Hay Festival Winter Weekend is back bringing writers and readers together for a year-end wonderland of in-person events, 24-27 November, in multiple venues across Hay-on-Wye, Wales.
Explore the full programme out now at hayfestival.org/winter-weekend with priority booking open to Friends of Hay Festival. General booking opens at 9am this Friday 30 September.
Over four days, more than 70 acclaimed writers and performers take part in 45 events, launching the best new fiction and non-fiction, engaging with some of the biggest issues of our time, and spreading festive joy with conversations, candle-lit storytelling, film screenings, comedy, music and workshops.
Now in its 23rd year, the Festival’s in-person events will take place in Hay Castle’s Great Hall and Clore Learning Space, alongside spaces throughout the booktown of Hay-on-Wye, including St Mary’s Church, The Poetry Bookshop and Richard Booth’s Bookshop Cinema. More intimate than the spring edition, Hay Festival Winter Weekend sees the Welsh booktown’s independent shops, cafés and attractions offer a warm welcome to Festivalgoers within the stunning surrounds of the Brecon Beacons.
For audiences unable to attend in person, events will be livestreamed at hayfestival.org/winter-weekend with Online Festival Passes on sale now. Meanwhile, all events will be available on the Festival’s Hay Player video platform afterwards at hayfestival.org/hayplayer.
Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch said:
“Hay Festival Winter Weekend marks the season’s change and year’s end with a celebration of community, bold visions and hope. Writers, readers and performers will gather in venues across our booktown to share their stories and imagine the world anew. Join us in-person and online as we pass the closing days of 2022 with conversation, laughter, music and friendship.”
Hay Festival Winter Weekend is supported by lead sponsors Visit Wales and Baillie Gifford.
PROGRAMME IN DEPTH
Inspiring life stories lead the programme as brothers Manni and Reuben Coe share their memoir of hope, resilience and repair, brother.do.you.love.me, in conversation with actor Sally Phillips; climber Leo Houlding presents his memoir Closer to the Edge: Climbing to the Ends of the Earth with the first Welsh woman to climb Mount Everest, Tori James; Stemettes founder Anne-Marie Imafidon talks She's in CTRL: How Women Can Take Back Tech; Sali Hughes presents Everything is Washable* and Other Life Lessons and bookseller Shaun Bythell talks Remainders of the Day: More Diaries from The Bookshop, Wigtown.
Great storytellers take centre-stage with new work as classicist Natalie Haynes shares Stone Blind; Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez talks Retrospective; Kamila Shamsie talks Best of Friends; Charlotte Williams presents her autobiographical novel Sugar and Slate; and Carlos Fonseca discusses his contribution to Untold Microcosms, a Hay Festival project that sees 10 Latin American writers create new work inspired by objects inside the British Museum’s stored collections.
Poetry weaves its rhythms through the Festival as Yomi Sode presents Manorism; Olivia Harrison offers Came the Lightening: Twenty Poems for George; and 50 years since Dylan Thomas released A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Hay Festival international fellow Hanan Issa offers a contemporary response, while discussing her new role as National Poet of Wales.
Music rings out from St Mary’s Church all weekend as Father Richard Williams opens the Festival with a performance of the 1922 horror classic Nosferatu; Welsh harpist Anne Denholm plays a one-off festive set; and Hay Community Choir and Hay Shantymen perform. There’s laughter, too, with stand-up from Mike Wozniak, comedian Richard Herring on his memoir Can I Have My Ball Back?, and a Festive Quiz to close the weekend’s events.
To commemorate the incredible life of former Hay Festival chair and filmmaker Revel Guest, a special screening of her film War Horse will take place at Richard Booth’s Bookshop Cinema, introduced by children’s writer Michael Morpurgo.
The past is reimagined as human rights lawyer Philippe Sands offers The Last Colony; Alison Weir talks Queens of the Age of Chivalry: England's Medieval Queens; one hundred years since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Garry J Shaw presents The Story of Tutankhamun: An Intimate Life of the Boy who Became King; Herefordshire historian Heather Hurley talks Horse-drawn Tramways of the Wye Valley; and the death of The Queen is marked in a special event as Robert Hardman talks Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II.
Hay-on-Earth events explore the latest in climate science and debate while celebrating the natural world around us. CEO of Compassion in World Farming Philip Lymbery presents Sixty Harvests Left, writer Katherine Rundell offers The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure, Andrew Simms and Anita Roy talk Contagious Tales; and campaigner Guy Shrubsole talks The Lost Rainforests of Britain.
Global affairs are drawn into focus as a Saturday morning panel of Festival guests review the weekend papers, reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to 2023; meanwhile investigative reporters Luke Harding and Oliver Bullough talk Russia and Ukraine; and former Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable talks How to be a Politician: 2000 Years of Good (and Bad) Advice.
Interactive events for families and young people through the weekend include author and illustrator Rob Biddulph on An Odd Dog Christmas, along with a series of special workshops at Hay Castle.
Food writer Angela Clutton shares culinary insights and inspiration with Borough Market: The Knowledge, while the town’s cafes and restaurants open late to offer seasonal delights.
Extra sparkle to live events comes from the town’s Market Square as a special guest turns on the town’s Christmas lights, Friday 25 November, in what has become an annual Winter Weekend highlight.
After a transformative 12 months at Hay Festival HQ in which new CEO Julie Finch was welcomed, the transition into a fully-fledged charity completed, and an ambitious expansion of education and outreach work across Wales and the wider world began, organisers invite the public to share their visions for the Festival’s future in an open forum event to open Hay Festival Winter Weekend.
Hay Festival will also draw on public nominations to crown the Hay Festival Book of the Year following past wins for Deborah Levy’s Real Estate (2021), Dara McAnulty’s Diary of a Young Naturalist (2020), Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five (2019), Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s Inventing Ourselves (2018) and Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane’s The Lost Words (2017). Nominations are open at hayfestival.org/book-of-the-year with a prize draw to win a stack of the year’s best books.