Hay Festival celebrates 30th anniversary with 'ambitious' new projects

Hay Festival celebrates 30th anniversary with 'ambitious' new projects

Hay Festival has today (3rd March) unveiled four "ambitious" new projects to mark its 30th festival in Hay-on-Wye, including an international call to crowd source a library of 30 “essential” books from the last 30 years.

Founded in 1987 around a kitchen table in Wales, the festival brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world – over the last 30 years there have been 120 festivals globally, attracting over 250,000 to Hay Festival Wales annually, the organisers have said. This year's festival will take place from 25th May to 4th June.

To mark its 30th anniversary, the festival is launching #Hay30Books, an international call to select 30 “essential” books from the last 30 years that "deserve more attention". These will be celebrated digitally and at Hay Festival events around the world. The project offers a chance to "reevaluate, rediscover, and share essential works of fiction and non-fiction for any age". The festival has already selected 15 works, from Simon Armitage’s 1992 collection Kid (Faber) to Mona Eltahawy’s 2015 release Headscarves and Hymens (W&N), but submissions for the remaining 15 can be made online by posting to Hay Festival’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram pages with 30 words to explain why the selection is essential using #Hay30Books.

In addition to the 30th festival in Wales, projects will be delivered digitally and through its festivals around the world in Spain, Mexico, Peru, Denmark and Colombia. One of the projects will be '30 Reformations': 500 years after Martin Luther sparked a theological revolution with his 95 Theses, Hay Festival will spark 30 global reformations in 2017, inviting a series of world leading writers and thinkers to imagine a better world in conversations, lectures and essays. These reformations will be delivered at the festival in Wales and in events around the world.

Another project will be '30 Acres' – a new partnership between the festival and the Woodland Trust will see 30 schools plant trees on 30 acres of land across Wales to mark the festival’s anniversary and continued commitment to sustainability.

Thirdly, Sound of the Baskervilles, a new venue, joins the Hay Festival Wales programme this year to offer DJ sets and live performances, culminating in a 30th birthday party.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “For 30 years Hay Festival has brought readers and writers together to share stories and ideas, to imagine the world - to tell our truths and renew our lives. We’ve seen the world move from paper to the digital realm, we’ve witnessed boundaries and languages shift, and vast migrations of people and money. We trust writers and the authority of the published word. We love stories and we love to throw a party. Today we announce the first of our 30th anniversary projects - 30 Reformations, 30 Acres and #Hay30books. Please join us.”