Simon Schama, Germaine Greer, Salman Rushdie and Caitlin Moran are just some of the writers and thinkers lined up to take part in this year’s Hay Festival, which takes place 25th May – 5th June.
Also on the line-up are Sam Mendes, Maxine Peake, Michael Palin, Yanis Varoufakis and Mervyn King. Sarah Millican, Marcus Brigstocke and Dara Ó Briain will take part in comedy events, whilst Suzanne Vega, Billy Bragg, Laura Marling, K T Tunstall, Turin Brakes, and Baaba Maal will provide musical entertainment.
Shakespeare, who died 400 years ago, will be a key focus for the festival this year and Schama, James Shapiro, Germaine Greer, Gillian Clarke and others will discuss his impact. Hay will also mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes by launching a special event strand - Lunatics, Lovers and Poets – led by Rushdie, Kamila Shamsie, Valeria Luiselli and Juan Gabriel Vásquez.
From the world of stage and screen, director Sam Mendes will discuss film-making, Andrew Davies will talk about his TV adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and Jojo Moyes will preview the new film adaptation of Me Before You.
And from the political arena, former prime minister Gordon Brown, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King will all take part in discussing the issues of the day, including the EU referendum.
Peter Florence, director of the festival, said: “These are the writers and thinkers and entertainers who thrill us this year. These are the women and men who inform the debate about Europe, who are adventuring in new technologies, and who are broadening our minds; and here are the lovers of language who cheer the celebrations of William Shakespeare, the greatest writer who ever lived – the playwright who understood most about the human heart.”
The newly named children’s programme – Haydays – includes children’s writers Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Chris Riddell. The winner of The Bookseller’s YA Book Prize will also be announced at Hay on 2nd June.
The full programme is available on the Hay Festival website.