Hay Festival 2021
Written by Sabeehah Saleq
Are you ready for Hay Festival 2021? This fantastic annual literary festival, which spans ten fun-packed days, successfully brings together readers and writers to celebrate literature. This year’s Hay Festival, which runs from 26 May to 6 June, will take place digitally and promises to deliver exciting events spotlighting over 200 amazing guests, live from Hay-On-Wye.
While the festival is running digitally this year, local bookstores in Hay-On-Wye welcome you to visit, while following government guidelines. If you do happen to be in town, Hay Festival is providing a WiFi network which will allow you to stream free events without using your data.
If you’re participating from home, you can attend events through the Hay Festival website for free, with the option for subtitles. This festival has something for everyone; browse these events and you’re sure to find some that you’ll love!
Opening Gala: A Night of Hope
26 May, 8:00–9.30 p.m.
This opening event will kickstart the literary festivities and features a stunning list of performers such as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, Stephen Fry, Romola Garai, Richard Eyre, Hafsa Zayyan, Hollie McNish, Sindhu Vee and so many more! These guests will discuss their favourite poems, speeches, books and plays from this past year. To celebrate the opening night of the Hay Festival 2021, register here.
Jojo Moyes talks to Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Power of Reading For Pleasure
27 May, 2pm–2.50 p.m.
The Quick Reads initiative was launched in the UK and Ireland, where leading publishers, bookshops, libraries and government departments collaborated to create short books by bestselling authors. The purpose of this was to encourage adults to read more and find solace in books. An important contribution to the book world, Quick Reads have been used in hospitals, stroke recovery units, prisons, dyslexia centres, army bases and organisations working with the homeless.
To mark the 15th anniversary of the initiative, this event brings together acclaimed authors Jojo Moyes and Oyinkan Braithwaite to highlight the transformative power of reading and the impact that reading for pleasure has on our lives. Be sure to register for this event here.
The Dylan Thomas Prizewinner talks to Bryan Washington
The 2021 Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize
27 May, 4–4.50 p.m.
The Dylan Thomas Prize is an annual prize for young writers that brings them international recognition as well as a remuneration of £30,000. Last year’s prize was awarded to bestselling young author Bryan Washington for his debut short story collection Lot.
For this event, Bryan Washington will be in conversation with the 2021 recipient of the Dylan Thomas Prize, who is yet to be announced. To be a part of this exciting event, register here.
Hafsa Zayyan and Rivers Solomon talk to Sameer Rahim
We Are All Birds of Uganda and Sorrowland
28 May, 3 :00–3.50 p.m.
Hafsa Zayyan, author of We Are All Bird of Uganda joins with Rivers Solomon, author of Sorrowland, in this insightful online event! The critically acclaimed authors will discuss their ground-breaking novels, which explore the roots of racism across the globe. The writers will be joined by Sameer Rahim. You definitely don’t want to miss this, register here.
Caitlin Moran, Joeli Brearley and Pragya Agarwal talk to Laura Bates
28 May, 7pm–7.50 p.m.
This event will deliver insight into societal attitudes towards women and motherhood. This discussion will be held by Laura Bates, founder of the The Everyday Sexism Project. Guests will include Caitlin Moran, author of More Than a Woman, with Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, as well as Pragya Agarwal, author of Motherhood. To be part of the conversation, register here.
WIZARD IN THE WOODS
29 May, 10–10.30 a.m.
Join Cressida Cowell on location at Kingley Vale Woodland as she discusses Never and Forever, the final instalment in her Wizard of Once series. The Children’s Laureate will delve into how the magic of trees and woodland have inspired her work, followed by a live Q&A. Take part by registering here.
Graham Norton Book Club with Marian Keyes and Richard Osman
30 May, 7:00–7.50 p.m.
To celebrate the launch of his new podcast, Graham Norton Book Club, join the acclaimed and widely loved comedian and broadcaster Graham Norton in conversation with Marian Keyes and Richard Osman. Don’t miss it: register here.
Sarah Crossan and the winner Alice Oseman
The Bookseller YA Book Prize
1 June, 11:00–11.30 p.m.
Join Alice Oseman, winner of the 2021 YA Book Prize to discuss her winning book Loveless. The author will be joined in conversation by former Irish Children’s Laureate Sarah Crossan. Register for this fantastic event here.
The full digital programme is available here. We hope you enjoy the festival!