Expanded kids' programme at Hay Festival

Expanded kids' programme at Hay Festival

The number of children’s events at this year’s Hay festival, launching today (22nd May), has increased to 150, up from 130 last year, because of kids’ “huge appetite” for live book action.
 
Mary Byrne, who coordinated Hay Fever, this year’s programme for children and young people, said children love Hay and are inspired by the festival environment.
 
“The opportunity to meet their heroes and talk to them is very inspirational, but it s also a place to introduce them to new writers and encourage them to take a chance and try something different,” she said.
 
A plethora of big name authors are taking part, such as Michael Morpurgo, Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz and Oliver Jeffers, but this year Byrne wanted to also increase the number of events for teenagers.
 
YA authors Cassandra Clare and Judy Blume are appearing come over from the US, and several teen authors are taking part in panel discussions. On Monday (26th), authors Anne Cassidy, Keren David and Sally Nicholls will take part in a discussion about what can happen to young people when they are failed by adults. Later in the week (28th), Matt Haig and Alyssa Brugman will explore identity and gender issues.
 
Also new this year is a focus on creating books for children with events such as the panel event about illustration with Oliver Jeffers. “There is a growing interest from adults in picture book art, design and illustration and I wanted the programme to reflect that,” said Byrne.
 
Finally, Hay is also tackling the issue of literacy, one of the “hottest and most contentious topics for parents and politicians”, according to Byrne, with a presentation from Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust. He will unveil new research at the festival on 29th May.
 
The Hay festival will run from today until the 1st June.