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First Hay Festival Digital Programme Unveiled


Events for the first Hay Festival Digital have been revealed, bringing writers and readers together 18-31 May 2020 in free live broadcasts and interactive Q&As.

Hay Festival Digital sees more than 100 award-winning writers, global policy makers, historians, pioneers and innovators take part, celebrating the best new fiction and non-fiction, and interrogating some of the biggest issues of our time, from Covid-19 and world health, to the climate crisis and our future, under the theme of #ImagineTheWorld.

Live sessions will be streamed via Crowdcast, offering registered users the opportunity to interactive with fellow audience members and pose their questions to speakers.

Festivalgoers can explore the full programme and register to take part at

What would have been the Hay Festival Programme for Schools will also take place online, kicking things off with five days of storytelling and live performances for KS 2, 3 and 4 pupils learning at home, 18-22 May at Digital activities to inspire and entertain families will also run throughout the Festival.

Hay Festival Digital is supported by principal sponsor Baillie Gifford and principal global partner the Welsh Government, while the Programme for Schools is also sponsored by the Welsh Government.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said:

“Our Haymakers and partners have given us this fresh opportunity to celebrate the stories and ideas that we love. We’ll be zinging the programme as if from a green field in Wales and welcoming readers from around the world into a digital party. So, let us, ciphers to this great accompt, on your imaginary forces work…”

Michelle McLeod, sponsorship manager at Baillie Gifford, said:

“The festival has done fantastic work to bring the digital festival together, and we are excited for the launch later this month. As one of the world’s leading festivals of ideas, Hay Festival’s digital events will be a valuable and sustainable addition that allows the festival to continue bringing readers and writers together during this challenging time. Audiences can take part in a diverse range of events that will inspire, inform and entertain people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s also a great opportunity to give back to the many people and organisations that have continued to support the festival whilst showcasing the fantastic literary works of so many incredible writers, thinkers and entertainers.”

Welsh Government Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan, said:

“Wales’ summer events will of course be greatly missed this year, but we are delighted to support the Hay Festival’s innovative programme of events – which means that we can still get a little bit of Hay direct to our homes this year. Hay Festival’s global programme of events is vital to Wales’ reputation for high quality, internationally recognised major events and festivals – as well as being a showcase for Welsh talent. This year’s digital event will also secure further opportunities to reach a wider target audience.”

Business News Wales