Hay Festival reveals earlybird events by Mantel, Smith and Hirsch

Hay Festival reveals earlybird events by Mantel, Smith and Hirsch

Hay Festival has announced eight “earlybird” events for next year’s activism and climate crisis-themed event, including talks by Hilary Mantel, Ali Smith and Afua Hirsch.

The festival will run from 21st to 31st May next year, with the full programme to be announced in the spring. However, details of several high-profile events from the schedule have now been released.

Mantel will discuss her long-awaited new book The Mirror and the Light (Fourthh Estate), while Smith will preview her final seasonal novel Summer (Hamish Hamilton). Also on the schedule, US journalist Gloria Steinem will discuss The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off! (Murdoch) with Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates, while journalist Afua Hirsch delivers the 2020 Christopher Hitchens Lecture and Jung Chang presents Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister (Jonathan Cape).

Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour will bring nine nature-themed performances to take place in a new theatre space on site, including "A Midsummer Night’s Dream", "As You Like It", "The Tempest" and special “audience choice” slots. 

There will also be music from Malian duo Amadou & Mariam, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and New Zealand folk singer-songwriter Aldous Harding, along with an all-star Hay Festival Foundation gala. 

Tickets are on sale now to Friends of Hay Festival online or via 01497 822 629. Public booking opens on 12th December. 

Festival director Peter Florence said: “This is a taste of where we’re adventuring in May. It’s a delight to offer our Haymakers a promise of joy in the springtime—and we’ll make sure the tickets get to you for Christmas.”