Rosen, Cowell and Baddiel join Hay Festival schools programme

Rosen, Cowell and Baddiel join Hay Festival schools programme

Michael Rosen, Cressida Cowell and David Baddiel are among the children’s writers taking part in Hay Festival’s 2019 schools programme. 

Mixing storytelling, live performances, and workshops, the two specially curated days, Thursday 23rd May (KS 2) and Friday 24th May (KS 3 and 4), are free for state schools and funded by the Welsh government and Hay Festival Foundation. Last year’s Programme for Schools saw 8,570 pupils attend from primary and secondary schools across England and Wales.

Hay Festival today unveiled its 2019 Programme for Schools, featuring children’s favourites Rosen, Cowell, Kate DiCamillo, Chris Bradford, Abi Elphinstone, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Candy Gourlay and Chitra Soundar; stars of YA fiction Sarah Crossan, Holly Bourne, Marcus Sedgwick, Yaba Badoe and Caroline Lawrence; comedians Baddiel, Mae Martin and Harry Hill; Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan; master cartoonist Gary Northfield; scientist Steve Mould; historian and broadcaster Amy Lamé, and journalism workshops from the NewsWise team.

Booking applications open today (Monday 4th March) and close Monday 30th April. Find out more at

Hay Festival has also partnered TES to launch a new public engagement campaign: #BooksToInspire. Championing the importance of reading for pleasure, and spotlighting the critical role books play in a young person’s development, the campaign seeks to create reading lists that will inspire the next generation.

The reading lists – one for primary schools, another for secondary schools – will comprise 32 books each, to mark the festival’s 32nd year, drawn from public nominations at with prizes to be won. All genres, fiction or non-fiction, old or new, are welcome for submission, with the final selections revealed in May and amplified through festival partners.

Hay Festival education manager Aine Venables said: “We are delighted to announce the 2019 Hay Festival Programme for Schools and celebrate the role literature plays in inspiring the next generation of world-changers with #BooksToInspire. Our programme for 2019 includes a stellar line-up of speakers offering a diverse range of events for pupils in Key Stages 2, 3 and 4. Opening access to inspiring opportunities for young people is a core part of our mission, here and around the world, and we can’t wait to throw our doors open for these free sessions.”

On Thursday 23rd May, the programme includes award-winning fiction, adventure, science, and sessions on spotting fake news. Award-winning writer and illustrator Cowell will talk about her How to Train Your Dragon series, giving a sneak peak of her latest book: The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic (Hodder Children's). On Friday 24th May the programme offers a sneak peek at the latest YA releases, comedy, history and a journalism masterclass. Comedian and author Baddiel brings his classroom drama, Head Kid (HarperCollins Children's), to the stage and Rosen talks about his career as one of Britain’s best-loved writers.