Rory Stewart, Jeanette Winterson, and Marlon James have been confirmed as speakers for the Hay Festival in 2024.
Next year, renowned authors Colm Tóibín, Marlon James, Jeanette Winterson, Rory Stewart, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are set to make appearances at the Hay literary festival.
The festival released a list of 29 “early-bird” events that will be held in Hay-on-Wye, Wales from 23 May to 2 June 2024. These events are meant to give a preview of the full programme that will be announced next year.
Tóibín will talk about Long Island, the follow-up to his novel Brooklyn, which was nominated for the Booker Prize. James will commemorate the 10th anniversary of his Booker-winning book A Brief History of Seven Killings. Stewart’s presentation will center on his popular book Politics on the Edge.
The CEO, Julie Finch, stated that the organizers are highly motivated to highlight global topics and their effect on the world at the upcoming festival. She also emphasized the importance of finding solutions to the challenges we are currently facing.
Finch stated that there will be a greater focus on the questions of “Where are we headed? What is occurring in our world, and what is our role in it?” in comparison to past years. This is especially significant since 2024 is an election year in many aspects. However, she clarified that the festival remains non-political.
The festival is hosting a variety of events called “South to South” throughout the year. These events will feature speakers from the global south, offering a unique and alternative perspective on the world. This also provides an opportunity to discuss significant topics, including the Israel-Hamas war.
When questioned about Hay’s efforts to attract younger attendees in the upcoming year, Finch acknowledged that it is a challenging task and cannot be solved easily by simply featuring a popular young figure on stage. She also noted that this is a common issue faced by literature festivals and cultural institutions. “I don’t believe it is an uncommon problem,” she stated. In the 2023 event, Dua Lipa, who has hosted discussions with authors on her podcast, and Stormzy, who has created his own publishing label #Merky Books, were both speakers at the festival.
Next year’s festival will also feature appearances from environmentalist George Monbiot, author and professor David Runciman, MP Wes Streeting, farmer James Rebanks, comedian Sara Pascoe, and poet Jackie Kay.
Tickets for the early-bird event are currently available for purchase to those who are friends of the Hay festival. They will be released to the general public at 12 noon on Friday, December 1st. The complete schedule of events will be announced in the beginning of spring.