De Waal and Day headline in-person Hay Festival Winter Weekend

De Waal and Day headline in-person Hay Festival Winter Weekend

Lauren Child, Elizabeth Day, Kit de Waal and Siri Hustvedt are some of the authors headlining the Hay Festival Winter Weekend programme at its new venue, the organisation's first in-person events for two years. 

Running in Wales from 24th to 28th November, the event will also have a strong digital presence. The event will run in the new Hay-on-Wye festival site across different locations with public booking open from 2nd October. 

As well as Child, Day, de Waal (pictured) and Hustvedt, the bill features Jeanette Winterson, Matt Haig, Sarah Moss, Sarah Hall, Onjali Q Raúf and the soon to be crowned winner of the Booker Prize. They are joined by actress Miriam Margoyles, Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell, adventurer and presenter Bear Grylls as well as broadcasters Anita Rani, Clare Balding, Fi Glover and Jane Garvey along with theatre director David Hare among others. 

“The Hay Festival Winter Weekend returns with an ambitious programme for its first ticketed, in-person events in the UK for two years, bringing writers and readers together with a programme to inspire, examine and entertain," organisers said. "Over five days, more than 80 acclaimed writers and performers will take part, launching the best new fiction and non-fiction, interrogating some of the biggest issues of our time, and spreading joy with conversations, candle-lit storytelling, comedy, music and family workshops. In-person events take place in a new festival site in the centre of Hay-on-Wye against the stunning backdrop of the Brecon Beacons.”  

With the Wales Stage located on the Cae Mawr field and the Baillie Gifford stage in the neighbouring Hay Primary School, the new site also includes a festival bookshop featuring in-person signings, along with a food and drink court and exhibitors. Events will also take place around the town more widely, in the parish hall, St Mary’s Church and the cheese market. 

An online programme of live streamed sessions and digital exclusives will “amplify the in-person events further, embracing the festival’s new global audience", organisers said.

Hay Festival international director Cristina Fuentes la Roche said: “We’re back for our first in-person events in the UK in two years with Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2021, a festival of inspiration and optimism to entertain curious minds of all ages. With an ambitious programme filling an innovative new site, it marks both a return to celebrate and a fresh start. Join us in a safe space to imagine the world anew and share the closing days of 2021 with music, laughter and friends.”  

Winterson commented: “It’s the time of year we need some internal sunshine and that’s what this is. It’s a place where there’s light and there’s warmth and a lot of fun.” 

To ensure the safety of audiences, artists and staff in the light of Covid-19, organisers said they will have several new procedures in place in line with guidance from the Welsh government, with detailed information available. For more general information, visit