Journalist and critic Julia Eccleshare has been appointed children’s director of the Hay Festival. She will programme Hay’s Children’s Festival and the Hay YA programme, succeeding Mary Byrne.
“I’m incredibly excited about becoming children’s director,” Eccleshare said. “I’ve been taking part in Hay events for 20 years and the children’s festival has always had a particular flavour about it.”
Plans are already in place to celebrate the Roald Dahl centenary, as well as for several events themed around Shakespeare to mark the 400th anniversary of his death. Eccleshare is also looking forward to engaging with the “big and noisy” Young Adult community—as well as hosting the announcement of The Bookseller’s YA Book Prize.
“I want to put together a mixed programme of writers who engage best with smaller audiences as well as those who fill big spaces, such as Michael Morpurgo,” she said. “I’m also very interested in the effect authors can have on writers of the future.”
Hay Festival director Peter Florence said: “Every time I spoke to any friends in the industry about who they most respected and admired, Julia’s was the first name they came up with.”
The 2016 Hay Festival takes place between 26th May and 5th June.