Hay Festival Opens Early Bird Access to Public for 2018 Events in Wales

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Margaret Atwood, Philip Pullman, Bridget Christie and those surprise ‘Letters Live’ performers are among personalities set for the Hay Festival 31st season special events in Wales, with early bird tickets going on sale to the public today (January 16).

A reader at the 2017 Hay Festival gets into some timely reading by Matthew D’Ancona from Ebury Press. Image: Hay Festival, Sam J. Peat

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Stories That Bind Us Together’

Today (January 16), the annual Hay Festival in Wales—May 24 through June 3—is opening to the public a group of seven “early bird events” for purchase. Donors to the Friends of Hay Festival program have had first buying opportunities since Friday (January 12).

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

These special events, most scheduled for June 2, are:

  • May 26: Neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow and theologian Rowan Williams on the question “What is consciousness?”
  • May 28: Margaret Atwood on The Handmaid’s Tale with Hay director Peter Florence
  • May 28: The West African women’s musical ensemble Les Amazones d’Afrique in concert
  • June 2: Writer Sarah Churchwell in the 2018 Raymond Williams Lecture, “Behold America”
  • June 2: Folklorist Jack Zipes with novelists Philip Pullman and Marina Warner on “Tales of Wonder, Magic, Resistance, and Hope”
  • June 2: Letters Live 2018 from Canongate in its fifth Hay turn, with a cast to be announced on the day
  • June 2: Comedian Bridget Christie in “Stand Up: What Now?”

Single ticket prices for these events range between £10 and £15 (US$13.80 to $20.70), and you can peruse the offerings here. The Hay Festival plans to release more programming and event details this coming spring.

Peter Florence

In a prepared statement on the release of the early bird event tickets, Hay Festival’s founding director Peter Florence is quoted, saying, “2018 marks the centenary of the Great War armistice and the 50th anniversary of May ‘68.

“The contemporary mood is one of disappointment, divisiveness and disagreement.

“The festival will explore all these contexts and will seek to amplify the ideas and stories that bind us together, that make us stronger, and that enable us to understand and encourage and celebrate each other.”

Last year’s festival program featured authors including Stephen Fry, Jeanette Winterson, and Elif Shafak.

Colombia’s Hay Festival Later in January

At Hay Festival 2017. Image: Hay Festival, Sam J. Peat

Organizers in their material for the press point out that while the Wales Hay is months away, festival events in the wider international program are in play now.

Daniel Morden

“Next week, Hay Festival Scribblers Tour takes writers to schools across Wales in free events featuring YA star and 2017 Creative Wales Hay Festival International Fellow Jenny Valentine; award-winning Welsh author and storyteller Daniel Morden; poet, author and playwright Eric Ngalle Charles; former teacher and RSE speaker with Straight Talkers Amy Forbes-Robertson; broadcaster and teen ambassador Gemma Cairney; and Steven Camden aka Polarbear, one of the UK’s most acclaimed spoken-word artists.”

The international series of Hay events opens on January 25 when  Hay Festival Cartagena opens its three-day run with some 150 literary and current-events personalities for the series’ 13th iteration in Colombia.

A wide array of venues is to include, per press information, “Cartagena de Indias, Medellín, Riohacha, Bogota, Manizales, San Andrés, Buenaventura, Santa Marta and 11 principalities of Bolívar.”

Dates in the 2018 International Hay Network of  Festivals
  • Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (January 25 to 28)
  • Wales, UK (May 24 to June 3)
  • Querétaro, Mexico (September 6 to 9)
  • Segovia, Spain (September 20 to 23)
  • Arequipa, Peru (November 8 to 11)
  • Wales Winter Weekend, UK (November 22 to 25)

Below, a video from the work of Les Amazones d’Afrique, “I Play the Kora”

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.