Mexico’s Hay Festival Makes Another Move, This Year to Querétaro

In News by Adam Critchley

This year’s Mexican edition of the festival that started life in a Welsh valley takes place in the picturesque colonial-era city of Querétaro.

1000 hay-festival-querétaro-2016

By Adam Critchley

‘A Festival of Ideas’
The Mexican edition of the Hay Festival of literature and the arts will this year be held, September 1 to 4, in the central city of Querétaro. This, after it was moved to Mexico City in 2015 from its original venue of Xalapa.

That move from Xalapa was made to protest the rising number of murders and disappearances of journalists in the state of Veracruz, of which Xalapa is the capital. Since 2005, 24 journalists and photographers have been reported murdered in the coastal state on the Gulf of Mexico.

Jean Marie Gustave Le Clézio

Jean Marie Gustave Le Clézio

This year’s event is scheduled to include the participation of 2008 Nobel laureate in literature Jean Marie Gustave Le Clézio.

France’s Le Clézio is no stranger to Mexico. He served part of his military conscription in the country in the late 1960s after he’d been expelled from Thailand for protesting child prostitution.

Carmen Boullosa

Carmen Boullosa

Le Clézio will participate in a talk with Mexican novelist Carmen Boullosa, in an homage to Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Peruvian writer Inca Garcilaso as part of this year’s festivities to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the three writers’ deaths.

In addition, the lineup features Ahmed Ben Tahar Galai, Vice President of the Tunisian Human Rights League, which is part of the Tunisian Dialogue Quartet that collectively won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

Since 1976, the Human Rights League has sought to promote a free and transparent democracy in Tunisia, in alignment with the intent of the so-called Jasmine Revolution of 2010 and 2011.

Philippe Sands

Philippe Sands

Tahar Galai will speak about immigration and is to be accompanied by Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo and Franco-British lawyer Philippe Sands.

Sands is the author of East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Knopf, May) will discuss the Middle East and emergence of the Islamic State.

Also participating in Querétaro will be The Netherlands’ Cees Nooteboom; Mexico’s Margo Glantz; Brazilian writer Nélida Piñón, winner of the 2005 Prince of Asturias Prize; and Argentine novelist Edgardo Cozarinsky.

Hay Festival Querétaro is to be set in various venues of Querétaro.

The Hay group of festivals, begun in Hay-on-Wye in Wales and held there annually, also has editions ahead in:

  • Segovia, September 22-26;
  • Arequipa, Peru, December 8-11;
  • Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, January 26-29;
  • Kells, Ireland, June 22-25, 2017.

For more on the philosophy of the Hay network of festivals, here’s festival founder Peter Florence in a video.

About the Author

Adam Critchley

Adam Critchley is a Mexico-based freelance writer and translator. His articles have been published in Latin American Literature Today, Brando, Forbes, GQ, Gatopardo, Publishers Weekly, Travesías and Vinísfera, among other publications, and his short stories have appeared in The Brooklyn Review, El Puro Cuento and Storyteller-UK. His translations include a series of children's books based on indigenous Mexican folk tales. He can be contacted at