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Hay Festival Digital Winter Weekend Brings Writers Together this November


Hay Festival Digital Winter Weekend brings writers and readers together 26-29 November 2020 in a free digital wonderland of thoughtful conversation, candle-lit storytelling, comedy, music, and family fun.

Now in its 21st year, the Festival will be streamed live from Hay-on-Wye, kicking off the holiday season from “the town of books” in all its festive glory with a star-studded line-up of speakers and performers.

Added sparkle over the weekend will come from a digital edition of the town’s annual Christmas Lights switch-on, as a special Festival guest flips the switch on Friday 27 November, accompanied by carol singing and Christmas tales recorded in and around the town’s independent bookshops.

While the full line-up will be unveiled in late October, recent Festival speakers have included writers Bernardine Evaristo, Matt Haig, Mererid Hopwood, and Horatio Clare; campaigners and journalists James O’Brien, Afua Hirsch, Malala, Helena Kennedy and Gina Miller; comedians Matt Lucas, Russell Kane and Shazia Mirza; artist Jackie Morris; and broadcasters Monty Don, Cerys Matthews, Kate Humble and the “Queen of Shops” Mary Portas.

The Festival will also once again draw on public nominations to crown the Hay Festival Book of the Year 2020, following previous wins for Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five in 2019, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s Inventing Ourselves in 2018 and The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane in 2017.

Novelist and Festival regular Jeanette Winterson said: “It’s the time of year we need some internal sunshine and that’s what this is. It’s a place where there’s light and there’s warmth and a lot of fun.”

Hay Festival Digital Winter Weekend is supported by the Festival’s lead sponsors Visit Wales and Baillie Gifford and builds on the success of recent digital Hay Festival editions in the UK, Mexico and Croatia, following the year’s earlier iterations in the UAE, Colombia and Spain.

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Sessions in Spanish and English can be rediscovered anywhere in the world on Hay Player, a subscription service offering the world’s greatest writers on film and audio for £10/€10 per year.