World leaders, prizewinners and innovators to join Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias 2018.

Speakers and performers include: Nobel Prize for Literature-winners J.M. Coetzee and Salman Rushdie, novelists and writers Yaa Giasi, David Rieff, Guillermo Arriaga, Sara Mesa, Andréa Marcolongo, Marina Garcés, Michael Pollan, Carolin Emcke, neurologist Jordi Montero; activist Nadya Tolokno; sculptor Doris Salcedo; actress and singer Ana Belén; singer-songwriters Victor Manuel and Haydee Milanés; physicist Christophe Galfard; rock group The Suffers; dancer Fernando Montaño; and the new BOGOTÁ39 selection of emerging Latin American writers.

Hay Festival has today announced the full programme for its first edition of 2018, in Cartagena, 25-28 January. Featuring over 150 internationally acclaimed writers and thinkers in events throughout Cartagena de Indias, this year sees the festival extend further across the country with events in Medellín, Riohacha, Bogota, Manizales, San Andrés, Buenaventura, Santa Marta and 11 principalities of Bolívar.

Bringing together some of the most critically acclaimed names in fiction, non-fiction and poetry, the 13th edition in Colombia gives voice to some of the biggest issues of our time, with experts interrogating science, politics, art, journalism and philosophy, alongside late night entertainment from award-winning singers, musicians, and performers.

HAY JOVEN for students, HAY FESTIVALITO for young people, and a series of events in communities across Colombia ensure writers will reach the broadest possible audiences.

Attracting an audience of over 50,000 people, the festival enjoys wider cultural impact across Latin America thanks to local media partnships with RCN TV and Radio, El Tiempo, Arcadia and an international partnership with BBC Mundo.

Tickets go on sale 9 December.

Cristina Fuentes La Roche, international director of Hay Festival, said: “Hay Festival brings writers and readers together in events around the world. Our first edition of 2018, in Colombia, will be a feast of conversation, creativity and transformation. Cartagena is a city to dream in, but we do so with our eyes open to how the world is, and how it might be.”

Programme overview

Some of the world’s best fiction writers are celebrated, including Nobel Prize for Literature winners J.M. Coetzee and Salman Rushdie; British novelist Geoff Dyer; Spaniards Sergio del Molino, Sara Mesa, Eloy Tizón, Edurne Portela and Alicia Giménez Bartlett; Peruvians Alonso Cuento and Renato Cisneros; acclaimed French novelist Marc Levy; the young Ghanaian and American writer Yaa Giasi; Dinaw Mengestu; Argentine author Leila Guerriero; Mexican Guillermo Arriaga; and a host of leading Colombian writers, including María Cristina Restrepo, Beatriz Helena Robledo, Pilar Quintana and Juan Gabriel Vásquez.

Poetry takes centre stages in a strand of events led by Canadian poet Lee Maracle, Colombians Darío Jaramillo and Gloria Esquivel; Portugal’s Valter Hugo Mãe; American poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths and Canada’s Rosemary Sullivan.

A selection of the best fiction writers under 40 from across Latin America – the BOGOTÁ39 – will gather for the first time in events across the country, including Juan Esteban Constain, Valeria Luiselli, Diego Zuñiga, Lola Copacabana, Samantha Schweblin and Natalia Borges. This is the latest in the Hay Festival 39s series supporting the next generation of great writers around the world, and comes 10 years after the first BOGOTÁ39 selection was made. These writers will be showcased in a new anthology of work, published in collaboration with independent publishers across Latin America and translated and published in the UK by Oneworld in January 2018. For more information click here.

New ideas are debated: philosopher Marina Garcés and Rutger Bregman talk about changing the world; Michael Pollan, creator of the Netflix series Cooked, talks about how we feed ourselves; Carolin Emcke looks at aggression on the world stage; Christophe Garlfard revisits the Big Bang; David Rieff argues that sometimes we need to forget our collective past; neurologist Jordi Montero investigates the neurology of pain, and anthropologist Agustín Fuentes explores the origins of creativity.

Global affairs are interrogated through the past, present and future: former President of Bolivia Jorge Quiroga speaks to Gerardo Bongiovanni about the rise of populism; scientist Gabrielle Walker explores solutions to the climate crisis; and writers Eliat Negev and Yehuda Koren discuss the struggle of a Jewish family to survive the holocaust; while Colombian history is revisited by Eduardo Posada Carbó, Enrique Serrano and Juan Esteban Constaín.

A vibrant programme of music and late night entertainment features Ana Belén and Victor Manuel in conversation; talks by artist Andres Cépeda; performances from rock music group The Suffers and Cuban singer Haydee Milanes; while Colombian dancer Fernando Montaño presents his Suricato show.

CREATIVE WALES HAY FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL FELLOW 2017/18, the award-winning YA writer Jenny Valentine, will travel to each festival around the world, building a global picture of adolescent experience, which will be documented digitally and in a final manifesto next year. In Cartagena, she will meet students in workshops throughout the festival. Hay Festival Cartagena is the first Hay Festival edition to take place in 2018, to be followed by festivals in Hay-on-Wye, Wales (24 May – 3 June); Querétaro, Mexico (September); Segovia, Spain (September); Arequipa, Peru (November); and Winter Weekend in Hay-on-Wye (November).

With its UNESCO World Heritage old town filled with cobbled alleys, ancient churches and cascades of bougainvillea, Cartagena is a city of romance and legend, “the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast”; an evocative setting for a festival in a walled city within the surrounding outer town.

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