Hay Festival line-up revealed

Hay Festival line-up revealed

Neil Gaiman will pay tribute to the late Sir Terry Pratchett at this year’s Hay Festival.

Also appearing at this year’s festival are authors including Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Graham Swift, Irvine Welsh, Rose Tremain, Elif Shafak, Alexander McCall Smith, Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín and Marian Keyes.

Hay Festival, which is now in its 28th year, will include more than 700 events over the 11 days from Thursday 21st May to Sunday 31st May.

It will include a series of strands, including a series of special events looking at the Magna Carta 800 years after its signing, featuring speakers including Hay Festival president Stephen Fry, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates, and writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig.

There will also be events looking at religion, global affairs, and the UK today among others. There will be a range of events looking at key post-election issues, including Mary Portas reviewing the decline of the British high street, and Alex Salmond reflecting on Scottish independence.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “The festival comes a fortnight after the election. We don't have a manifesto; we have a thousand stories. We want to talk about a new beginning and dream about what the future might be, and be inspired to make those changes ourselves.”

Authors also appearing include Jessie Burton, who will speak about her award-winning debut The Miniaturist (Picador), while Polly Samson discusses her second novel The Kindness (Bloomsbury Circus), and Sarah Winman introduces A Year of Marvellous Ways (Tinder Press).

Helen Macdonald, author of the multi-award winning H is for Hawk (Jonathan Cape), will be among the authors reflecting on the continued renaissance of nature writing.


In the religion strand there will be events with Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who will reflect on the Church’s response to the sexual abuse scandal; Abdel Bari Atwan, author of Islamic State: the Digital Caliphate (Saqi Books) and the Palestinian editor of Rai al-Youm, offering a comprehensive view of IS and the group’s command of cyber space; and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, whose new book Not In God’s Name (Hodder & Stoughton) explores religious violence.

The festival’s children’s programme, Hay Fever, will include writers Jacqueline Wilson, Liz Pichon and Sarah J Maas, and there will be events to celebrate 150 years since the publication of Alice in Wonderland.

Nadifa Mohammed and Zukiswa Wanner represent Africa39, a Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club Project celebrating 39 of the best African south of the Sahara writers under 40.

Brenda Lozano, Daniel Saldaña París, and Laia Jufresa represent México20, a Hay project promoting new voices in Mexican literature as part of the Year of Mexico in the UK and the Year of the UK in Mexico, 2015 celebration.

The full line-up can be seen online.