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Hay Festival unveils free schools programme 2024

Hay Festival Global has announced the free schools programme to open the spring edition in Hay-on-Wye, which takes place 23 May-2 June 2024.

The schools programme brings together writers and young readers for a series of inspiring interactive activities and conversations in person and online with support from the Welsh Government and the Rothschild Foundation. 

KS2 events on Thursday 23 May include writers Maz Evans, Katie & Kevin Tsang, Connor Allen, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, MG Leonard, Kiran Millwood- Hargrave, Lee Newbery, Jeff Kinney, Matt Goodfellow, Adam Rutherford, Tọlá Okogwu and Children’s Laureate Wales 2023-2025 Alex Wharton.

KS3/4 events on Friday 24 May feature writers Alex Wheatle, Jenny Valentine, Sarah Crossan, Phil Earle, Aneirin Karadog, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Nicola Garrard, AM Dassu, Anthony Horowitz, Daniel Morden, Frances Hardinge and Manon Steffan Ros. Plus, a live recording of BBC Radio 4’s Front Row will spotlight the power of literature in front of an audience of pupils.

For those who can’t access the free events in person, sessions will also be streamed free online, with closed captioning available in Welsh and English at hayfestival.org/schools, and available free after the event on Hay Festival Anytime at hayfestival.org/anytime (formerly Hay Player).

Last year’s schools programme at Hay Festival 2023 saw more than 7,500 pupils attend from across England and Wales, while digital events over the past three years have reached more than 146,400 pupils through free events online.

Julie Finch, Hay Festival CEO, said:

“Ahead of our main programme launch next month, we are delighted to share the line-up for our free Hay Festival schools programme in Hay-on-Wye this spring. As a charity, we are committed to broadening cultural accessibility and boosting reading for pleasure through dynamic, interactive events and year-round projects. Our schools programme is an annual highlight and we cannot wait to welcome thousands of young people, in-person and online, to join us for these days of inspiration and hope, creating a space where imaginations are free to roam. Join us.”

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The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said:

“I’m pleased to see Hay Festival’s schools programme inspiring children and young people again this spring. The free in-person and online events are led by authors and poets, and allow young people to explore and enjoy creative writing and reading. I hope this programme ignites their imagination.”

Hay Festival, one of the world’s leading cultural charities, was founded in Hay-on-Wye, Wales in 1987, providing audiences with dynamic platforms to come together to share ideas and different perspectives, provoking conversations that can create a better world. Working collaboratively with partners and communities across the world, the charity is a catalyst for change, whose bold, inclusive, and imaginative approach makes a significant difference to people’s lives.

Thirty earlybird events are on sale now for the spring edition in Hay-on-Wye, offering a promise of fresh thinking, dynamic performances and diverse voices. Confirmed speakers include novelists Colm Tóibín, Marlon James, Jeanette Winterson and Andrey Kurkov; environmentalist George Monbiot; podcaster Rory Stewart; comedians Julian Clary and Sara Pascoe; poet Hollie McNish; musician Jools Holland; and actors Miriam Margolyes and Lenny Henry.

Meanwhile, Festival events further afield are already in full swing. Last month, there were editions in Jericó, Medellín and Cartagena, Colombia, and Panama City, while Hay Festival Forum Seville in Spain takes place in March. Closer to home, the Scribblers Tour, which delivers free events to school children at university venues across Wales has just wrapped up.

Parents and teachers can explore the programme and book now at hayfestival.org/schools

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