Wales’ Hay Festival 2022: A Program of More than 500 Speakers

In News by Porter Anderson

Back with an in-person lineup—and without Peter Florence—the 35th iteration of the venerable public-facing festival has tickets on sale now.

Image: Still from the Hay Festival’s 2022 promotional trailer, embedded below

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

Awards Include Hay Festival Medals
More than 500 in-person events are planned for the 2022 Hay Festival, running May 26 to June 5.

The annual public-facing program based in literature and nearby arts and disciplines has opened 35th-anniversary sales as of Friday (April 8) at this site.

Returning for its first in-person spring event since 2019, the Hay Festival also is staging its first festival without its co-founding director Peter Florence, who left the company, following his alleged involvement in bullying charges.

In-person appearances are said to be planned with personalities including:

  • Svetlana Alexievich
  • Abdulrazak Gurnah
  • Stephen Fry
  • Nicola Sturgeon
  • Minnie Driver
  • Monica Ali
  • Damon Galgut
  • Ben Okri
  • Bernardine Evaristo
  • Bill Bailey,
  • Bryn Terfel
  • Serhii Plokhy
  • Caryl Lewis
  • Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Áine Ní Ghlinn
  • Alice Roberts
  • Amy Liptrot
  • Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
  • Cressida Cowell
  • David Baddiel
  • David Harewood
  • David Olusoga
  • David Spiegelhalter
  • Ed Balls
  • Edmund de Waal
  • Elif Shafak
  • Fi Glover and Jane Garvey
  • George Monbiot
  • Gillian Clarke,
  • Ian Rankin
  • Inua Ellams
  • Jacqueline Wilson
  • Jay Blades
  • Jarvis Cocker
  • Jenny Packham
  • Joe Wicks
  • Julian Barnes
  • Lady Hale
  • Lemn Sissay
  • Lenny Henry
  • Lyse Doucet
  • Mariana Mazzucato
  • Mieko Kawakami
  • Oliver Bullough
  • PJ Harvey
  • Reginald D Hunter
  • Sheila Hancock
  • Simon Amstell
  • Zelda Perkins
  • Benedict Cumberbatch

This year, the festival is describing itself as “the world’s leading festival of ideas,” featuring “writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators.”

In a prepared statement, the Hay’s international director Cristina Fuentes La Roche is quoted calling Hay-0n-Wye “our book town,” and promising “a vibrant program to imagine the world anew.

“It’s been 35 years since writers and readers started sharing their stories together in our festival tents and we have never needed these stories more urgently,” she says.

“During the day, our conversations and debates will tackle some of the biggest issues of the moment, and in the evenings we’ll laugh and dance together again.”

Dawn Bowden, Wales’ deputy minister for arts and sport, says, “It’s such excellent news that we are now seeing a return to in-person events.

“Hay Festival’s global program is unlike any other in the way that it focuses on some of the biggest topics affecting the world today.

“While it showcases Welsh talent to the world, the new hybrid format has also afforded more contributions from the best international talent than ever before.

“I’m delighted that we can continue with our sponsorship of The Wales Stage / Llwyfan Cymru, which has hosted hundreds of events over the last two years. Although we haven’t been able to welcome international visitors to Wales to enjoy Hay Festival itself, we’ve succeeded in showcasing Wales to international audiences.

“We look forward to welcoming our audiences back.”

Hay Festival 2022 is supported by lead sponsors Baillie Gifford and Visit Wales. The free Program for Schools and the Beacons Project are supported by the Welsh government.

Events will take place at the main Dairy Meadows site, in St Mary’s Church in Hay, and in a new festival theater on the grounds of the recently restored Hay Castle.

The Festival site is free to enter, with a range of pop-ups to explore, including the Festival Bookshop, “Hay Days” courtyard, Make and Take Tent, and a host of exhibitors, market stalls, cafés, and restaurants.

Major anniversaries and new festival projects are marked throughout the program. Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee will be “explored,” per media messaging, “with a series of conversations on women and power.

A new stage marks the BBC’s return to the festival, bringing program and podcasts to the festival site in free events, while additional media partners TikTok, Sky Arts, Prospect, Country & Town House, Juno, Suitcase and The TLS contribute to programming here and around the festival site.

Awards, Too, Of Course

Winners of the “Hay Festival Medals 2022” are to be observed onstage. Awarded annually since 2012 when London hosted the Olympics, the medals draw inspiration from the original Olympic medal given for poetry. Past winners include Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, George Monbiot, John le Carré, Laura Marling, Emerald Fennell, and Ahdaf Soueif.

Fundraising on site will take place throughout the Festival in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal via the Cup Return recycling points along with proceeds from a special section of the Festival bookshop dedicated to Ukrainian literature.

Partnerships with Adult Learning Wales, Strong Young Minds, The National Literacy Trust, Head4Arts and The Family Place will make this one of the most accessible Festival editions yet with targeted projects to attract harder-to-reach communities, while a plethora of new sustainability measures will help to tack the environmental impacts of running a festival.

A curated selection of Festival sessions will be streamed live online throughout this year’s event with digital passes on sale in May.

Here’s the new trailer.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 71st awards-related report published in the 71 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


 More from Publishing Perspectives on the Hay Festival is here, more on Peter Florence is here, and more on the world publishing industry’s book fairs, festivals, and other events is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

Facebook Twitter Google+

Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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 (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.