Hay Festival in Mexico Led by Michael Ondaatje, Juan Manuel Santos

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In what organizers are calling ‘our most international lineup yet, the Hay Festival in Mexico will be coupled with days in Dallas and Monterrey.

Image – Hay Festival, Caledioscopio

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

Headliner: Nobel Peace Laureate Juan Manuel Santos
The 14th Hay Festival at Querétaro is again to be set in several venues around the World Heritage city, opening on September 5 and running through the 8th.

As is the case in most of the Hay’s network of international festivals—and its flagship show in Wales—the Mexican program will mix literary and current events for a mix of topical as well as aesthetic offerings.

In a prepared statement, Cristina Fuentes, who directs the international program, says the program combines “the best of Mexico’s literary talent with the world’s greatest writers and thinkers in tackling the biggest questions of our time.

“With our most international lineup yet and satellite events in Dallas and Monterrey, this year’s festival will showcase the unique power of art to cross borders and bridge global divides. It’ll be a party, too, with chart-topping musicians from around the world taking over the city for late night revelry.”

Among the issue-driven events:

  • The former president of Colombia and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Juan Manuel Santos presents his new book La batalla por la paz
  • Pablo Ordaz and Jon Lee Anderson discuss nationalism in the 21st century
  • Ben Rhodes, the former advisor to Barack Obama, talks about American politics
  • María Fernanda Ampuero, Gabriela Jauregui, Lina Meruane and Isabel Zapatgender debate equality and the global #metoo movement
  • Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón describes his career in human rights
  • Palestinian activist Izzeldine Abuelaish discusses conflict resolution

In addition, Sarah Churchwell will discuss her book Behold America:  The Entangled History of “America First” and “the American Dream” (Hachette/Basic Books, October 2018) in the Eccles Centre and Hay Festival Writer’s Award platform event. (Submissions for the 2020 award are now open, offering two winners £20,000—US$25,063—for a current writing project exploring the Americas. You can find information here.)

In literary events, international speakers include:

  • Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Michael Ondaajte
  • Maltese-American cartoonist Joe Sacco
  • Chilean writers Lina Meruane and Alejandra Costamagna
  • Peruvian novelist Karina Pacheco
  • Canadian author Katherena Vermette,
  • Spanish poet Eva Baltasar
  • Colombian writer Santiago Gamboa
  • Ecuadorian writer and journalist María Fernando Ampuero
  • Italian thriller writer Sandrone Dazieri
  • British author Rhidan Brook

Mexican authors slated to present and discuss their work include:

  • Antonio Ortuño,
  • Yuri Herrera
  • Luis Felipe Fabre
  • Vivian Abenshushan
  • Isabel Zapata
  • Élmer Mendoza
  • Luis Jorge Boone
  • Yael Weiss
  • Rosa Beltrán
  • Eduardo Rabasa
  • Carlos V Velásquez
  • Gabriela Jauregui
  • Bernardo Esquinca
  • Elvira Liceaga
  • Alberto Chimal
  • Jorge Comensal

In addition, Yásnaya Elena Aguilar discusses her work on indigenous languages.

The festival will also again collaborate with collaboration with Wom@rts for appearances from documentary maker Kate Horne, journalist and Booker Foundation literary director Gaby Wood, as well as editor Paula Canal.

In Mexican politics:

  • Mexico’s new government is appraised by journalists led by Julio Hernández
  • Mexican politician Tatiana Clouthier shares her campaign diary
  • Julio Patán and Alejandro Rosas present their Mexico Bizarro II
  • Daniela Rea and Pablo Ferri look at the Mexican army in La tropa
  • Directors Diego Luna and Diego Rabasa join activist Brenda Rangel to discuss the tragedy of the more than 30,000 missing people of Mexico’s drug wars

Full programming information and tickets are available here.

On September 5 to 10, the festival will also have events in Monterrey, and then will restage its Texan weekend, Hay Forum Dallas, September 7 and 8 in collaboration with The Wild Detectives, featuring U-God, Luis Felipe Fabre, Jon Lee Anderson and guests. Find out more here.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Hay Festival and its events is here.

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 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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