Meet the Haymaker – Jack Edwards

Our monthly 'Meet the Haymaker' series shares stories of the change-makers at the heart of Hay Festival and the impact it has had on their lives. Get to know internet sensation Jack Edwards, one of our Thinkers in Residence at Hay Festival 2023.

What does Hay Festival mean to you?

For me, Hay Festival is like a charging station for creative energy. I always leave feeling revitalised, inspired, and motivated by the incredible people and community who flock to Hay-on-Wye for the event.

What’s your favourite Festival memory? 

Shaking Jacqueline Wilson's hand. I still haven't washed it. And this happened last year.

Have you ever changed your mind on something having been to a Hay Festival event?

I hope that our BookTok events this year helped changed other people's minds - I think the book community as a whole is still processing the profound impact (and growth) of book content online, and the influence BookTok is having on the publishing industry is often underestimated. I hope that our panels this week can convince some people that BookTok deserves its place at a festival, and it seems like it's going well so far!

Who was the best speaker or performer you saw on a Hay Festival stage?

R F Kuang's talk this year was. Caleb Azumah Nelson's talk was also hugely insightful - reading his newest novel (Small Worlds) after his event

What advice do you have for a first-timer at the Festival?

Leave space in your suitcase or bag for all of the books you're going to want to buy. Trust me, everyone underestimates how many books they'll come home with.

Sum up Hay Festival in five words or less… 

Never too many bookstore purchases.

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