Imagine the world

The eleventh Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias, 28-31 January 2016, was a resounding success, attracting 55,000 people from all over Colombia and other countries. A total of 144 events in 34 venues were held in Cartagena, Medellín, Riohacha and Bogotá.  Highlights were sessions with writers Hanif Kureishi, Lionel Shriver, Gonçalo Tavares, Peter Stamm, Johann Hari, Piedad Bonnett, Mario Mendoza and Takashi Hiraide. Internationally known economists Thomas Piketty and Ha-Joon Chang tackled the challenges of global markets, and essayist Yuval Noah Harari talked about his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Actors Emma Suarez, Leonardo Sbaraglia and Jorge Perrugoría, and film director Stephen Frears, talked about cinema and film-making. The music content encompassed performances by Pedro Calvo and Cuban orchestra Karamba, and conversations with singers Fonseca and Draco Rosa. The famous Colombian composer-songwriter Joe Arroyo was remembered in a tribute concert. As in every Hay Festival, there were many events specifically for younger audiences, this year memorably at Hay Riohacha and Hay Festivalito Comunitario (Membrillal, El Pozón, La Boquilla). There were also Hay Joven masterclasses at universities. For details, visit

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THANK YOU for the 97 applications from 19 countries for this year's award. The judging process is now in train.


The Hay Festival Colombia Foundation and the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation for New Latin American Journalism welcome applications for the second Michael Jacobs grant of $5,000 USD.  The winner is also invited to present her or his project to the Hay Festival Cartagena, and thanks to Asociación Manolo El Sereno - MAELSE - may spend up to six months at the house in Frailes, Jaen, Andalucia, where Michael wrote his last books.*


The jury comprises the journalists Jon Lee Anderson, Daniel Samper Pizano, and the winner of the first award in 2015, Alex Ayala.  They will meet in Cartagena and the winner will be announced on 31 January at the festival.

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2016 highlights

  • Ha-Joon Chang
  • Nell Leyshon
  • Arnoldo Kraus
  • Peter Stamm
  • Gonçalo Tavares
  • Takashi Hiraide
  • Lionel Shriver
  • Emma Suárez
  • Leonardo Sbaraglia
  • Hanif Kureishi
  • Thomas Piketty
  • Yuval Noah Harari