year-round After Hours events in cities across the UK, supported by a new multi-year funding agreement with the Unwin Charitable Trust; a revived Hay Festival Book Club; plus national funding investments in the core charity.

Meanwhile, Festival events further afield are already in full swing. This month, there were Hay Festival editions in Jericó, Medellín and Cartagena, Colombia, and Panama City, and Hay Forum Seville in Spain takes place in March. Closer to home, Hay Festival Scribblers Tour is currently taking writers direct to schools across Wales in free events, finishing in February.

And at the end of last year, Hay Festival announced 30 earlybird events for its next UK edition, 23 May-2 June 2024, offering a promise of fresh thinking, dynamic performances and diverse voices accessible to all. Confirmed speakers include novelists Colm Tóibín, Marlon James, Jeanette Winterson and Andrey Kurkov; environmentalist George Monbiot; podcaster Rory Stewart; comedians Julian Clary and Sara Pascoe; poet Hollie McNish; musician Jools Holland; and actors Miriam Margolyes and Lenny Henry.